Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Former Mayor Blasts New Mayor for Suspension of Police Chief

As Bloomfield braces for yet another blizzard, it was announced tonight that yet another police department head has been suspended from his job.  At Monday's town council meeting, acting Police Chief James Behr used the public comment period to publicly accuse 3rd Ward Councilman Carlos Bernard of attempting to trade several favors in order to insure the councils appointment as permanent chief.

The decision to place Behr on paid leave was made by a Township Administrator whose position is also considered shaky. TA Ted Ehrenburg is one of four to hold the post in about as many years.

The suspension was explained by Mayor Michael Venezia as due to "health concerns", but this was challenged by Behr who told the Star Ledger ...."instead of taking my concerns seriously and forward them to the Attorney General's Office, they relieve me of my duties."

Complicating the situation is the suspection that the Star Ledger was apparently tipped off by a Behr supporter, well in advance of the meeting, of his plan to speak. The state's largest daily newspaper has not covered a local council meeting in several years.

A few hours after the suspension announcement, former Mayor Raymond McCarthy took to Facebook to challenge the new mayor for sanctioning the TA's action. "....this reeks of the machine rejecting those who dare to differ with them."  He urged Bloomfield residents and police to "pack the Chambers" at next Tuesday's council meeting.

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