Council Surprised By Hartnett’s Public Declaration

Town manager Joe Hartnett has a contract that expires at the end of this year. To those watching one of the more heated council meetings, it would be surprising to think the council would renew the contract. So Hartnett leaving isn’t surprising, but his discussing it publicly before matters were resolved was, says councilor Kathryn Weller.
“It was an unresolved personnel matter, so I was surprised that he would comment on it before matters were resolved. We were still in negotiations,” says Weller.
According to Weller, Hartnett sent the letter to various department heads and provided a copy of the letter to the Montclair Times. The council only learned of the letter after hearing it had been disseminated to others.
As far as the council’s plans for hiring a new town manager, Weller expects information regarding that to be discussed in detail at Tuesday’s council meeting. Though Weller would not comment on these negotiations, it certainly suggests that Hartnett might be leaving earlier than December 31, if negotiations can be reached regarding the balance of his contract.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. If I remember correctly, didn’t the town give him money to “help” him buy a house in Montclair?? If this is correct, then I firmly believe that he should have to return that money to the town!!!!

  2. Publicly discussing personnel matters that are still under negotiation is grounds for dismissal, at least out here in the real world. So Harnett has just given the Town Council a very large stick to wield in its negotiations over his termination. It remains to be seen, of course, if they have the cojones to use it.

  3. The sunshine laws and his contract require him to publicly notify the town council and dept heads that he is resigning by July 1.
    If you think Hartnett was the only problem, you ain’t see anything yet.
    Hartnett has a play or pay contract meaning that they have to pay him to the end of his contract till 12/31/09. So if they ask him to leave, which Bike Boy wants to do, we are going to pay for him and the new town manager

  4. If he’s resigning and not being terminated, why does the town have to negotiate or pay him anything?
    So, is he resigning/retiring, or was he fired?

  5. The last day of his contract is 12/31/09. The town was supposed to notify him by July 1 whether they were going to rehire him. They did not. or he can notify them by July 1, which he did that he does not want to renew his contract.

  6. So, if he’s chosen not to renew, let him finish out his contract to 12/31 and pay him nothing more. It will probably take that long to find a new Town Manager anyway.

  7. I have been a lifelong resident for over 40 years. I have seen many a town manager come and go, but none compares to the destruction that Joe Hartnett has done to our wonderful town.
    For many, many years we have had a township of which we could be proud, but nothing is further from the truth today. Morale is at an all-time LOW for all township employees, and if Mr.Know it ALL has it his way (the only way), you will see every aspect of our community being impacted by an individual who only came to our fold because of the money & prestige promised him.
    Can one believe that Joe truly cares about our community? He only cares about how much he can CLAIM that he did for Montclair and the changes he made.
    How brilliant of him to give his letter of resignation before the Council gave him the old heave ho. He needs to go before he does more harm to our town.

  8. Arrogant, pompous, self serving individual who screwed up at St Peter’s College too. He was on his way out of there when Michaelson and the others tabbed him to be the new Town Manager…..Ray Ford makes $109,000 a year, that’s Joe’s buddy…..what exactly does he do for the town? His title his Special Projects Coordinator……hmmmm. Maybe he put together that wonderful Power Point Demonstration for the Town Council detailing how we got from 451 to 401 employees….my 5th grader could have done better.

  9. Regardless of the timing or appropriateness of the letter or the contract, let’s think about the future: i) 14 month old City Council?. There’s a wealth of experience in an uncertain environment; ii) Now, there is no (for better or worse) institutional memory about how things are run here; iii) yeah, there are plenty of other Township employees who know parts of what’s going on.But who’ll speak up, epecially given how this Council (and the prior) publicly abused Hartnett? dicussing firing him at meetings? come on; iv) Do we think a new Manager will uncover some well of savings? or that he/she will come any cheaper than Hartnett’s contract?.

  10. “Publicly discussing personnel matters that are still under negotiation is grounds for dismissal, at least out here in the real world.”
    I’m not 100% on the law, but I believe if Hartnett wants to tell people he’s retiring, he’s allowed to do it. He’s not disclosing someone else’s personnel issues — he’s disclosing his own.

  11. You can blame Hartnett all you want, but for real destruction of the town, you ain’t see nothing yet. Fried has publicly stated that he wants to layoff first responsers and close a fire house to save money. This is the same new council that gave the Board of Ed administrators a 4.5% raise and cut the ambulance funding
    Oh yea, expect a total increase to your taxes over the next four years of about 25% to 30% based on their 7% increase this year

  12. “You can blame Hartnett all you want, but for real destruction of the town, you ain’t see nothing yet.”
    Hartnett might not have been warm and fuzzy, but I dont see how he burned the town to the ground. The real issue is the BOE, and how Jerry didnt stand up to them.
    This is a group of town leaders who differed to their employee to talk about why he got a raise.
    Attend a BOE meeting and see how they look down their nose at you and let you know clearly that they believe they are smarter than you.
    The BOSE displayed no backbone whatsoever when they passed this years budget. That is where the towns disgust should lie.
    If all the riders on the train who eagerly signed the petition to ballot an elected BOE are an indication, the current BOE’s days are numbered.

  13. You got that right jimmy229
    But the one part that you are mistaken is that bike boy does not want to stand up to the BOE, he is proud of the increase of funding. This is an email from Fried that a resident posted on Baristnet, it tells you all you need to know about Bike Boy….
    “Dear Mr. Marinowich,
    We’ll just have to disagree on a few things. First of all, it’s the administration that is not up to the task of reducing taxes. I would have been happy with furloughs or other cuts in services but no serious attempt was made to change the way we deliver services. Several of my fellow Council Members only wanted to consider the few tweaks the Manager proposed. If I were you I’d focus my efforts on those Council Members who are happy with the choices the manager has given us.
    Laying the blame solely at the feet of the School Board or Board of School Estimate is also not the answer. The schools have far LESS flexibility in reducing costs than the Municipal Government. The school budget was the lowest increase in ten years. There is a lot of work to do on the budget but it’ll take some new members to change things. The choices in front of the schools this year had mostly to do with increasing class sizes. We will definitely disagree over the relative importance of funding our schools adequately. As far as a revaluation goes, the tax rate would have to change, but the tax collected wouldn’t. If we kept a flat budget, you’d still pay the same in 2010 as 2009.”

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