There’s an air of mystery hanging over the Galloway Township municipal building.
Galloway Township Clerk Lisa Tilton didn’t report for work Wednesday or Thursday following her absence from Tuesday night’s township council meeting.
Tilton, who has been employed with the township since 2001, had never missed a meeting before this week.
Officials from the township have yet to discuss the reasons for her absence, but Deputy Mayor Don Purdy said on Thursday afternoon he expects to be able to discuss the situation in the near future, which he said may be sometime in the next week.
Deputy Clerk Carol Hackney has been serving as township clerk in Tilton’s absence. She is sharing the duties with Karen Bacon.
On Tuesday night, she was granted the power to “issue checks in the absence of the municipal clerk,” a power Purdy said he feels she should’ve had anyway.
Since Tuesday night, township officials have said this situation remains a “personnel issue,” and Tilton had “no comment” when contacted Tuesday night.
Solicitor Michael Blee solidified this position on Thursday, when questioned as to whether disciplinary action had been taken by the township against Tilton. In refusing to provide any details about Tilton's employment status with the township, Blee cited the need to “protect the rights of the employee.”
The state's Open Public Records Act does not make an exemption for disciplinary records of public employees, meaning the township is not prohibited by law from releasing them.
The mystery surrounding Tilton comes just one week after it was revealed that Chief Financial Officer Jill Gougher decided to take a similar job in Asbury Park after 24 years of working in a building around the corner from her home in Galloway.
She said she’s seeking “new challenges,” but the long trip and events of the last year, in which she had her salary cut, have left some questioning her true motivation.She had been serving as township manager and CFO before being replaced as manager by Roger Tees, who has since been replaced by Steve Bonanni.
She made the township aware of her intentions to leave with 45 days notice.
The search for a new CFO is underway, but at the moment the fate of the township clerk's position is completely unknown.