The details of the settlement between Galloway Township and former clerk Lisa Tilton remain a mystery Friday night, Jan. 4, despite a statement from current Township Clerk Thalia C. Kay that a fully executed agreement would be released by 5 p.m.
Earlier in the day, Kay verified that the township had a copy of the agreement as of 11 a.m. She stated the township was waiting for Tilton’s attorney, Steven Srenaski, to clarify if there were any items in the agreement his client wouldn’t want disclosed.
According to Kay, Srenaski had until 5 p.m. to respond before the township released the agreement. Kay stated that although the municipal complex closed at 4:30 p.m., she would stay until 5 p.m. and release the information at that time.
Kay made the statement over the phone to Galloway Patch, and via email to former Galloway Township News Publisher Harry Scheeler.
However, the township failed to release the agreement once the 5 p.m. deadline was history.
Attempts to reach Kay, Srenaski and Township Solicitor Michael Fitzgerald were unsuccessful Friday evening. According to Tilton, Srenaski responded by the 5 p.m. deadline. She stated that, to her understanding, there was nothing on her part that would prevent the township from meeting the deadline.
Mayor Don Purdy was unaware that the township had promised to release the details of the agreement, and didn’t know why the agreement had not been released by the township’s self-imposed deadline.
Township Council voted 6-0 with one abstension on Dec. 11 to execute the agreement. Councilman Jim McElwee was the lone abstaining vote, as he was not named in the lawsuit because he was not on council at the time.
The agreement needed to be signed by a representative from the township, Lisa Tilton, the insurance company, former Township Manager Steve Bonanni and former Councilman Dennis Kleiner. On Dec. 20, Kleiner confirmed he had signed the agreement. Earlier this week, Fitzgerald stated the township was still awaiting a signature from a representative of the insurance company.
On Friday afternoon, Kay confirmed the agreement was fully executed.
Tilton filed the lawsuit in May, and was seeking a rescindment of the Settlement Agreement and Release agreed to on July 18. She claimed that agreement was later violated by the township.
Tilton claimed her suspension and later dismissal were the result of a vendetta by Bonanni and Kleiner.
Former Township Solicitor Michael Blee was also named in the suit, as it relates to the release of Tilton’s personal information in an Open Public Records (OPRA) request from a third party not involved in the dispute.
Bonanni resigned as township manager on Jan. 31 of this year. Kleiner resigned from council effective June 25. Blee was appointed to the position of Superior Court judge earlier this year, resulting in his resignation as township solicitor.
Each man had his own attorney in the matter. Blee was not part of this settlement.
The full list of defendants in the case included: the Township of Galloway; former Township Manager Steve Bonanni, in his individual and official capacity; former Councilman Dennis Kleiner; former Township Solicitor Michael Blee, in both his capacity with the township and the law offices of Michael Blee; Mayor Don Purdy, in his individual and official capacity; Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola, in his individual and official capacity; current council members Tom Bassford, Jim Gorman, Dennis Kleiner; Brian Tyrrell and Whitney Ullman, each in their individual and official capacities; Township Clerk Thalia Kay, in her official capacity; Registrar of Vital Statistics Carol Hackney, in her official capacity; and former Acting Township Clerk Karen Bacon, in her official capacity.
Tilton was seeking reinstatement to her position as Township Clerk. No monetary amount was specified.