Former Galloway Township Clerk Lisa Tilton has reached settlement with another township concerning a tort claim notice filed last year, to the tune of $35,000.
Tilton filed a tort claim against Middle Township last year, stating the township discriminated against her in the hiring of a Deputy Clerk and Registrar of Vital Statistics.
According to the settlement agreement obtained by Galloway Patch via Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request, the sides finalized the agreement last Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Tilton applied for the positions in or around April of last year. In September, Middle Township announced Suzanne Stocker had been hired to fill the positions, at a salary of $27,000.
In between, Tilton and her attorney, Stephen Srenaski, claim the township discriminated against her based on the lawsuit she filed last May against Galloway Township.
Earlier this year, Tilton settled that lawsuit for $250,000. However, the portion concerning former Township Solicitor Michael Blee was separated from the rest of the lawsuit, and that matter is still outstanding, according to Tilton.
She also filed tort claim notices against Atlantic County and its Board of Elections, and the Galloway Township Republican League. She had no comment on the status of those notices.
She filed three tort claim notices with Galloway before filing her lawsuit.
In the case of Middle Township, Tilton filed one tort claim notice, on Oct. 31. In that notice, Tilton’s attorney Steve Srenaski stated, “Ms. Tilton was the most qualified applicant for these positions, but was unlawfully barred from consideration for employment by the township and denied equal employment opportunities by virtue of her having sought legal redress against her former employer under New Jersey and Federal law.”
“I feel that given the actions they took to disqualify me, the settlement vindicates me as far as their claims were concerned,” Tilton said.
Middle Township Mayor Dan Lockwood and Deputy Mayor Tim Donohue each had no comment. Other township officials didn’t immediately reply to request for comment Tuesday morning, Feb. 19.
According to emails exchanged between former Middle Township Business Administrator Mark Mallett and Clerk Kim Krauss, and obtained by Galloway Patch, over 60 applicants applied for the jobs, and eight candidates were interviewed. On June 12, the list of candidates was narrowed to eight, with follow-up interviews to be scheduled.
On Aug. 6, Mallett initially recommended not interviewing Tilton based on a Press of Atlantic City story chronicling Tilton’s decision to file a lawsuit against Galloway Township. The contents of the story were copy and pasted into an email and shared with Krauss, Middle Township Mayor Dan Lockwood, Donohue and Committeewoman Sue DeLanzo.
Krauss responded by stating that she wasn’t sure they could discriminate against her based on the story.
“NOT SAYING I believe we should hire Ms. Tilton, however giving an interview may cover our bases and protect us against any later ramification,” Krauss wrote in an emailed response. “We can hire whoever we want but this way we can at least say we gave her an opportunity.”
Mallett’s response was that it wouldn’t be considered discrimination under a “suspect class.”
“Ms. Tilton was terminated from her prior position in Galloway and then they had a settlement agreement where she resigned,” Mallett wrote. “I look at it from the perspective that by interviewing her, we are opening the door to potential litigation if she is interviewed and not hired and then claims she was the most qualified candidate.”
Mallet resigned as Middle Township Business Administrator on Dec. 17 of last year.
A copy of the settlement is attached to the story.