LACEY – Republican Committeemen Mark Dykoff and Timothy McDonald resigned from serving as representatives of the governing body in relation to ongoing police contract negotiations and called on fellow GOP members Deputy Mayor Peter Curatolo and Committeeman Nicholas Juliano to take their place.
Audience members were surprised by the exchange that took place between the four committee members during a recent committee meeting.
Dykoff told the audience that “we are in the process of negotiating contracts for the PBA and the Teamsters. There are five of us here and when we go back to our executive session and we talk about three particular things, pending litigation, real estate and personnel where we talk about negotiations of contracts and all five of us have input.”
“There are two of us who are liaisons to the labor attorney, the unions, and we sit in on those meetings with those entities and we report back what was said to the committee. The pros and cons are discussed and then the administrator (Veronica Laureigh) will tell us what that means to the township so if they want a change in salary or health insurance, we have to look at how this affects our budget,” Dykoff added.
“Our budget is dictated by a few things. We are held to a 2% cap so we can only raise taxes so much. We have to come to a happy medium. We of course want to give what our workers deserve but unfortunately, I haven’t found a way to do it. When we go into that back room and discuss it the mayor will go person to person and say what do you think of this?” Dykoff added.
Dykoff said that usually the committee is in agreement to what they want to do. He added that “publicly some of us have said something different. I hate to do it but I have to call out two of my committeemen, Curatolo and Juliano. I wasn’t at the meeting the other night but I understand Mr. Juliano said we are going to give you the contract you deserve. Maybe he’s figured out something that I haven’t. So, I am going to give him the opportunity to give the PBA and the Teamsters the contract they deserve.”
McDonald and Dykoff discussed the matter and Dykoff asked Juliano and Curatolo to take over as negotiators for the PBA. “When someone comes out publicly to mislead those entities to say it is their idea I don’t think that is fair so gentlemen we would like you to take over those negotiations for the PBA.”
Curatolo and Juliano agreed to do so. Juliano is running for reelection to a full term on the committee in the November 3 election.
Dykoff said that during a recent Township Republican Club meeting Curatolo said “we’re going to solve this.”
Both Curatolo and Juliano said that they were being misquoted by Dykoff regarding their intent. “We’ve done it before,” Juliano said regarding the negotiation duties.
McDonald said “I’m going to concur here with Mark and I stepping down. Normally we never talk about these things in public but I think I have to here. During a recent negotiation meeting the only way to describe it was a damn disaster. I didn’t think it was me.”
He noted that after the meeting where remarks where “Juliano made his comments it solidified my thoughts to get out. They deserve a fair contract as well as the township people deserve a fair contract. One that everybody can live with. Maybe it is me. I am willing to try something different,” McDonald added.
He added that while he normally didn’t like to quit anything, “I just feel it will be in the best interest of the town. We do not want labor unrest in Lacey Township.”
“You do realize you will be with the rest of us in the fire. You can say what you will tonight and I get that even though you didn’t discuss this with anybody but it will be the five of us who will discuss it,” Curatolo said.
“Why would I discuss that?” Dykoff said of the issue of he and McDonald stepping down.
Resident Ron Martin said, “I am disappointed that things had to come out in this way. The thing I have always tried to do on the boards I have served on when there are differences, they are usually behind closed doors because it sends the wrong signal to the community.” “We do have a good community and there are things that belong behind closed doors and have to be resolved and if they are not resolved and it is such an issue to person that person should resign. That is an observation and philosophy I’ve had over the years,” Martin added