Resolution for Temporary Treasurer Gets Committee Fired Up
Prior to a 3-2 vote, township committee members square off over the township treasurer's position.
Vacant township treasurer and assistant treasurer positions proved to be a matter of heated debate at the final township committee meeting of 2012 on Friday.
After Committeeman Samuel Cianfarini explained the state of emergency the township faced, his candidate for the seat—Brenda Sprigman—was not welcomed with open arms by everyone. And while Cianfarini’s new candidate was voted in 3-2 along party lines, a bigger question remained for Democratic Committeewomen Denice DiCarlo and Donna Szymborski.
How did the township get into this bind?
What seemed like an otherwise short end-of-year meeting soon turned into a floor for much debate after Cianfarini asked the township committee to vote on a resolution to grant Sprigman temporary treasurer status. She will serve as the township continues to try to fill the vacant assistant treasurer position and begins a search to fill the newly vacant treasurer position, following Richard Giuliani’s decision to retire as of Jan. 1, 2013.
However, DiCarlo was very skeptical of Cianfarini’s candidate—stating that while she was very qualified, she had no municipal experience.
“I don’t think hiring someone without municipal experience gets us out of this bind,” said DiCarlo.
Questions about the job candidates
The treasurer and assistant treasurer oversee the township's finances.
DiCarlo explained that without the necessary experience, it may take Sprigman an entire month just to get familiarized with the day to day work, and instead suggested that the committee hold off a couple of weeks until the township could advertise for the position.
“We need a body in the office; we can’t go a couple of weeks,” said Deputy Mayor Sean Kilpatrick, who joined the meeting via phone.
However, DiCarlo pressed on asking why there was still an empty assistant treasurer seat in the township, when it should have been filled last summer.
Cianfarini said the township had only received five applicants for the assistant treasurer’s position in the summer and that three had dropped out. Of the two applicants that remained, one did not qualify for the job and the other was not deemed a viable candidate by Cianfarini. When Szymborski pressed Cianfarini on this matter, he explained that when looking into the candidate’s background, certain things did not line up—making the candidate untrustworthy in his eyes. Afterward, he refused to comment further on the matter—simply stating that he did not wish to “blackball” the former candidate.
Debate on Sprigman became more heated when DiCarlo asked Cianfarini why he believed Sprigman was more trustworthy than the former candidate from the summer. To this, Cianfarini responded that Sprigman was a member of the Republican Party—which is how he met her.
“She’s from the Republican Party; well, that makes sense,” said DiCarlo.
A party official
According to the West Deptford Republican Party website, Sprigman is listed as the vice chair of the West Deptford Republican Party.
However, as of later Friday evening, Republican Party Chair Denny Forte released a statement confirming that Sprigman had turned in her resignation as vice chair of the GOP.
DiCarlo expounded on her frustrations by blaming Cianfarini for the township's lack of an assistant treasurer. Cianfarini then explained that the job of hiring an assistant treasurer falls on the township administrator, Eric Campo. Campo said he would not hire someone without the support of the committee, after first going to the subcommittee—yet, he explained he was behind the former candidate.
“I thought our candidate was a viable candidate,” said Campo.
Mayor Raymond Chintall also added that the former candidate was asking for a salary upward of $100,000 for the assistant treasurer’s position, and that he was not inclined to vote for a candidate simply because they were the only one.
“I’m not giving someone an extra $30,000 just because they’re the last man standing,” said Chintall in defense of his decision.
Szymborski pointed out that the former candidate asked for the same salary Sprigman currently seeks.
After more discussion and a heated outburst from Cianfarini, when Szymborski cut into his floor time, the committee agreed that Sprigman would only be paid hourly with the workweek not to exceed 35 hours. After striking his original resolution, Cianfarini restated the resolution to include the amendments. Cianfarini, Chintall and Kilpatrick voted in favor of the appointment, while DiCarlo and Szymborski voted against it.
Sprigman will begin her appointment on Dec. 31.