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DPW Worker Suspended After Cursing At Police Chief

Council upheld department decision to suspend the worker for two days with no pay at a grievance hearing Thursday night

The township council supported a decision made by the Director of the DPW to suspend one of his employees for two days this summer after the employee admitted cursing at the Chief.

The five council members present at a meeting Thursday night voted unanimously to uphold DPW Director Keith Hallissey’s punishment after seeing written explanations and hearing testimony from Hallissey, Chief Jim Batelli, and DPW employee Marc Bracciodieta about the incident, which happened July 16.

Bracciodieta, a township employee, . According to testimony from Bracciodieta, he was confronted about his comments at that meeting via a text message from his longtime friend, Mahwah Police Lt. Stuart Blank.

During his public grievance session Thursday, Bracciodieta said he received texts from Blank on Saturday, July 14, saying “u r DEAD to me” because of “your grandstanding at the meeting [about the recycling department].” The DPW worker said he attempted to discuss the texts with Blank the following Monday after delivering mail to the police department, part of his DPW duties.

During their discussion at police headquarters, Bracciodieta said Chief Batelli came in Blank’s office, asked about the nature of their discussion, and asked the DPW worker to leave the police station and continue the conversation while not on township time.

In response to being asked to leave, Bracciodieta admitted Thursday to cursing at the Chief three times – telling him he had a “bug up his a--” and twice to “go f--- yourself.”

As a result of the incident, Bracciodieta was suspended for two days without pay. He appeared before the council Thursday in an attempt to get the days reinstated, arguing that his actions were “provoked” by the police chief.

According to Bracciodieta, Batelli blocked the door after asking him to leave, “puffed up his chest,” and was yelling.

“In a perfect world, [Bracciodieta] would have responded differently to the Chief’s provocation,” union representative Mark McCart, who appealed to the council on Bracciodieta’s behalf, said. “But it is not fair that two days pay is taken from one employee while no sanctions are placed on the other.”

Batelli denied losing his temper, though he did say he was “angry, yes,” after being cursed at.

Bracciodieta requested surveillance video from the police station in order to provide visual proof of the altercation. However, township officials said no such surveillance tape exists of the area where the incident occurred at that specific time.

The DPW employee also said he has retained legal counsel to deal with the text message issue, though he has not yet lodged a formal complaint about that.

According to Batelli, an internal affairs investigation has been started into Blank’s actions. “I have to consider that this was not a police officer sending a message like that to a stranger reesident,” he said. “These are two men who had a decades-long friendship. “But, I will eventually reach a decision on this.”

Blank did not make any statements at the hearing.

According to township council President John Spiech, Bracciodieta is on his fourth appeal about the incident; the first was made to his direct supervisor Ed Sinclair, the second to Hallissey, and third to business administrator Brian Campion. All three upheld the disciplinary action, he said. Bracciodieta chose to have this fourth appeal to the council carried out during a public session, Spiech said.

Though council members expressed concern about the text message exchange, they ultimately said they decided to uphold the punishment based on Bracciodieta’s actions.

“You were wrong to tell a [township] department head that,” Councilwoman Lisa DiGiulio said. “We are a team, a community [and all of this fighting in town] is childish and stupid and has got to stop.”

Bracciodieta said he was not surprised by the decision the council made, but was glad he made the public appeal, because “it was definitely a step toward mending fences.” He said after the grievance hearing, he apologized to Batelli.

“We are going to put this behind us, and I am grateful for that,” Bracciodieta said.

Hank September 07, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I am trying to figure out what I am supposed to do with this information.
Princess Diane September 07, 2012 at 03:50 PM
There has to be more important issues that the council can be addressing, Clearly that is not the first time the police chief was cursed at or heard curse words.
Chardel Vyjial September 07, 2012 at 06:29 PM
This is why we need to make town and govenment jobs smaller and out source. $83,000 plus a year avg package, 4 appeals, a public hearing with a union rep. This is why they are fighting so hard to keep this good gig as long as they can! Out of 70 or so towns in Bergen County ONLY 6 STILL do their own recycling, all the others care about the taxpayers and save them money. Best of all Mr Ed said if he was Mayor he would look to hire more workers, and maybe even not use a private carting company to pick up our trash and use the DPW instead.
T-Bird 148 September 07, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Mr. Bracciodieta you need a new suit. Just sayin' ...
Regenbogen September 07, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Mr. Ed was a TV show!!
Sandy September 07, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Interesting information Mr Vyjial. Will definitely keep that in mind when voting this year. Thanks
Chopped Meet September 07, 2012 at 09:33 PM
How do you know Princess? We do not use such words in Mahwah ;-)
Hank September 07, 2012 at 10:08 PM
actually this is why we need to keep recycling
Really!! September 07, 2012 at 10:13 PM
To Vyjial...you are a very scary individual! When you first came on to the patch a few issues ago you acted like you were this innocent individual trying to gather information to become informed and make a decision. Now the truth comes out...who are you really? You mentioned in an inquisitive tone in one of your postings that you "heard that Mr. Sinclair" was considering the town taking on garbage pick up... Now you come across as trying to use this "idea" that hasn't even been verified against him. Verified or not I don't think that creating jobs is a bad thing, isn't that what this whole country is in need of? Further please get your facts straight, the figure that you and your team are spewing of $83,000 is sooo false. This number was reached by you and your teams faulty mathematics...you took all of the recycling dept.'s salaries and came up with an average and ran with that number....wrong!! I'm sure that some of those guys have been working there for over twenty years.....and those who just started cerainly aren't making that kind of money. By the way do you consider your job a "gig"? How insulting....you may not value the DPW workers but as a citizen of this town I sure do and so do many others. This is exaclty why we need Ed Sincalir for mayor!! Even if I was considering voting for Laforet I wouldn't now because I see how sinister those that seem to support him on the patch really are. Shame on you and your false facts!!
Mike Kupchik September 07, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Doesn't anyone realize what Marc's "Blank stare" meant? After months of Suburban News' Police Blotter listing nothing happened, we'll finally have something- or not! I'm keeping my fingers crossed and confetti ready for next Thursday's issue. Things are getting so insane in town lately, assume it's a try to replace cancelled Jersy Shore.
JP September 07, 2012 at 10:29 PM
With the amount of taxes charged in all those other towns it's a wonder the citizens aren't b*tching that they DON'T have public workers to do their recycling and garbage pickup. What the heck are they paying all those taxes for if there aren't any public employees?
Gottardo DiGiacopo September 08, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Chardel, is your name listed in the Mahwah directory?... i can't find it anywhere.
christina September 08, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Why doesn't somebody do something about a baby deer that was hit by a car 2 weeks ago on ramapo valley road on the bridge before the deli , its been there 2 weeks I don't get it.
Chopped Meet September 08, 2012 at 02:42 AM
I guess Mahwah Patch is not posting my comments. Hmmmmm
Hank September 08, 2012 at 03:36 AM
again JP makes a great point one of the reasons that Mahwah has the lowest taxes in the county is they do their own recycling Englewood Cliffs has a lower tax rate than Mahwah and guess what.......
Val Paz September 08, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Chardel Vyjial....Curious as to where you really live?? It appears you are a chronic poster on every subject almost everywhere. Googe turns you up in Bloomfield, Chatham,Hoboken, Summit, Haddonfied, Wayne, Ft Lee, Hillsborough and on and on. Posing as a caring, concerned Mahwah resident on our Patch board is simply not credible. While Andy S. may post a lot at least his focus is Mahwah. You are all over the county about everthing seeking attention for yourself. Why not write a book instead of cluttering up our board.
Frank September 08, 2012 at 01:46 PM
What a bizarre thread. Speaking as an average joe who doesn't know the details of whether we should have voted for or against the mayor's proposal - since i am too busy trying to keep my own job! - and we depend on these elected officials for their judgments - it nonetheless seems obvious that some of the local officials and workers have gotten a bit out of touch with the realities on the ground these days. Have to say almost anytime somebody shows up outside a town council meeting in a "rat suit" - well pretty safe to say maybe there is SOME merit to the OTHER side's position! And now we hear about this guy telling the police commissioner to "shut the ** up? In the police dept? Some may think its not a big deal - but unquestionably he should be fired - it was part of his job to deal with those guys. All this nonsense should and will force many of the UNSPOKEN MAJORITY of TAXPAYERS in this town to have to take a closer look at the nonsense that happens while they are at work - funding this nonsense. And they will hopefully soon conclude it is in their interest to vote A LOT of these guys and gals out...SOON. BTW since that particular mayor's proposal was voted out guys - where are at least a portion of the anticipated savings going to come from? Isn't that the next step? Or has it been forgotten in the heat of silliness going on in our town?
ref September 08, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Chardel Vyjial do you have any idea what your taliking about? its nice to just make up situations to amuse your self,didn't realize you were such an expert on town government. you have a very good imagination for a person new to Mahwah. your being used Mr Chardel.
Val Paz September 08, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Someone pulled down my resposne to the above post. Had Chardel Vyjial really googled my name he would have found 2 companies in FL, a country in Bolivia and my Patch postings. Not a single Mexican name. Yet he clamed there were 768 I also told him the my name is Mrs.Val to him and the Pez is an abbreviation of my last name to prevent people ike him from looking me up and calling me. This man is a chronic poster bashing everyone not affiliated with team Laforet. Probably a paid shill. Wish he would stay on the FT Lee Patch Bd and continue to bother them rather than us.
Letitgo September 09, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Look. There is no need to punish anyone. This political crap. Chief, show you have class. Tell the DPW that all is okay and nothing here is personal.
Frank September 09, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Punish? Regardless of what the Chief says the dude wouldn't last a second in the private sector. If he actually did what they said he did - tell the police chief to *** himself, while in the police station, then he should be canned immediately by HIS boss. STOP WASTING TAXPAYER TIME AND MONEY. And there's a beginning to some "savings" - pure and simple. If not then FIND ANOTHER SOURCE OF SAVINGS.
Andy Schmidt September 09, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Hmmmm!
Andy Schmidt September 09, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Val Paz - you give me WAYYYY too much credit. If you want to see who actually "posts a lot", you go to this page: http://mahwah.patch.com/people scroll down the page and in the right margin you find the top posters: people hiding behind "ref" and other pseudo identities...
ref September 09, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Ladies and gentlemen and you to Danny,this article is about a man that made a mistake and since has apologized for it,lets not get this involved with anything other than what its about.
Frank September 09, 2012 at 06:00 PM
You are right, the man made a mistake and apologized. My point is that ANOTHER man who wants to be mayor, his direct supervisor, might have handled it differently. But beyond that a most important point which seems to be getting lost in the miasma of local politics is: where are the alternative savings to the taxpayers going to come from instead? ( I am not affiliated with our current mayor in any way, BTW). Perhaps it is a worthy area of inquiry to explore whether this challenger, who i know nothing about except what i read, seems to have the support of a lot of town employees who feel threatened by possible cost savings measures and so, his and their eyes are, perhaps, NOT ON THE RIGHT AREA OF FOCUS for the taxpayers of this town. Lastly I a repost REF's comment following Ed Sinclair's announcement, as reported in patch that he is running for mayor - since ref wants me to strictly "not get involved with anything other than what is about." ............ ref 6:08 am on Thursday, September 6, 2012 We need you ED,you have all of our votes,we want your integrity and disire to run our town the right way,we do not need any more bullies.
Billy Nelson September 13, 2012 at 07:36 PM
What a fool. Who in their right mind goes to their local police station and tells the CHIEF OF POLICE to go eff himself. TWICE! He's lucky he didn't get billy clubbed. Plus he works for the town. Classic case of hubris.
Billy Nelson September 13, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Shaving wouldn't have been a bad idea either. Allow me to score the background music for that picture: "wamp wamp wamp waaaaaaaaaaammmmp"
Billy Nelson September 13, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Amen! How much did it cost taxpayers for this dog and pony show? Do the cops involved get paid overtime to be at these things. A public hearing for some loudmouth plebe who should be canned?!!
henry van dunk September 17, 2012 at 07:42 PM
now he has two days to go shopping
henry van dunk September 17, 2012 at 07:45 PM
What apology? He appealed it four times and lost. I think the Chief of Police has better things to do than get cussed at by a garbage man and then have to spend the night at a council meeting listening to bs.

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