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Bloomingdale Employee Contracts Invalidated

Attorney said borough received one letter threatening litigation.

The invalidated several that set forth term limits, some establishing pay raises, during Tuesday's borough council meeting.

Prior to voting, Borough Attorney Mark Semeraro cautioned the councilmembers to be careful what they say about the issue as the borough has already received a letter from an attorney representing one of the employees threatening litigation, he said.

"I believe the issues will be resolved come January," said Semeraro, who also said at the Dec. 13 meeting that he felt all issues that could potentially arise with the employees as a result of the invalidation of the contracts could be resolved without litigation.

Earlier this year, Semeraro told the council that he found the contracts to be unenforceable since they outlined terms of employment that extended past state statute. The employees involved include many department heads.

Semeraro said the employees were issued Rice notices to discuss the issue in executive session, but that the employees decided they wanted the matter to be heard in the public portion of the meeting. As an attorney representing the borough, Semeraro said he is advising his client "not to discuss the case with other people."

The council voted to approve invalidating the contracts 5 to 1 with Councilman Bernie Vroom voting against the resolution. Immediately following the contract invalidation vote, the council also voted to have Borough Administrator Ted Ehrenburg continue in his position.

As a result of the invalidation of the contracts, Semeraro said after the meeting, the employees are now at-will employees and are no longer guaranteed employment for any specific amount of time.

Also Tuesday, the council voted on final reading to match longevity benefits and pay raises to that of for the employees. For 2012, employees will see a 2 percent increase and every year after, raises will be comparable to the bargaining agreement. Vroom also voted against the resolution.

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