After Two-Month Suspension City BA Back on the Job
Thursday, September 13, 2012 • 9:08am
PATERSON, NJ - City business administrator Charles Thomas returned to work on Wednesday after serving a 60-day suspension for his role in Paterson's overtime scandal.
When asked what was awaiting him upon his return to City Hall, Thomas said, "A lot of smiles and happy faces.''
During Thomas' absence, Purchasing Director Harry Cevallos filled in as interim business administrator. In an interview Thursday morning, Thomas said Cevallos would brief him on the status of city government later in the morning. Cevallos could not do it Wednesday because he was attending a workshop, Thomas said.
Administration officials said on Tuesday that they wanted Thomas to review the preliminary 2013 municipal budget before copies were sent to the City Council. "That's the number one priority,'' Thomas said of the budget. "I don't need Harry to tell me that.''
Thomas was suspended for taking inappropriate overtime involving last year's historic floods as well as for attending city council meetings. He was the only one of four Cabinet members disciplined by the city council who expressed any remorse for his actions. The other three - former Chief of Staff Charles Pettiford, former personnel director Betty Taylor and community development director Lanisha Makle - all filed legal challenges to the discipline.
Taylor, who had been terminated by the council, filed a contract grievance and eventually was reinstated to the city payroll in her previous position as assistant personnel director.
Makle, whose 90-day suspension started on July 2, sued the city to have her lost pay restored. Pettiford, who was terminated, sued the city in an effort to get his job back.