Obscene Gestures, 4-Letter Words Highlight Disagreement Between Member, Mayor

MAHWAH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There were fireworks last week at a town council meeting in New Jersey over the firing of a longtime town employee.

He was eventually reinstated, after an angry obscenity-filled rant from one of the council members, CBS2’s Sonia Rincon reported Friday.

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The meeting got ugly, featuring double flipped birds and four-letter words from Councilwoman Lisa DiGiulio.

Her rant was directed at Mayor Bill Laforet.

“I don’t think anyone would agree that that’s the appropriate behavior in a council meeting,” Laforet said.

The rant even drew applause.

But why?

Councilman Steve Sbarra said they were all pretty upset that the mayor fired Public Works Director Ed Sinclair, and when they wanted to reinstate him, the mayor suggested some had a conflict of interest because they were political allies, Rincon reported.

“This was not political at the time. It purely was a personnel matter,” Sbarra said.

Sinclair was fired over pornography found on a Department of Public Works computer. Council president John Roth said the members just didn’t think there was proof Sinclair was responsible for it, Rincon reported.

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“We gave the mayor ample opportunity to make his case to seven people of the town council and he was unable to convince a single member of the governing body that he had a legitimate reason for the actions that he took,” Roth said.

Sinclair’s lawyer called those actions unfounded.

“And in an unprecedented 6-0 vote by the township council they reversed the mayor’s action, reinstated him and exonerated my client,” Michael D. Camarinos said.

Mayor Laforet said he is standing by his decision, saying it was the right thing to do.

“The council has the right to override my decision, which they have exercised and that’s where we are right now,” Laforet said.

As to what should happen next, Laforet said, “We need to do some healing here to get this town back to where it’s supposed to be.”

As for Councilwoman DiGiulio, she did not respond to CBS2’s request for an interview but has since apologized to the council president for the rant. He said he’s accepted it and wants to move on.

Everyone spoken to for this story agreed on one thing: the whole incident was pretty embarrassing.

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Authorities who investigated the computers at the Department of Public Works determined there was no criminal wrongdoing connected to anyone, Rincon reported.