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M'town Parks and Rec Director Retires

Middletown mayor explains status of the township department and Gregg Silva, its longtime director

Nobody had asked, so officials didn’t tell any updated news about recently suspended Director Gregg Silva … until now.

Mayor Tony Fiore was asked; and he told Patch that since Silva’s early December over an undisclosed personnel matter, he has retired.

Still not elaborating on reasons why the longtime township employee was put on the “administrative leave” with pay, citing it as a legally confidential personnel matter, the mayor did say that “Gregg Silva is no longer with Parks and Recreation. As of Jan. 1, he retired. I can’t say anything other than that he retired.”

Speaking only on procedure and background, Fiore added that while on the indefinite leave, Silva decided to retire “and the township decided to grant the request. That agreement was made mutually between the township and Mr. Silva.”

No personnel investigation or hearings ensued, Fiore added, which is customary for civil service employees running the course of a disciplinary action and fighting to keep their job.

With his retirement, the Parks and Recreation director position “as Silva held it” has been eliminated, Fiore added.

Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante has restructured the job, Fiore said. While Mercantante is slated to address that restructuring at the next Township Committee meeting, Fiore did say that the move will translate into transferring the parks part of the job back to the township’s .

The parks end of the work, for which Silva was responsible during his tenure, entailed managing a staff that maintained the parks — cutting grass, painting of buildings, trash collection upkeep and more.

“The job will now have more of a recreational focus,” Fiore said. The recreational component of the work included: oversight of the township Senior Center at Croydon Hall and the , handling concerts in the park and other recreational programming (which the township has cut back on for budgetary reasons), field permit management, acting as a township liaison to the Middletown Cultural and Arts Council and coordination and supervision of summer camp programs.

Clarifying that rumors of former Deputy Mayor Pam Brightbill taking Silva’s place were false, Fiore said, “Mr. Mercantante has filled the position internally with an employee who has recreation experience and is quite capable.”

That person, he said, is Janet Adams, who runs the Tonya Keller Community Center and is a familiar face in township recreation.  She will handle “recreation programming needs,” the mayor added.

With the township’s new , 13 Parks and Recreation jobs were lopped off, eliminating most of the staff and leaving Silva’s and only a few others.

Fiore said Silva’s suspension had nothing to do with budget austerity.

Pilgrim January 11, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Avoiding an open transparent discussion of Mr. Silva's forced retirement by saying it is a "personnel matter" and can't be discussed because it is nothing more than an obvious attempt at trying to keep the public in the dark regarding how their local government is run. Fiore and crew is trying to look good at the expense of keeping the public dutifully informed. Mr. Silva unilaterally approved the construction of a private memorial on public ground a Croydan Hall. The was no public discussion and no elected official approval for the placement and construction of the memorial. Not discussing the cause(s) of Mr. Silva's suspension and subsequent retirement will not prevent the discussion of his unilateral decision. Finally, will there be an official public audit of the Recreation Department's books before new management steps in, or has this already happened and not been made public? Is it time for a few OPRA requests?
MiddletownMike January 12, 2012 at 12:07 AM
To say no body asked about Silva's "retirement" may be technically true but doesn't reflect my attempt to speak with Tony Mercantante about it. I am still waiting to have my phone call returned. Thank you Elaine for the follow-up! http://middletownmike.blogspot.com/2012/01/heard-it-in-hallwaysmiddletowns.html
Pilgrim January 13, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Fiore and others saying it is a personnel matter and therefore cannot be discussed seems to be a very broad interpretation of "personnel matter". Fiore and Mercantante may not be allowed to discuss the specific details of the "retirement", and this does't mean that the incident that created the forced leave of absence cannot be revealed and publically discussed.

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