Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Residents Force Council to Table Hire of City Manager

On Tuesday evening, the city council had plans of hiring David Troast for the position of City Manager.  Resident after resident addressed the council at the Committee of the Whole meeting in an effort to make their concerns over the hire known.  Their efforts seemed futile as Mayor Labrosse repeated to a number of residents that the council made up their minds and would be moving forward with the hiring of Troast.  After nearly an hour in closed session, Mayor Labrosse ate those words.  The regularly scheduled City Council Meeting began and the council began to read their agenda.  When Resolution 324-14 authorizing the hire of David Troast came up, in a muffled voice Labrosse announced it had been pulled from the agenda.

David Troast
Critics of the appointment cited the apparent lack of due diligence conducted by the council.  A simple internet search reveals a controversial history including litigation and, as one resident pointed out, potentially criminal actions.  Resident after resident repeated the sentiment that Hackensack deserves better than additional controversy surrounding a candidate with a past tainted by the same issues that Hackensack is so desparately trying to distance itself from.

Last August, Troast left the Township of Sparta after months of conflict with the township council.  Troast was employed by Sparta for seventeen years.  According to Troast's LinkedIn profile, for the past year he has been both self employed and a "Confidential Assistant" to the City of Passaic.

Most notable of Troast's conflicts with the township council (Sparta), a council member lodged complaints against Troast over comments he made regarding his possession of a firearm that she felt were threatening.  Troast did admit that he had an antique rifle in his car at the time of the incident.  At the time of the encounter he could not produce a valid firearms purchaser identification card and admitted that he was aware it was against township ordinance to have a firearm on city property.  Resident Francisco Rodriguez cited this deliberate violation of local ordinance and inability to produce the required credentials (which he cited as a crime) as reason enough to not move forward with the hire.

Resident Daniel Carola addressed the council citing litigation that Troast has been named in.  The litigation pertained to Troast's alleged involvement in the cover up of lead contamination to the township's water supply.  In this lawsuit, it is alleged that under Troast's management of the township an employee was retaliated against for not only reporting the issue but refusing to cooperate with the alleged cover up. 

Other residents addressed Troast's alleged retaliation of township employees, lack of what resident's viewed as comparable work experience, and Troast's perceived lack of understanding of the diverse community that is Hackensack.

Art Koster will remain the Interim City Manager until such time the council decides how best to move forward.  

UPDATE AS OF 9/5/2014: 

The Bergen Record has reported that David Troast's hire will be voted on again per Mayor Labrosse and Deputy Mayor Canestrino.  Despite resident's concerns, Canestrino says "he's a certified planner, educated and trained."

3 comments:

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  2. Troast singles out sanitation department employees for mass terminations/suspensions....seems awfully convenient this occurs while the DPW is at the end of a contract and in between unions!

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