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2 aides quit after press inquiry


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2 aides quit after press inquiry

Monday, April 04, 2011

By TERRENCE T. McDONALD

JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

A couple of aides working part-time for two Hudson County freeholders quit two weeks ago, within 48 hours of finding out that The Jersey Journal had inquired about their annual salaries.

One of those aides, Stephen Gallo, is better known to Bayonne residents as the city's business administrator, Mayor Mark Smith's chief of staff, and the executive director of the Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority - which together earned him a total of $104,444 in 2010.

But Gallo was also moonlighting as Freeholder Doreen DiDomenico's aide, pulling down an extra $3,000 that will add dollars to his government pension.

According to Gallo, his duties as DiDomenico's aide consisted of going to meetings on her behalf and investigating matters brought to her by residents. He also "provided her with counsel," he said.

DiDomenico, who represents Bayonne and parts of Jersey City, said she was never concerned that Gallo's other jobs would leave him little time to help her.

"I don't think the man sleeps," she said.

Asked why he quit, Gallo said, "My wife wanted me to be home."

Former Harrison Councilman Laurence Bennett earned $4,500 as an aide to Freeholder Albert Cifelli, who represents Harrison, East Newark, Kearny and parts of Secaucus. Bennett also quit within two days of The Jersey Journal's Open Public Records Act request.

Bennett, who retired this month from the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, could not be reached for comment. But according to Cifelli, Bennett had been planning to retire from both jobs.

Cifelli said he employed Bennett because he would "keep my ear to the ground" about Harrison happenings.

Bennett had been planning to retire from both jobs my a$$. Come on how convenient he retired a couple of days from both jobs when there was either an investigation or inquiry into his jobs.

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