Mayor Issues Statement on Manager's Resignation
Mayor John Cosgrove said he felt compelled to release a statement after receiving queries from residents about borough manager Tom Metzler's resignation on Monday.
Mayor John Cosgrove released the following statement Thursday:
As many of you already know, our Manager Tom Metzler submitted his resignation to me this week. I was saddened to accept his resignation based on the fact that it was obvious that Manager Metzler was doing an outstanding job for the people of Fair Lawn.
A little over a month ago, the Manager informed me that he had been receiving numerous offers of employment from both public and private entities. He expressed to me that he would prefer to stay in Fair Lawn, and be able to continue to do what he loves, serve as our manager. However, with Fair Lawn’s history in an election year, he knew that his odds would not be good if the balance of power changed.
Mr. Metzler had been advised that a Bergen County political strategist had stated that if his party won in November, Mr. Metzler would be removed as Manager. This would occur even though Senator Gordon had lobbied on Mr. Metzler’s behalf and has publicly called Tom Metzler one of the best Borough Managers in the state.
Knowing that the Manager had these offers and was worried about the security of his employment at the end of 2013, I asked the Council to consider extending the Manager’s contract for the following reasons:
- Continuity in the Manager’s Office that will provide stability in our workforce.
- A smooth transition where Manager Metzler could help to train his replacement.
- Longer selection process to find a new Manager and the best possible candidate.
- The fact that Manager Metzler is a FEMA expert and would be sought after by other government agencies that are dealing with FEMA claims.
Since the Borough Manager serves at the discretion of the Council, I asked the Council to give the Manager a contract extension as a vote of confidence that he would serve through 2014. Of course, the Manager can be replaced at any time by the Council and the vote would not be binding. However, I knew that we would need to get a unanimous vote to give Tom Metzler the confidence that he would not be fired if the political winds changed in November. Unfortunately, I could not get the votes needed to have Manager Metzler stay in Fair Lawn.
We will have to look long and hard to find a Manager as capable as Tom Metzler. This is a sad day in Fair Lawn’s history because we have now had five Manager changes in seven years. I believe that if this continues, it will put Fair Lawn at risk. I therefore advocate that whomever we hire to replace Manager Metzler be given a chance to stay long enough to implement his/her policies and see them to fruition.
As your Mayor, I’m ready to begin the work of selecting our next Manager with the hope that we can finally stop the revolving door that now exists in the Fair Lawn Managers office.
- John Cosgrove