He wasn’t running for office this time but, with a newly aligned township administration in place, a longtime Lyndhurst public servant is gone from the scene.
A former mayor and former longtime commissioner and school board trustee, Richard DiLasciohas been displaced as counsel to the township and to the Board of Education.
His departure comes in the wake of the May municipal election, resulting in a 4-1 majority led by Mayor/Commissioner Robert Giangeruso, who also reclaimed the leadership of the Public Safety Department.
Since June 2013, DiLascio had been serving as the legal representative for both the municipality and the school board.
He’d been reappointed annually since then — despite a major rift that was evidenced publicly in late September 2013 when Giangeruso bashed DiLascio for allegedly usurping the mayor’s authority.
The feud impacted the political makeup of the township governing body, with Giangeruso and Commissioner Tom DiMaggio on one side and Commissioners John Montillo, Theodore Dudak and Matthew Ruzzo holding a majority.
That majority bloc ended up removing Giangeruso, a retired deputy police chief, as director of Public Safety and replacing him with Montillo.
But the May 9 municipal election changed everything: At the May 16 reorganization, Giangeruso was restored to his old directorship and Montillo — the only member of his slate to win a seat on the board of commissioners — was named Revenue & Finance head.
And the reorganized board of commissioners — Giangeruso, DiMaggio, Karen Haggerty, Richard Jarvis Sr. and Montillo — dumped DiLascio as township attorney, naming Hackensack attorney Carmine Alampi as interim counsel.
According to published reports, Alampi will collect a pro-rata share of $15,000 per month pending the appointment of a permanent township attorney — which was expected to happen at a special meeting called for June 23.
On May 31, the Board of Education voted to retain the Westfield law firm of Sciarrillo, Cornell, Merlino, McKeever & Osborne LLC as board counsel for the 2017-2018 school year. No stipend was listed. As of press time, that information could not be obtained from BOE officials.
So, after more than three decades of service to the Lyndhurst community, DiLascio is out of the picture and will be focused on his private practice from his Park Ave. law office.
He may not quite be out of the public eye, however, since Commissioner DiMaggio — prior to the election — called for an investigation of alleged “theft of services” by DiLascio in connection with what DiMaggio sees as possible violations of DiLascio’s former contract involving compliance with minimum number of work hours required and documenting all work performed. DiLascio has denied any improprieties.
Whether DiMaggio and his fellow commissioners intend to pursue the matter now is uncertain.
Meanwhile, when the township commissioners convened June 23, they were due to consider adoption of the 2017 municipal budget after a public hearing, along with the appointments of a township attorney, auditor, special counsel for tax appeals and township engineer.
Township Clerk Angela White said last week she has received responses to a Request for Qualifications the township solicited for the various positions.
For township attorney, RFQ submissions came from two law firms: Alampi & DeMarrais of Hackensack and from Bruno & Ferraro of Rutherford.
For auditor, responses came from two accounting firms: DiMaria & DiMaria of Lodi and from Ferraioli, Wielkotz, Cerullo & Cuva of Pompton Lakes.
For special counsel, the township heard from two law firms: Chasan Lamparello Mallon & Cappuzzo of Secaucus and from Florio Kenny Raval of Hoboken.
For engineer, only one firm submitted a response: Neglia Engineering of Lyndhurst.
Still to be considered are appointments for municipal prosecutor and public defender. RFQs for those posts were slated to be opened June 21, White said.