ROSELLE — Angry residents are looking forward to the May 18 Municipal Council meeting, when Finance Chair Yves Aubourg and Councilman Jamel Holley are expected to explain why Wendy Wulstein was escorted from her office after she was forced to resign as chief financial officer.
At the April 20 Municipal Council meeting, Aubourg and Holley, along with council members Christine Dansereau and Cecilia Dallis-Ricks, were tight-lipped and refused to comment about Wulstein’s resignation citing a pending confidential severance agreement.
A resolution was passed 5-1 giving borough attorney John Hudak the authority to negotiate a severance package with Wulstein, but critics questioned why the governing body expects any right to confidentiality in a matter of public business.
Wulstein’s departure comes at a time when a draft copy of Roselle’s municipal financial audit was released to the governing body.
The audit will not officially be made public until the May 18 council meeting but when he was asked, Roselle Business Administrator David G. Brown stated it was “not good.”
Brown has temporarily taken over the responsibility of running the daily operations in the Finance Department.
When Brown was questioned further as to what issues were found to be deficient and of immediate concern in the finance department, it was revealed that no bank reconciliations had been performed, no payroll or pension information had been input into the financial systems and no general ledger was created.
Since former Union County Freeholder and Plainfield Councilman Adrian Mapp was fired as CFO in August 2009, as Holley and Aubourg attempted to gain control of the borough’s finances and undermine support for Mayor Garrett Smith, Roselle has had finance troubles.
Tax bills have been sent out late and with errors. Municipal services have been disconnected for non-payment. Vendor contracts have been routinely awarded without the certifying that the funds are available to pay for them.
Holley and Aubourg appear to be losing support in the June primary election as residents learn of a $250 municipal tax hike looming over the average homeowner, but neither candidate has offered an explanation for their actions leading up to the fiscal crisis.
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