Officials discuss $90K harassment settlement

Township plans to convert tennis courts to soccer practice fields

Officials discussed the settlement of a former employee’s sexual harassment lawsuit against the township during the public portion of the Sept. 21 North Bergen Commissioners meeting.
April L. Tricoli-Busset, a former clerk and typist, sued the municipality claiming that she suffered from emotional distress after Mayor Nicholas Sacco made a crude reference to her anatomy and a commissioner reprimanded her for dressing provocatively. The lawsuit also alleged Tricoli-Busset was demoted as punishment for filing the harassment lawsuit.
The settlement, which was reached in June, was revealed in local published reports on Sept. 17. Tricoli-Busset was awarded $90,000 in damages after agreeing to accept the elimination of her position, give up her Civil Service or statutory seniority rights, and not seek re-employment by North Bergen, according to the published reports on the settlement.


“The judge found it incredible and threw it out.” – Mayor Nicholas Sacco

The suit alleged that after being promoted to a $50,000 a year job as a secretary to the police chief, she was taken aside by Commissioner Theresa Ferraro, who told her she should wear scarves to conceal her breasts. Another reported incident in the suit alleges she overheard Mayor Nicholas Sacco say, “Don’t you think we should have a ‘big boobs’ page on the website?”
However, after initial court proceedings, both Sacco and Ferraro were removed from the lawsuit.

Resident is critical

North Bergen resident Herbert Shaw questioned why the township had not fought the settlement. The $90,000 was paid to Tricoli-Busset from the Municipal Excess Liability Fund.
Sacco said that the published report on the case was skewed, since a judge removed him and Ferraro from the case.
“The complaint is filed, it lodges complaints against the township, Mayor Sacco, Commissioner Ferraro,” explained Township Attorney Herbert Klitzner. “We go through discovery [and] there is absolutely nothing there, so the attorneys for [Sacco and Ferraro] make a motion to the judge and it is thrown out.”
Klitzner and township spokesperson Paul Swibinski said the settlement was decided by the insurance company and did not involve either official at all. As a part of the settlement, North Bergen and Tricoli-Busset are prohibited from discussing the terms of the settlement, said Swibinski.
Swibinski said the settlement had nothing to do with the alleged comments, but was reached because the judge felt that stress was created when Tricoli-Busset was moved from one office to another.
“The judge found it incredible and threw it out,” said Sacco. “I wasn’t in the case.”

New mini-soccer fields coming to NB

North Bergen will renovate unused tennis courts located in the Stan Newman Field complex into two synthetic turf fields.
At the meeting, improvements to the courts, located on 64th Street, were unanimously approved.
Township Administrator Christopher Pianese said that the township received a Hudson County Open Space Grant of $480,000 for the project. At the meeting the awarded a $313,525 contract with Zenith Construction Services of East Newark for the work.
Pianese said that other costs may eventually make the price tag rise, using more of the grant.
The “mini” fields will be used primarily for training for the North Bergen Recreation Soccer Instruction league, as well as their pee-wee football program.
Mayor Sacco said because it would be synthetic turf, training times will not be hampered by the weather.
“It opens up a lot of opportunities for practice,” said Commissioner Allen Pascual.
He said that in the past, the instructional league didn’t have a home field, which soon will no longer be the case.

Pay scale set for surveillance system

Through an ordinance, North Bergen set the pay scale for the security system operators who will scan North Bergen’s surveillance system when it is operational.
Depending on their experience, employees will be paid from $10 to $15 hourly.
Pianese said while no one has been hired yet, the township has conducted around 40 interviews so far.

Auctioning off old equipment

The township authorized an online auction of surplus property, which will be conducted on
A 2003 Ford ambulance, a 1996 Ford Crown Victoria, a 1996 GMC Jimmy, an Army trailer, and a row boat are just some of the items to be auctioned.
Tricia Tirella may be reached at

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