Irvington layoffs cause stir

Recent layoffs in Irvington have led some to question whether Mayor Wayne Smith?s goal was to protect his friends.

?We have a lot of provisional employees who are friends of Wayne Smith - political pay back and so forth,? says Councilman David Lyons. ?These people are not being laid off.?

Irvington town officials insist the dozen layoffs were handled properly and approved by the state.

?This is not about people, it is about positions,? says Wayne Bradley, the town?s business administrator.

Lyon counters that while the town let go of longtime workers, more than 25 others who he says should have been let go first were kept.

The dust-up is no solace for some.

?It's not easy. I [have] a family to feed, got bills to pay,? says Alex Kelly, an animal-control officer for the town whose last day will be Friday. ?It's tough.?

Bradley says that ?mission-critical work? necessitated the town to spare provisional workers.

He also took issue with Lyons voicing his concerns to News 12 New Jersey.

?Why are we debating this in the press?? he asked. ?[Lyons is] a sitting councilman ? He has every right to review the list with us and express any concerns he might have.?

A list of provisional employees obtained by News 12 New Jersey found that several of them do in fact have political connections.

However, the state?s Department of Personnel says it found no evidence of improper conduct and that layoffs will proceed as scheduled on Friday.

Lyons says he did get an assurance from the state that it would keep a close eye on personnel issues in Irvington.

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