A South Jersey mayor battling a DWI charge talked to NBC10 Thursday, after first dodging our cameras Wednesday night.
"You don’t have anything to say? This is about the police officer who was laid off," asked NBC10’s Rosemary Connors Wednesday night.
On Thursday, East Greenwich Township Mayor Fred Grant sat down to discuss why he was involved in the layoff of two members of the police department. One was a part-time officer, who responded to the scene of the mayor’s arrest for DWI over the summer.
The mayor insists it was simply a budget issue and that the police department knew there would be layoffs, as the township is cash-strapped in every department.
"Every other department head has either found it or they’re in the process and they’re working with us to find it," Grant said. "The police department has sat on their hands and told us they’re not going to do anything, we are going to have to cut where we are going to have to cut."
Some township officials claim it was a conflict of interest and were blindsided by the police department cuts.
"The part-time officer is probably one of the best that we have on the force and it’s unfortunate to see what has taken place," East Greenwich Township committeeman Sam Giordano said Wednesday.
Giordano -- a Democrat like the mayor -- said the township committee voted over the weekend to approve the listed municipal staff for 2013. Giordano insists he, along with other committee members, had no idea the mayor had removed the police officer and another police department employee from the list.
"No one was properly notified, so everyone came in as business as usual and that’s what i have a hard time with, knowing that people come into work expecting they have a job and this is what occurs," Giordano said.
A vote to reinstate the police department employees could happen at a township meeting later this month.