LANARK – City officials have given more details on the council’s June 20 vote to fire maintenance manager Tom Difazzio.
The 5-1 vote came after an executive session lasting more than an hour. Ward 3 Alderman Jay VanMatre voted against the decision.
Maintenance worker Geoff Williams is interim maintenance manager.
In a June 26 news release, officials wrote that Difazzio was notified June 12 by Mayor Ken Viglietta of his employment’s suspension.
“Difazzio was advised the suspension was based on non-performance of duties and complaints about his demeanor when dealing with other maintenance employees and the public. Due to the reactions of Difazzio to the suspension, and the resulting inability of the mayor to explain the suspension process, a Lanark police officer who was serving as a witness to the suspension eventually had to intervene and direct Difazzio not to come back for the day,” officials wrote.
Viglietta said on June 20 said Difazzio was fired for insubordination and code of conduct violations.
During that meeting, a number of residents spoke in support of Difazzio, who was Lanark’s maintenance manager since August 2013.
Also at the meeting, Lanark resident David Davies said he was told that Difazzio shut off the water of a tenant of Alderman Mark Macomber, at Macomber’s request.
In response, Police Chief Matt Magill said Difazzio asked him May 30 or 31 if he had to shut off the water, and after checking with Carroll County State’s Attorney Scott Brinkmeier, Magill told Difazzio that if a landlord shuts off a renter’s utility for nonpayment of rent, it is a state code violation.
“I informed Mark of this; he was not aware of it being not legal. I also truly do not believe that this is any type of leverage of any public position,” Magill said.
Whether and when the tenant’s water was shut off could not be determined; Williams said June 22 that he had no information on the situation.
Whether Defazzio’s firing was related to this issue could not be determined. Viglietta declined to detail what constituted his insubordination and code of conduct violations; Difazzio was at the meeting, but did not comment; and Macomber did not speak to the issue at the meeting and has not replied to repeated requests for comment.