As reported in the Burlington County Times, a controversial ordinance to revise the local code to create a Civilian Police Director’s position has been put on hold.  The Pemberton Township Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to table a vote on the ordinance and create a subcommittee to research and review the position of Civilian Police director, which was one of several proposed changes related to the Police Department.

The council reached the decision following a lengthy public hearing featuring dissent from the local police officers’ union and from several of the two dozen residents who attended the meeting.  Among their complaints was that the language in the ordinance could easily be misinterpreted, and that the measure would create more animosity and mistrust between Mayor David Patriarca and the police force.

PBA Local #260. the collective negotiations unit that represents the rank and file officers employed by the Township,  is embroiled in several disputes with Patriarca.  The Union argued that the director’s position is redundant, and that some of the proposed code changes would make it easier for the mayor to terminate the Chief of Police.  “We’re concerned that down the road the Chief of Police will be abolished and a director will already be in place, but without the same protections a Chief has to work solely for the citizens of the township,” said Detective Jason Watters, president of PBA Local #260.

Officials said the proposed changes were an overdue update of the local code to make it compatible with state laws and the Township’s form of government, which, under the Faulkner Act, empowers the Mayor to appoint a head to oversee management of each municipal department.  Presently within the Township the Police Department is the only Department without an appointed director.

Under the proposed ordinance, the Civilian Police Director would be appointed by the Mayor, with the Council’s consent, and would oversee management of the department, its budget, procedures, personnel matters and policies.  The proposal specifies that the Police Chief would remain part of the department’s command structure and in charge of day-to-day operations of the force and its officers. Also, the Chief would be eligible for appointment to police director without additional compensation.  However, as we have seen in the past, Township Committee’s often find the service’s duplicative when there is a Civilian director as well as a uniformed Chief in place.  In many situations, the Chief will be terminated in deference to the Civilian Director running the Department.  we will keep you posted as we learn more about this situation.


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Photo of Frank M. Crivelli Frank M. Crivelli

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state…

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state, county and local law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS workers.

Mr. Crivelli specializes his individual practice in collective negotiations.  Over the past twenty (20) years, Mr. Crivelli has negotiated well over one hundred (100) collective bargaining agreements for various state, county, municipal and private organizations and has resolved over thirty-five (35) labor agreements that have reached impasse through compulsory interest arbitration.  Mr. Crivelli routinely litigates matters in front of the New Jersey State Public Employment Relations Commission, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, third party neutrals for mediation, grievance and interest arbitration, the Superior Court of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Mr. Crivelli founded and created the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog ( approximately fifteen (15) years ago where he and members of his firm routinely publish blog posts regarding legal issues related to the employment of New Jersey Public Safety Officers.  The blog now contains over six hundred (600) articles and is reviewed and relied upon by thousands of public employees.  Mr. Crivelli has also published books and manuals pertaining to New Jersey Public Employee Disability Pension Appeals and the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation System. Currently, he is drafting a publication on how to Prepare and Negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement.  He lectures annually at the New Jersey State PBA Collective Bargaining Seminar, the National Association of Police Organization’s Legal Seminar, the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission Seminar on Public Employment Labor Law, the United States Marine Corps’ Commander’s Media Training Symposium and to Union Executive Boards and General Membership bodies on various labor related topics.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Crivelli joined the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Judge Advocate with the Legal Services Support Section of the First Force Services Support Group in Camp Pendleton, California.  While serving in the Marine Corps, Mr. Crivelli defended and prosecuted hundreds of Special and General Court Martial cases and administrative separation matters.  In addition to his trial duties, Mr. Crivelli was also charged with the responsibility of training various Marine and Naval combat command elements on the interpretation and implementation of the rules of engagement for various military conflicts that were ongoing throughout the world at that time. After leaving active duty, Mr. Crivelli remained in the Marine Corps Reserves where he was promoted to the rank of Major before leaving the service.

For the past fifteen (15) years, Mr. Crivelli has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court for the State of New Jersey, a certification which less than two percent (2%) of the attorneys in New Jersey have achieved.  He is a graduate of Washington College (B.A.), the City University of New York School of Law (J.D.), the United States Naval Justice School, and the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation.