Holmdel administrator resigns; mayor calls it a ‘sad day’ for town

Holmdel Township Administrator Donna Vieiro has resigned from her position following an investigation into claims she committed violations in her administrative position.

Vieiro and Holmdel’s human resource manager Denise Callery were previously suspended with pay on May 6 when municipal officials hired attorney Sean Kean to investigate an allegation involving the two women.

The allegation was that Callery interviewed a relative for a position in Holmdel and that Vieiro was aware of Callery’s participation in the interview process.

Committee members previously voted not to rescind Vieiro’s suspension after Kean reported that Vieiro had allegedly committed additional violations in her administrative position.

The additional allegations included Vieiro allegedly taking between 65 and 88 work day absences in 2017, later modifying records related to those absences, and improperly issuing checks with township funds, according to Township Attorney Michael Collins.

“The experience has poisoned the atmosphere to the point that Donna has decided to move on,” Mayor Eric Hinds said during a Township Committee meeting on July 9.

That evening, members of the governing body voted 3-2 to pass a resolution to enter into a mutual agreement and release with Vieiro.

On a roll call vote, Hinds, Deputy Mayor Mike Nikolis and Committeeman Tom Critelli voted “yes.” Committeemen Greg Buontempo and Rocco Pascucci voted “no” without comment.

Following his “yes” vote, Hinds offered remarks from a written statement. He said, “It is with great sadness that we accept the resignation of Donna Vieiro. Donna has been a tremendous asset for six years. She managed and implemented programs and services that increased the effectiveness and efficiency of our municipal operations, while decreasing spending and maintaining a flat tax increase.

“… One of Donna’s other great achievements is the team she has developed. The dedication and commitment the employees in our township exhibit are a direct result of the leadership and guidance Donna has exhibited on a daily basis.

“I am grateful for her skill and wisdom. Donna has been subject to accusations that I believe to be baseless … The township has not taken any disciplinary action against Donna for any kind of ethical or legal violations.

“… I am personally unhappy with this process and how she was treated. I’m particularly unhappy about her decision to resign because I believe she was a very important resource for our town. I understand her need to move on from her position, especially in this environment … This is a sad day for Holmdel,” Hinds said.

Committee members said Holmdel Police Chief John Mioduszewski will continue to serve as the acting township administrator.

Buontempo suggested searching for an interim township administrator and relieving Mioduszewski from his temporary role.

“The chief has done a great job …. but I think it’s time to look at what our options are,” he said.

Committee members voted unanimously to seek an interim township administrator.

In other business, the committee voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance which prohibits an individual from working as Holmdel’s township administrator for two years after they have concluded their service as an elected official at the federal, state, county or municipal level.

Board of Education members are elected officials. No member of the school board will be permitted to work as the township administrator for two years following the conclusion of their service on the board.