Employee Pasquale Martorana and former employee Paul Marzullo tell FOX Chicago News and the Better Government Association they were told to work on private homes by Village President Peter Silvestri and Public Works Director Peter Terzo.
Martorana, who works as a property maintenance inspector, said he was asked to utilize his carpentry skills to build Terzo’s pool deck and remodel Silvestri’s garage. He said those jobs and others were performed during regular work hours with the knowledge and approval of village officials.
“I want the residents of Elmwood Park to know that the village officals used me to do improvements on their homes with their taxpayer dollars. That is what I am upset about,” Martorana said.
Silvestri admits the work on his house was completed on village time, but said he told Martorana to do the work on his own time. Once the problem was discovered, Silvestri said, the village disciplined Martorana by dipping into his following year’s vacation to pay back the time. He said he also wrote two personal checks to Martorana for the work and materials used.
But Martorana said Silvestri knew he was performing the work on village time, and even offered advice on what kind of materials to use when he saw Martorana at his home.
Terzo confirmed that Mortorana built his pool deck, but Terzo denies that it was done on village time.
The allegations don’t stop there, though. Marzullo said he did plumbing work for multiple village officials while he worked in the Elmwood Park Water Department.
In fact, Marzullo said, when they were ordered to do work outside of village boundaries, crews were given magnetic signs for a fake electric company to cover the Elmwood Park logos on both sides of the trucks. These signs were still in the Water Department garage in May. Mortorana is being charged for falsifying a village inspection document, but he insists that this charge is just a scare tactic by the village to intimidate him. Silvestri insists that Martorana is just a disgruntled employee who wants to halt disciplinary actions taken against him.
“When the disciplinary action began (Martorana) called and told me this was going to happen,” Silvestri said. “I’m not going to let the village be blackmailed by false allegations.”
The Better Government Association’s Andy Shaw said regardless whom you believe, Elmwood Park officials should never use village employees to work on their homes.
“At the very best it’s a conflict of interest,” Shaw said. “A good reform would be to make it illegal for a public sector employee to do work for his employer, even on his own time.”
Silvestri said he may propose a rule banning the practice in Elmwood Park.