A disturbing and bizarre list of EEOC workplace complaints filed against a Village Trustee by the Mamaroneck Village Manager has thrown the Village government into turmoil.
Village Manager Jerry Barberio claims he has been subject to a pattern of harassment and discrimination by Trustee Dan Natchez for investigating a Village Buildings Dept. employee accused of overtime padding, and, Barberio claims, for resisting sexual advances by Natchez.
The Village Manager runs the daily operations of Mamaroneck’s municipal departments and its full-time employees.
The complaint, which can be found at the following link https://www.themamaroneckproject.com/_files/ugd/782b32_21bf4ac8e42045cbb0cc1efc0a59eb0e.pdf, and filed in November with the state’s Division of Human Rights, accuses Natchez, 78, of sexually harassing Barberio, 54, when Natchez offered him a spare room to sleep in at his home on several occasions. During his early days on the job, Barberio still lived in Hammonton, NJ, a two hour drive, and was staying in Darien, CT., before moving to Mamaroneck with his wife in 2019.
“This made me feel very uncomfortable,” Barberio says in the complaint.
“On the first occasion, I told him where I was staying but then again, a few weeks later, he asked again about my sleeping/staying over accommodations. Both incidents were very inappropriate and uncomfortable. I was particularly troubled that despite my initial rejection, he persisted in making the advance again.”
“I reported the unwanted advances to Mayor Tom Murphy,” he says in the complaint, “who advised me to ‘just stay away’ from Trustee Natchez. That of course is impossible since I regularly meet with the Trustees, including at Board meetings.”
Murphy says that at the time he did not think the complaint against Natchez “was in the context of advances, just inappropriate housing.
Barberio says Trustee Natchez was never counseled or cautioned in any way and the Village has yet to conduct any investigation or take any action.
The other major complaint alleged by Barberio states that Natchez told him to “back off” a Village Building employee who was under investigation for theft. Barberio also states Natchez continued to lead a harassment campaign against him.
Mayor Tom Murphy says he thinks the Village Board should investigate those “serious allegations” of pressuring a Village Manager not to look at “abuses of stealing.”
Harbor Island Park Incident
In September, 2020, Barberio states, he received a complaint to police from a mother observing “disturbing behavior” by Natchez at the Harbor Island Park playground, of Natchez allegedly taking pictures of young children.
“It obviously made the mother uncomfortable,” says Murphy.
An investigation is underway by the Westchester County DA’s office, and evidence submitted reportedly includes photos and video of Natchez photographing children in bathing suits at a local beach the same month as the playground incident.
Barberio says Natchez used his position as Police Commissioner to avoid formal charges. All Village Trustees serve as Commissioners overseeing the Police Department.
Natchez, in an email to theLoop wrote, “The allegations of the EEOC charge lack merit and are baseless. I look forward through independent investigation of the allegations and will be completely exonerated.”
The accusations have led Barberio to seek an exit package after three years on the job. Murphy is against giving a payout to Barberio to leave his post.
“Jerry Barberio does an excellent job and I am not of a mind to pay him to leave. He is free to go if he wants to, but it would take 3 members of the Board to give him a payout and I am pretty solid I am not one of them.”
Barberio reportedly earns $211,818 annually and has a four-year deal with Mamaroneck Village.
Natchez, who reportedly earns $6,865 annually, is planning to run for reelection this year.
Barberio also alleges Trustee Natchez’ close friend, Stuart Tiekert, a business owner and 30 year resident, would send multiple emails per week “questioning each and every municipal function managed by me including items that are not related to him or his property or his family in any way whatsoever.
“Hundreds of emails and Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests are sent to the Village and my attention. Then, at almost every public Board Meeting, Trustee Natchez would use his power as Trustee to press me to answer Mr. Tiekert’s accusatory questions. … it was clear to me that he was working closely with Mr. Tiekert to harass me, demean me, and retaliate against me in this fashion.
“On numerous occasions over the past two years, Barberio says in the complaint, “I have asked the Board of Trustees, including Trustee Tafur, Trustee Lucas, Deputy Mayor Wenstrup, Mayor Murphy and even Trustee Natchez (all of whom are my supervisors in the chain of command) to take action to put an end to the hostile work environment created by Mr. Tiekert and Trustee Natchez.”
Mayor Murphy says that despite the accusations and personality clashes, “I think the village is still being run smoothly and services are still being provided. This will be eventually worked out, people don’t have to worry, our day to day operations are in good hands.”
Barberio did not respond to a request for comment.