Pemberton Township, N.J. mayor called to resign amid allegations of sexual harassment, retaliatory behavior

The council president says an investigation led by the township solicitor began about three months ago.

Office building

Pemberton Township Municipal Building in Burlington County, N.J. (Google maps)

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

Officials in Pemberton Township, New Jersey are calling for the mayor’s resignation after three dozen employees came forward detailing various allegations, including sexual harassment, retaliatory behavior and reports of flirting with minors.

“If everything’s true that we’ve read, you should man up and resign. Let us move on,” said Councilman Dan Dewey on Wednesday.

Pemberton Township Council has passed a resolution during a special meeting Tuesday night, demanding the resignation of Mayor Jack Tompkins.

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The council president says an investigation led by the township solicitor began about three months ago.

“We started to see (that) there isn’t just a personality clash here or two. We may have a problem, we better look into it,” said Council President Paul Detrick.

Thirty-seven employees were interviewed, along with the mayor.

The resulting report, according to a resolution passed by council, found that Mayor Tompkins consistently violated the township’s anti-harassment, anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation policies.

“‘I’m going to fire this person, I’m going to fire that person,'” said Dewey, recalling some of the allegations. “The way people were talked to.”

In November, a lawsuit was filed by Nichole Pittman, the township’s director of Parks and Recreation, accusing Tompkins of gender discrimination, sexual behavior, and retaliatory threats — allegedly leading to her firing last year.

Her termination was later reversed by the township council, according to the lawsuit.

The suit is one of two that led the township to conduct an investigation.

“We need our people to be able to come here and be comfortable with their work environment and get their jobs done,” said Detrick. “And that’s all they want to do and that’s what we want. We have a great bunch of people here.”

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An attorney for Pittman said in a statement Wednesday, “While we are happy to hear that the Town Council has decided to take action, it is too little too late. As alleged in the complaint, Mr. Tompkins engaged in outrageous, and clearly retaliatory, behavior toward our client. Ms. Pittman deserves better and so does Pemberton.”

An attorney for Tompkins declined to comment Wednesday. He has not been criminally charged.

We have not heard if the mayor plans to resign, and officials say just because council demands it doesn’t mean he has to. If he doesn’t, another option is a recall election, where voters would have the option to vote him out of office.

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