Former Administrator, Clerk, Antoinette Battaglia loses cancer fight (UPDATED)

| 31 May 2019 | 10:57

Former Administrator, Clerk, Antoinette Battaglia loses cancer fight
West Milford. Former Township Administrator and current Township Clerk Antoinette Battaglia died Friday night following a long fight with terminal cancer, officials said.
Former Township Administrator and Township Clerk Antoinette Battaglia, 55, of Sparta, lost her battle with terminal cancer May 31.
“It is with great sadness and sense of loss for our community that I must inform our residents that former Township Administrator and Township Clerk Antoinette Battaglia passed away at Morristown Hospital this evening, ending a courageous struggle with cancer,” Mayor Michele Dale said in a statement Friday night. “Our collective hearts, prayers and tears join with her grieving family at this most difficult time.”
Battaglia, a township employee for more than a decade, had been in failing health for several weeks.
“I have notified the Township Council of Antoinette’s passing and will immediately take the needed steps to make sure her role remains filled at town hall, although no one could fill her shoes so readily,” Dale, who was elected to the office in November, said in the statement. “In the short time I had working with her as mayor of West Milford, I was struck by her dedication to the township and her work ethic despite battling a terminal illness.”
During her time with the township, Battaglia became the township clerk and then accepted a par time role as administrator under Democratic Mayor Bettina Bieri in 2015.
She held both positions until the Township Council terminated her contract as administrator in December, citing a need for the community to have someone full time in the position.
During that time, she earned $94,000 as a full time clerk and another $38,000 as a part time administrator.
Bieri resigned in August, however, and forced a special election for the last year of her unexpired term.
Dale, a Republican, beat out Democrat Chris Garcia and independent Tim Wagner, council president and a Republican, who lost in the 2018 primary election.
Township Councilman Lou Signorino asked that Battaglia be given a “Rice” notice at the Dec. 5 meeting last year.
A “Rice” notice lets a public employee know that their position and performance would be discussed by the governing body.
Battaglia had the choice of holding the discussion in a private executive session, or in the public session of the meeting.
She chose to have the discussion in public.
The council’s decision to terminate her contract did not stop Battaglia from helping newly seated Mayor Dale keep the town running.
“She was a fighter in every sense of the word, and gave every ounce of her being to her profession while taking on such a devastating personal challenge,” Dale said. “I will be forever grateful for the support she gave to me as I took on the mayor’s duties, and worked closely with her making West Milford the very best it could be.”