NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—An employee of the New Brunswick Housing Authority (NBHA) was taken to a local hospital on March 3 after an altercation with the agency’s Director of Operations Mark Roedelbronn.
“Mark almost hit and choked one of the housing [employees],” said one source, describing the 18-employee agency as a “hostile work environment.”
Another source said that Roedelbronn lost his temper and screamed at the female employee multiple times, sticking his finger in her face, and slamming a file folder on her desk.
The NBHA operates several federally-funded public housing complexes in the city, administers the “Section 8” housing choice voucher program, and plays a key role in real estate and construction, doubling as the city’s “redevelopment agency.”
The worker left the agency’s Van Dyke Avenue headquarters in the back of an ambulance after first responders checked her blood pressure and found it was extremely high.
“The incident at 7 Van Dyke Avenue… was handled by the Emergency Medical Services (EMS),” confirmed New Brunswick Police Department Captain JT Miller.
The patient was taken to St. Peter’s University Hospital and released. NBHA Executive Director John Clarke did not respond to multiple inquiries about the incident.
The entire agency has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks, after New Brunswick Today exposed a questionable scheme to issue expensive extrajudicial parking fines to the low-income residents of the Schwartz Homes and Robeson Village housing projects.
The NBHA has also come under fire for repeatedly failing comply with the state’s public records law, struggling to hold its monthly board meetings, and disrespectful behavior on the part of its board members at their most recent public meeting.
Roedelbronn is the number two man at the $14 million agency, earning an $84,000 annual salary as the “Director of Operations.”
Part of Roedelbronn’s job is to respond to requests made under the Open Public Records Act. The author of this article filed a lawsuit against the authority on February 26 after more than four months of broken promises and delays in providing public records to this newspaper.
Roedelbronn joined the authority in 2010, and was promoted from within after Deputy Director Michael Mesi left the agency in 2012. Clarke explained that the Deputy Director position was “dissolved.”
Roedelbronn, a Chatham resident, is a former college athlete who played quarterback for the Fairleigh Dickinson University football team at the same time Clarke was playing linebacker.
“[Clarke] and [Roedelbronn] are college buddies,” said one of our sources. “They are scratching each [other’s] backs.”
As we reported, Clarke and Roedelbronn were two of the agency’s top three overtime earners during the first nine months of 2015, despite being in leadership positions.
Clarke also serves as the Acting Executive Director of the Franklin Township Housing Authority, under an interlocal services agreement between the two agencies.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.