Renee Tartaglione had little to say last month when she abruptly quit her $69,400-a-year job as one of the city's top election officials - deputy and right-hand aide to her mother, Marge Tartaglione, the longtime chairwoman of the city commissioners.
But the city Board of Ethics provided the explanation yesterday, announcing a settlement in which Renee Tartaglione admitted to repeated, blatant violations of the city charter's ban on political activity by city employees.
Tartaglione, 55, agreed to give up her city job for at least one year, until next December, and pay $2,700 in fines for a series of charter violations, including:
* Ordering, paying for and picking up printed campaign material in 2008, aimed at defeating state Rep. Angel Cruz, a political foe of Tartaglione's husband, Carlos Matos, the Democratic ward leader in Kensington's 19th Ward.
* Buying sample ballots in 2009 to promote an anti-Cruz slate of 32 candidates for judge of election and machine inspector in the neighboring 7th Ward, where Cruz is the ward leader.
_ Presiding over two pre-election meetings of Democratic committeemen in the 19th Ward, in 2009, and routinely visiting the Democratic City Committee to pick up checks for thousands of dollars in "street money," to be distributed to Election Day workers in the 19th Ward and the 62nd Ward, where Marge Tartaglione is the ward leader.
Neither Renee nor Marge Tartaglione responded yesterday to calls or messages from the Daily News. Officials in the city commissioners' office said they didn't expect to see Marge until tomorrow morning, when the three city commissioners convene for their weekly meeting.
Marge Tartaglione, 77, first elected to the city commissioner's post in 1975, is widely expected to seek re-election next year to her 10th four-year term.
The job pays $126,419 annually. Even though Tartaglione signed up for a deferred-retirement program and collected a $288,136 DROP payment in early 2008, her ultimate city pension will continue to climb with cost-of-living increases in her city salary.
Besides Renee's picking up Democratic City Committee checks for her mother, there was nothing in the Board of Ethics settlement agreement that tied Marge to any of the violations.
But it could still provide Marge's opponents with potential campaign fodder - either for allowing her daughter to engage in political activity, or providing such loose supervision of the commissioners' office that Marge was unaware of what her top aide was doing.
There was no indication in the settlement if Renee's political work was limited to off-hours or took place during scheduled working hours in City Hall.