PATERSON - A Paterson Public Works supervisor has been suspended for five days amid a Kane In Your Corner investigation into misuse of city resources.
Photos sent to News 12 New Jersey show a Paterson Department of Public Works crew unloading a 30-yard city dumpster onto one resident’s driveway. Witnesses say they also saw DPW employees, in uniform and apparently on the clock, removing tree parts from the resident’s backyard and throwing them into the dumpster. Kane In Your Corner has confirmed that the home is owned by a secretary at Paterson’s Board of Education.
Community activist Dave Gilmore, who says he took the photos, calls it a case of “special treatment” and “unequal distribution of resources.” Alex Torres, who says he witnessed DPW workers raking tree parts from the homeowner’s yard, adds: “Everyone has to pay for their own dumpster when you cut your tree down. Why does this one individual get a dumpster delivered to their house?”
In addition to the dumpster, fuel and workers’ salaries, a receipt shows taxpayers also paid $318 to dump the tree parts at a landfill in Woodland Park.
Paterson Public Works Director Christopher Coke says he suspended the supervisor after investigating the incident. But some believe Coke should bear responsibility since he personally approved the use of the dumpster. Coke tells News 12 New Jersey’s Walt Kane that he did not intend the dumpster to be placed on private property, and instructed the supervisor to put it on the street where the entire neighborhood could use it.
But Kane In Your Corner spoke to several neighbors and no one knew anything about a community dumpster. They say there were no calls or flyers and were surprised when the large dumpster suddenly appeared. “Nothing on TV, nothing in the newspaper, no flyers handed out,” Torres says. “These were the only people who knew because it was in their driveway.”
Union president Joe Mania says it doesn’t matter where the Public Works director intended the dumpster to be dropped off because this was an improper use of city resources and his workers should never have been told to take part in it. “It shouldn’t have been approved at any level that this is something DPW provides, because we don’t do that,” he says.