Former New Jersey public official gets probation after plea to misusing township workers
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — A former northern New Jersey official has been sentenced to probation almost a dozen years after he acknowledged having used township workers for personal chores and political campaign work.
James Wiley, 78, former superintendent of the North Bergen Department of Public Works, was sentenced last week to two years of probation as part of a new plea deal with prosecutors reached last year on charges of unlawful taking, the Jersey Journal reported.
Wiley had recently retired when he initially pleaded guilty in September 2012 in Hudson County to using municipal workers for household chores, personal projects and political campaigning while billing the township for their pay.
Prosecutors said he routinely called on employees to clean and repair his home, including installing a hot tub and putting up Christmas lights — often on Saturdays when they were paid overtime. Prosecutors said Wiley falsified their paperwork to make it look like township work. He also acknowledged using workers for on-the-clock political campaign work.
Wiley's sentencing had been postponed dozens of times as he cooperated with a state investigation that led to six more convictions, a major factor in the probation sentence. His original plea deal called for a 5- to 10-year prison sentence for second-degree conspiracy.
Wiley apologized to township residents, saying, "I dearly regret letting them down, because some of the best people in the world come from there.”
An attorney for the township argued that Wiley should serve prison time as have others who took orders from the superintendent, saying that after “breeding corruption” he was getting the benefit of "cooperating against those people he directed.” Wiley's attorney said the township was looking to further punish Wiley for turning on his former colleagues.