Generator controversy in New Jersey

November 13, 2012 2:35:46 PM PST
The Westwood superintendent is under investigation, accused of borrowing a district-owned generator to power his house and a school vehicle to commute from his home 40 miles away.

He's not the only public official accused of putting his own needs above everyone else's

The Ice Cream Bakery in North Haledon is owned by Mayor Randy George.

Last week, the Mayor apologized for what he called a lapse in judgment, for taking a town generator and using it to power his business' freezers so the ice cream wouldn't melt.

"Ice cream is not a necessity, everyone else took losses, he just took care of himself, that's all," said Ruth Tortora, of Cheryl's Pet Salon.

Other business owners along High Mountain Avenue say they lost plenty, after Sandy knocked out power for five days.

The family who owns Manchester Bagels estimates they had to throw away thousands of dollars of spoiled food.

"As a business owner, when you are under duress, you will take all measures to get up and running. It was a catastrophe when we came in here," said Roni Taha, of Manchester Bagels.

The town generators are meant to power the municipal offices and the police station in an emergency, but they never lost power.

North Haledon's attorney is investigating not only the Mayor's use of the generator at his ice cream parlor, but also whether the North Haledon police chief was authorized to use a town generator at his home in Wayne.

"We are all human, we make mistakes and life goes on. He's a good mayor and he has been for years and we appreciate having him," said Janet Ploch, a North Haledon resident.

Mayor George reportedly returned the generator after just one day, and neighbors say he wound up having to throw away most of his ice cream anyway.

In Westwood, the school superintendent is under investigation for taking a district-owned generator to power his home, and a district van to make the 80-mile round trip from his house in Boonton.

There will be a district meeting Thursday night.

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