Conford, Freund and Haneman. The opinion of the court was delivered by Conford, J.A.D.
Defendant appeals from a determination of the Civil Service Commission which sustained, in part, charges of misconduct preferred against the appellant, a police officer of the City of Asbury Park, by the city manager of the municipality, and affirmed his dismissal from office by the city manager on a finding of guilt after hearing.
The Commission, after a hearing de novo , found appellant guilty of "conduct unbecoming an employee in public service" and of the following specific acts: (1) removal of money from parking meters of the city on Lake Avenue, and, in violation of instructions, failing to place it in a receptacle provided for that purpose; also in removing the head of the meter and retaining possession of it; (2) on another occasion failing to place money collected from a parking meter on Third Avenue in the receptacle provided, contrary to instructions; (3) soliciting a meter collector to give him part of the meter collections; (4) soliciting another meter
collector to give him part of the collections; (5) admitting to another police officer having appropriated to himself moneys from parking meters; (6) being found in the city hall in the evening of November 21, 1956 by a police officer and admitting to him he was trying to get into the desk of the city manager to obtain keys to parking meters.
Defendant denied guilt and contended the charges against him were contrived by a new City Manager as political retaliation.
We dispose forthwith of the ground of appeal that the "verdict is not supported by the evidence." We have read the record of the proceedings and are satisfied the Commission had sufficient before it to warrant its determination that defendant was guilty of each of the acts charged to him mentioned above. The issues are largely factual and depend considerably upon credibility. The position of the Commission is superior to ours in judging credibility. Certain observations on the evidence and the formal decision of the Commission seem desirable, however.
In reference to charges designated (1) and (2), above, the decision states that defendant was assigned to collect from parking meters in April or May 1955, and also that the testimony of former City Manager Armstrong was that he gave defendant the instructions relative to method of disposition of moneys collected from meters early in 1954. This apparent discrepancy in dates seems to be cleared up by the testimony of the witness Godfrey that defendant had been assigned temporarily to assist in collections at the earlier time, identified by the witness and Armstrong as the occasion of the taking of a news photo of Armstrong, Godfrey and defendant at one of the meters at the time when a new coin collecting device went into service.
Charge numbered (6) above, which is 2(G) on the original list of charges, reads:
"(G) On November 21st, 1956, in the evening, you did admit to Police Officer Nelson Herbert, when you were found in City Hall that night, that you were trying to and would like to get into the
desk of the then City Manager Armstrong to obtain keys to the parking meters."
This gives the impression that defendant was in the building surreptitiously on the occasion mentioned. This, however, is not borne out by the proofs. The evidence is that the prosecuting witness, Herbert, was summoned to city hall by a radio message that the defendant had found a side door of the building open and reported that fact to the desk sergeant. Nevertheless the gravamen of the charge was the remark made by defendant to ...