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Pastore v. County of Essex

Decided: December 15, 1989.

GERARD PASTORE, SR., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, AND GERARD PASTORE, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
COUNTY OF ESSEX AND NICHOLAS AMATO, BOTH OFFICIALLY AND INDIVIDUALLY, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



King, Baime and Keefe. The opinion of the court was delivered by Baime, J.A.D.

Baime

This is an appeal from a summary judgment entered by the Superior Court, Law Division, dismissing plaintiff Gerard Pastore, Sr.'s claim that he was wrongfully discharged from his employment as greens superintendent of all Essex County golf courses. In a written opinion, the Law Division judge determined that plaintiff was disqualified from serving in the position by reason of his prior convictions. We agree and affirm essentially for the reasons expressed by Judge Brochin in his opinion rendered on July 14, 1988.

I.

The facts are not in dispute and are substantially a matter of public record. On November 10, 1977 plaintiff was convicted of conspiracy (N.J.S.A. 2A:98-1) and numerous counts of obtaining money by false pretenses (N.J.S.A. 2A:111-1), forgery (N.J.S.A. 2A:109-1) and uttering a forged instrument (N.J.S.A. 2A:109-1). We need not recount at length the facts surrounding these convictions. Suffice it to say, the record reflects that

plaintiff, while serving as a supervisor of the Newark Youth Corps, falsified various employment applications and thereby obtained payroll checks which he forged and cashed. As a result of these convictions, plaintiff served nine months in the Essex County Jail and forfeited his employment with the City of Newark pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:51-2a.

Following his incarceration, plaintiff commenced employment with Essex County as a research assistant at the county golf courses. There followed a series of rapid promotions ultimately leading to plaintiff's provisional appointment as manager of golf facilities and later as greens superintendent of all three of Essex County's golf courses. Despite the voluminous and detailed record, it is difficult to differentiate between plaintiff's duties as manager and his responsibilities as greens superintendent. Nevertheless, it appears that plaintiff played a substantial role in managing the golf courses. At times, plaintiff handled revenues at the Hendrick's Golf Course well in excess of $50,000 a month. Indeed, in plaintiff's complaint he alleged that he was responsible for increasing revenues by some $300,000 each year.

Because plaintiff does not contest his dismissal as manager of golf facilities, this appeal pertains solely to his discharge from his position as greens superintendent. We thus limit our discussion to those duties and responsibilities embraced in that post. In that respect, the civil service job description reads in pertinent part as follows:

DEFINITION:

Under direction, directs and administers a comprehensive maintenance program of regulation golf courses; directs employees engaged in carrying out the specialized maintenance program; prepares budgets requests and administers an approved budget; may develop plans for improvement of golf courses; does related work as required.

EXAMPLES OF WORK:

Plans and supervises a variety of maintenance programs related to the proper care of the turf and land areas of golf courses; gives suitable assignments and instructions to assigned personnel; prepares budget estimates; requisitions, receives, accounts for, stores and issues materials and supplies; recommends ...


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