On appeal from the New Jersey Civil Service Commission, CSC Docket No. 2009-488.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted July 10, 2012 -
Before Judges Sabatino and Kennedy.
James Walker appeals from the final administrative decision of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) accepting and adopting the findings and conclusions of an administrative law judge (ALJ), and affirming Walker's termination from employment as a senior police officer with the Department of Human Services (DHS).
Having considered the record and applicable legal standards, we affirm.
On September 2, 2008, Walker was served with five separate preliminary notices of disciplinary action, each of which sought his removal from office. The first notice charged that in 1999 Walker had been criminally charged with issuing bad checks to a grocery store, and later pled guilty to a downgraded charge of disorderly conduct and failed to report the offense to the DHS Chief of Police. It was also asserted that he lied about the existence of that offense during an internal review in 2008.
The next three notices charged him with driving on duty at different times in 2005 and 2006 while his driving privileges had been suspended and failing to inform the Chief of Police of the suspensions.
The fifth notice charged that Walker received a summons for operating an unregistered vehicle in 2007 and that a warrant for his arrest was issued for failure to appear in court or pay a fine. It also charged that Walker likewise failed to inform the Chief of Police of that offense, and that he continued working as a police officer while the arrest warrant was outstanding.
On October 27, 2008, Walker received two more preliminary notices of disciplinary action seeking his removal from office.
The first notice charged that Walker failed to inform the DHS police department that he had registered the name of his private security business, "Walker's 1 Stop Security," with the county clerk and that he later "denied any knowledge of involvement with a security firm." The second notice charged that Walker failed to notify the police department that he had registered "Walker's 1 Stop Retail" with the county clerk and later ran the business.
Each of the notices charged that Walker's actions constituted conduct unbecoming a public employee, contrary to N.J.A.C. 4A:2-2.3(a)6, and violated various DHS administrative orders. Each charge was initially sustained and Walker was consequently removed from his position as a senior police officer. Walker administratively appealed and the disciplinary actions were transferred to the Office of Administrative Law, where they were consolidated for disposition before an ALJ.
The parties submitted to the ALJ a "Joint List of Stipulated Facts" and no testimony was taken. Walker conceded in the stipulation all of the facts underlying the charges, except he denied that he had lied about the bad check charges or his involvement with the security firm in the 2008 internal review. Further, the parties stipulated that Walker had been hired as a police officer with the DHS in 1999 and had been the subject of oral counseling, ...