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In re Salamandra

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

May 14, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF MARK SALAMANDRA.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued January 15, 2013

On appeal from the Civil Service Commission, Docket No. 2012-324.

Wesley Bridges argued the cause for appellant Mark Salamandra (Becker Meisel, LLC, attorneys; Mr. Bridges, of counsel and on the briefs).

Marvin L. Freeman, Deputy Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent New Jersey State Parole Board (Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Attorney General, attorney; Lewis A. Scheindlin, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Mr. Freeman, on the brief).

Before Judges Alvarez and St. John.

PER CURIAM

Mark Salamandra appeals the January 11, 2012 Civil Service Commission (Commission) decision which upheld his removal from his employment with the New Jersey State Parole Board (Board). Following our review of the arguments advanced on appeal, in light of the record and applicable law, we affirm.

I.

The record discloses the following facts and procedural history leading to the administrative determination under review.

Salamandra was involved in an automobile accident in Bucks County, Pennsylvania on September 4, 2010. He left the scene of the accident and returned home shortly thereafter. Officers from the Lower Makefield Police Department went to his residence and took him into custody. Salamandra was found to have a blood alcohol level of .245. The legal blood alcohol limit for Pennsylvania drivers is .08. 75 Pa. C.S.A. § 2802.

At the time of the accident, Salamandra was employed as an assistant district parole supervisor. On October 7, 2010, the Board's Office of Human Resources issued a decision of informal pre-termination hearing suspending him without pay effective October 5, 2010.

On March 16, 2011, Salamandra pleaded guilty to driving under the influence: incapable of driving safely, 75 Pa. C.S.A. § 2802; driving under the influence: highest rate of alcohol, 75 Pa. C.S.A. § 2802; failure to stop and give information and render aid, 75 Pa. C.S.A. § 3112; failure to notify police department of accident, 75 Pa. C.S.A. § 3746; and failure to stop at a red light, 75 Pa. C.S.A. § 3744. Thereafter, the Board served him with a final notice of disciplinary action which sustained charges for conduct unbecoming a public employee, N.J.A.C. 4A:2-2.3(a)(6), and other sufficient cause, inability to discharge one's duty, N.J.A.C. 4A:2-2.3(a)(11). Salamandra appealed and was granted a department level disciplinary hearing. The hearing officer found in his favor with respect to the charge of inability to discharge one's duty, dismissing that charge, but found that he engaged in unbecoming conduct, sustaining the recommendation of removal. On July 15, 2011, Salamandra was provided a final notice of disciplinary action making his removal from employment effective October 5, 2010.

Salamandra's appeal of that decision was transferred to the Office of Administrative Law pursuant to N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 to -15 and N.J.S.A. 52:14F-1 to -13 where it was filed for determination as a contested case. On November 4, 2011, the administrative law judge (ALJ) rendered an initial decision ordering his removal from his position with the Board. Salamandra filed ...


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