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In re Eid

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

June 19, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF SAAD RADWAN EID, BOROUGH OF CARTERET

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued March 5, 2013

On appeal from the New Jersey Civil Service Commission.

Michael D. Brottman argued the cause for appellant Saad Radwan Eid (Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein, & Blader, attorneys; Mr. Brottman, on the brief).

Celia Bosco argued the cause for respondent Borough of Carteret (Genova Burns Giantomasi Webster, L.L.C., attorneys; Ms. Bosco of counsel; Rebecca Fink, on the brief).

Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Attorney General, attorney for the New Jersey Civil Service Commission (Pamela N. Ullman, Deputy attorney General, on the statement in lieu of brief).

Before Judges Reisner, Hayden and Hoffman.

PER CURIAM.

Appellant Saad Radwan Eid, who was formerly employed as a laborer in the Carteret Borough Sewer Department, appeals from the January 25, 2012 final action of the Civil Service Commission (Commission), insofar as that decision denied his application for back pay, retroactive health benefits, and counsel fees. We affirm.

I

In July 2008, the Borough served Eid with three disciplinary notices seeking his removal from duty. Two of the notices were based on citizen complaints about his conduct and the third was based on allegations made by one of his fellow employees. The first citizen complaint involved an elderly woman who claimed that Eid nearly hit her with his Borough vehicle as she was crossing the street and was abusive to her when she complained to him. The second citizen complaint involved a teenage girl who complained that Eid followed her in his Borough vehicle while she was walking. The third complaint was from a co-worker who complained that Eid cursed and spat on him after the co-worker loaded a bag of garbage on Eid's work truck. While those charges were pending, the Borough also served Eid with a notice that it no longer had an available position for him because, due to a work-related injury, he had significant physical limitations which the Borough could not accommodate.

Following a departmental hearing, the disciplinary charges were upheld, and on May 11, 2010, Eid requested an administrative hearing before the Commission. He separately filed an appeal to the Commission from the Borough's determination that he was unfit for duty. The Commission determined that the allegations of unfitness, like the disciplinary charges, could not be decided without an evidentiary hearing. On September 16, 2010, the Commission issued a decision granting a hearing on the unfitness issue and transmitted that issue to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL), to be consolidated with the pending disciplinary matters. Eid did not file a motion for reconsideration of the Commission's September 16 decision, and the case proceeded to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

In his initial decision, the ALJ first rejected Eid's claim that the parties had settled the disciplinary actions. He noted the Borough's contention that it offered to settle the case for a twenty-day suspension, in return for which Eid would apply for a disability retirement. The ALJ further noted that Eid had filled out a disability application, but did not file it and did not agree that filing it was a term of the settlement. The ALJ concluded that the parties never actually reached a settlement.

Next, the ALJ found, based on his evaluation of witness credibility, that while the two citizen complainants were sincerely upset, there was insufficient evidence to support a finding that Eid was in the wrong in the two incidents. However, with respect to the third incident, the ALJ found that Eid had screamed and cursed at his co-worker and spat in his face. The ALJ also found that Eid later disobeyed a supervisor's direction to submit a written statement about the incident. The ALJ found ...


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