NORTH BERGEN AND BEYOND -- After a scandal in which North Bergen's former public works director pleaded guilty to charges of using town workers to perform chores at his home, the township announced Friday that it had appointed a new interim director.
The new director also has a troubling past. But officials say he's had a clean record for the last three decades, and is taking no additional pay for his new job.
On Friday, Town Commissioner Frank Gargiulo announced the appointment of John Shaw as interim superintendent of the Department of Public Works. Shaw has worked in various capacities for the DPW and North Bergen Municipal Utilities Authority for 34 years. He currently works as the MUA Sanitation Supervisor and Recycling Coordinator and earns $112,000 per year.
Shaw will not be paid any additional salary for taking on his new duties. At Wednesday’s township meeting, the Board of Commissioners approved an inter-local agreement with the MUA authorizing Shaw to take on his new responsibilities on a temporary basis (see North Bergen news at hudsonreporter.com, lower half of the page).
Shaw began working as the interim superintendent two weeks ago.
“John is doing an excellent job and has already had a great impact on restoring employee morale and re-energizing this department,” said Commissioner Gargiulo. “John is the right person to help us get through the coming leaf and snow removal seasons, which are among the most challenging months in any year. He is a strong leader with a solid record of management experience in the township.”
Gargiulo said Shaw’s appointment is temporary and that he may or may not be a candidate for a permanent position as superintendent.
Shaw’s personal history is the story of a troubled young man getting a second chance. In 1979, when he was 27 years old, Shaw was arrested for bookmaking. He pleaded guilty and served a three month, work release sentence. Since then, he has had a clean record, officials say. He volunteered as a youth recreation coach for almost 20 years and is a highly regarded member of the community. John’s wife Ruth is an elected member of the North Bergen Board of Education.
“John Shaw was fully aware that his prior history as a young man would be revealed, but he decided to step forward and help our town at this critical point in time, “ said Comissioner Gargiulo. “Keep in mind that he is taking on these duties and this public scrutiny for no additional compensation. He could have stayed at the MUA making the same salary and avoided this publicity. In my mind, he deserves a great deal of credit for what he is doing and he has my full trust and confidence.”