City files charges against Cresci
Based on an audit done of the Bayonne Parking Authority, the City of Bayonne has filed criminal charges against former city assistant attorney Peter Cresci for theft by deception.
City Attorney Charles D’Amico filed the charges against Cresci on Tuesday with the Bayonne Police Department, alleging that Cresci had assumed – without authorization – the duties as executive director of the Parking Authority in late 2007 until fired by the city in the summer of 2009.
An investigation done in 2010 by a legal firm hired to unravel the mess at the Parking Authority indicated that Cresci allegedly took control of the authority without a vote from the Parking Authority Commissioners and was allegedly paid as a full-time employee at the authority, at a time when Cresci was already employed full-time by the city as the business administrator and part-time as the city’s assistant attorney. He also maintained a private legal practice during that period.
Cresci, who filed suit against the Parking Authority last month, alleges that he was forced out of the position as part of a political purge. He was also fired as city business administrator last May. He said after that firing, he was pressured to resign from his Parking Authority post as well, which he refused to do.
State Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell said criminal charges are partly based on a settlement of a portion of Cresci’s lawsuit, in which Cresci apparently agreed that he was not an employee of the Parking Authority.
Although not available for comment at press time, Cresci has in the past questioned the accuracy of the report and claims made prior to the report by Mayor Mark Smith at a public meeting of the City Council.
Water service advisory
The Bayonne Water Distribution System experienced a failure on its 30-inch distribution main, located in Avenue E at East 33rd Street. The main services the industrial east side area of Bayonne. The BMUA’s emergency services contractor, Joseph Jingoli & Son of Lawrenceville, N.J., responded to the break and exposed a seven-foot crack in the 30-inch steel pipe. BMUA employees are working to isolate the leak by closing valves and working around the damaged section of pipe. Welders working for Jingoli & Son will assess the damage and determine if the crack can be welded or if the section of pipe needs to be replaced. The pipe is approximately 90 years old. No Bayonne residents or businesses have been out of water. Residents are advised to avoid travel on Avenue E if at all possible and to observe detour signs for the duration of the project.
For more information, contact the Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority at (201) 339-3200 during normal business hours. The repair work is expected to take several days to complete. No service interruptions are planned.
Rescue in Westfield
On June 11, the Bayonne Fire Department deployed a team of rescue personnel to a trench collapse emergency in Westfield, N.J. Deployed under a UASI (Urban Area Security Initiative) mutual aid agreement, a team of six Bayonne Fire Department rescue trained personnel responded to 782 Knollwood Place in Westfield. Upon arrival, the rescuers discovered a construction worker trapped in an excavation trench, and pinned down by collapsed mud and clay above his waistline. The Westfield Fire Department, along with a total of five UASI rescue crews from Newark, Bayonne, Morristown, Jersey City, and Elizabeth, converged on the scene and worked together to rescue the trapped victim. The rescuers installed protective shoring, and dug through the heavy wet clay and mud, freeing the victim in about two hours. The victim was transported to a medical facility for treatment.
“Bayonne Fire Department rescue personnel were in the trench assisting with digging the victim out, and were also involved with protective shoring and lifting the victim out of the hole,” said Fire Chief Greg Rogers. “The extensive training that Bayonne firefighters receive through UASI grants has elevated our rescue personnel to new heights. In addition to trench rescue training, Bayonne firefighters have been trained for building and infrastructure collapse, as well. It is apparent that the joint efforts of all the participating Metro Strike Teams make for a unified force unparalleled by any one single entity. This multi-agency initiative provides regionalized technical rescue throughout the state.”
Transportation studies authorized
The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) has authorized three studies, exploring improved transportation options in Hudson County, two focusing on Jersey City, and one on Jersey City/Bayonne. These options include the potential for new transit services in and around Liberty State Park, creating a bike and pedestrian greenway along the filled Morris Canal and a new Bus Rapid Transit service between Bayonne and Jersey City.
The studies are among 11 county- and city-led studies slated for funding in the NJTPA’s next work program. The NJTPA Board of Trustees endorsed the Fiscal Year 2010-2011 Unified Planning Work Program at its May meeting. Funding will begin on July 1.
One study will examine the potential costs and benefits of improved mass transit serving Liberty State Park and adjacent residential development and businesses, including the light rail station and nearby industrial areas. While mass transit currently serves the western and northern edges of the park, there is no mass transit service to the interior of the 1,212-acre park, which sees 6 million visitors each year.
Another study will prepare a plan for a bicycle and pedestrian greenway along the 6-mile path of the historic Morris Canal in Jersey City, most of which has been filled. The Morris Canal links the Hudson and Hackensack rivers and is largely publically owned. It is anticipated that the greenway would not only be used for recreation, but as a travelway for commuting and other regular trips.
A third study is a preliminary examination of the feasibility of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service between Bayonne and the Greenville section of Jersey City and the Journal Square Transportation Center in Jersey City. BRT services that will be explored include kiosks for passengers to easily and quickly purchase bus tickets to reduce boarding time; intelligent transportation systems, which will provide countdown timers for real-time bus arrivals and bus information at the bus shelter and via website; optimizing the distance between bus stops with specific BRT branding; and specialized BRT vehicles for faster boarding and alighting of pre-ticketed passengers.