Director Angel Alicia is the subject of a complaint filed with the New Jersey Attorney General’s office for overlapping pension and pay – allegations made by an officer in the Hoboken Police Department. The complaint stemming from a review earlier this year of the Hoboken Police Department audit, stated the role Mr. Alicia currently holds acting as Public Safety Director should be discontinued.
The complaint filed by Lt. Detective Mark Competello claims Director Alicia improperly assumed the position of Public Safety Director in Hoboken while still officially part of the Union City Police Department overlapping on both pay and pension while failing to meet a time requirement in between the two positions. Lt. Detective Mark Competello insists the time requirement of six months being out of the Union City Police Department was not satisfied. Director Alicia states in an interview with Hoboken.Patch.com he in fact met that requirement while taking terminal leave from Union City.
City Business Administrator Arch Liston states the matter is under review with the state.
Related: Claire Moses has the interview with Director Alicea and the story that followed the interview and complaint.
Talking Ed Note: The police audit was stated as the basis for the complaint but there’s a history in the Hoboken Police Department regarding Director Alicea who some time back had applied to transfer from Union City Police to the Hoboken Police Department. There’s also grist for the mill that former County Boss now NJ Senator Robert Menendez tried to aid in the transfer that was rejected by the Hoboken Police Department. How this fits now into the current dynamics of Hoboken’s political scene is unclear. Director Alicea was originally appointed by ex-mayor Peter Cammarano and kept on in his current capacity under Mayor Zimmer. Much speculation on that being the case has followed.
The motivation for the complaint is not altogether clear but the complete report is below.
Photo: Director of Public Safety Angel Alicia at a City Council meeting earlier this year.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Sent Via Certified Mail and Facsimile 609.292.3508
Honorable Paula Dow, N.J. Attorney General
Office if the Attorney General
Re: Pension Fraud and Official Misconduct Complaint: Public Safety Director Angel Alicea
Dear Attorney General Dow:
I write to you requesting an official investigation, as it has come to my attention in my capacity as a Police Lieutenant/Commander of the Criminal Investigation Bureau of the Hoboken Police Department, that Angel Alicea II; Public Safety Director for the City of Hoboken appears to be in violation of state administrative law, pertaining to both his pension and appointment to his current position.
I did report this alleged misconduct in a confidential internal memorandum, dated April 22, 2010, both through my chain of command, as well as to the City of Hoboken, including Mayor Dawn Zimmer. To date, Mayor Zimmer and the City of Hoboken have met this matter with silence. Also, this matter may have been referred to the Hudson County Prosecutor for a criminal review, however, even if this is the case based on Director Alicia’s historically strong political ties in Hudson County politics, I would rather this be investigated by your agency in the best interest of neutrality and justice.
By way of background, Director Alicea was appointed to his position on July 22, 2009 as noted on the City Council Meeting Agenda of this date. At that time Director Alicea was an active sworn law enforcement officer with the Union City Police Department. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:16A-3.1 Appointive/Administrative or Supervisory Position Service), Director Alicea was required to be retired not less than six months in order to legally accept the position of Director of Public Safety.
Additionally, according to the New Jersey Division of Pensions/Police and Fireman’s Retirement System (PFRS) document dated March 8, 2010 it lists Angel Alicea II, of Union City being approved for a Special Retirement effective February 1, 2010. This clearly indicates that Director Alicea is in violation of state administrative and/or pension law and according to the PFRS rules must reenroll in the PFRS, and possibly refund the pension for the improper time he served in a dual capacity as a law enforcement officer with Union City PD (UCPD) and a civilian Director of Public Safety for the City of Hoboken.
Moreover, I am also requesting an independent determination if Director Alicia’s unethical behavior and actions pertaining to this issue constitute Criminal Misconduct under N.J.S.A. 2C: 30-2.
In order to be of assistance in sorting this out, I provide a breakdown of possible scenarios in regards to Director Alicea’s hiatus from the UCPD:
The manner, in which the Union City Police Department (UCPD) recorded Director Alicea’s daily attendance status, must also be fully investigated. Director Alicea was still a sworn member of the UCPD for nearly (8) months, while simultaneously being compensated as the City’s civilian position of Director of Public Safety. Presuming, Mr. Alicea was using “vacation time” accrued that would also be improper under the state mandated statute of only allowing a public employee to carry over a total of (1) year’s accrued vacation time into the succeeding year. This is pursuant to N.J.S.A. 11A6-3(e).
Another scenario to be investigated is if Mr. Alicea was using “sick time or terminal leave time” depending upon his collective bargaining agreement (CBA). This again, would be unethical and improper as Mr. Alicea was clearly not “sick” and was still being paid by the City of Union City, while also being paid to perform his current title of Public Safety Director by the City of Hoboken. If either the former or the latter scenario’s are found to exist Mr. Alicea would be engaging in the practice of receiving compensation, benefits, etc. from two or more sources in a way regarded as unethical and in a government job commonly referred to as “double-dipping” and may also constitute Official Misconduct (2C: 30-2) and pension fraud.
The final scenario that could apply to Mr. Alicea’s hiatus from the UCPD is a “leave of absence.” Civil Service Law N.J.A.C. 4A: 6-1.10 provides that:
2. An appointing authority may grant permanent employees a leave of absence without pay for a period not to exceed one year. A leave may be extended beyond one year for exceptional circumstances upon request of the appointing authority and written approval of the Department of Personnel.
Again, assuming this is the case Mr. Alicea would also not be in compliance with N.J. Pension Law which states “unpaid” leaves of absence for personal reasons are only allowed to purchase a total of “three months” of service. If Mr. Alicea were on a unpaid leave of absence, he would have been engaging in pension fraud for approximately (5) months, by continuing to pay into his pension, while engaging in “double-dipping.”
The final issue is a “leave of absence with pay”, which would be completely inappropriate in this case, besides the possibility of again engaging in “double dipping” and may also may violate the criminal statute of Official Misconduct (N.J.S.A. 2C: 30-2) in that Mr. Alicea was receiving full pay and benefits from one municipality for essentially not working, and simultaneously being compensated by the City of Hoboken for performing the duties of a civilian Director of Public Safety, thus knowingly obtaining an illegal “benefit” by a public official.
Either way it is looked at, this matter must be fully investigated to determine the merits of exactly what transpired in regards to the (8) month hiatus from the UCPD, and also the dual employment issue with regards to the City of Hoboken. The taxpayers of both municipalities at least deserve an explanation and conclusion to this matter, as well as what action will be taken.
In closing, I find it appalling that Director Alicea would engage in this type of malfeasance, especially in light of all the recent controversy in regards to the fiscal condition of the N.J. State Pension System and exposure of those guilty of “double dipping” in government jobs.
It is completely unacceptable and sends the wrong message when a Director of Public Safety is allowed to break the law, either in an administrative or criminal capacity, without impunity.
Should you require any further clarification on anything contained in this complaint letter, please let me know. Also please advise me of the findings and/or action that will be taken in regards to this matter.
Mark S. Competello, CPP, CHS, CPM, CFC
Board Certified in Security Management
Board Certified in Homeland Security
Board Certified in Public Management
Board Certified in Forensic Consulting
ASIS International Law Enforcement Liaison Council Member
Cc: Chris Christie, Governor
Frederick Beaver, Director, N.J. Division of Pension & Benefits
Arch Liston, Business Administrator
Michael Kates, Corporation Counsel
Anthony Falco Sr., Chief of Police