James Wiley, the former North Bergen Department of Public Works superintendent, testified in Hudson County Superior Court that he got caught red-handed having NB DPW workers perform personal chores at his home, as well as doing political work in neighboring Hudson County municipalities.Â
“I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar,” Wiley responded, when asked by Victor Salgado – the New Jersey Deputy Attorney General – why he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit official misconduct in September 2012.
â€œI had men working at my house, I did some political work out of town with laborers that I shouldnâ€™t be doing and it came to a point that I had to be honest with myself,â€ saidÂ Wiley.
When Salgado questioned: “Why did you do it?â€ Wiley replied, â€œIt was a part of procedure for DPW.â€
Twenty years prior, when Wiley first started working as Assistant Superintendent, he said NB DPW was already using tax payer’s dollars for personal use.
“The first time I got there my predecessor told me ‘You’re going to be called upon to go out of town with a group of men.'”
Wiley also testified that after just two weeks on the job in 1995, Timothy J. Grossi – then the township’s deputy director of public works – requested he work on a project in Jersey City along with Francis “Frank” Longo, North Bergen DPW Supervisor currently standing trial, who educated him on how the procedure works.
Additionally, he added that fellow NB DPW Supervisor Troy Bunero was a hard worker who routinely participated in political work as a laborer, stating “he got better at it” once he was promoted.
Later, Wiley said that he never had the power to fire employees, since that responsibility lies with the commissioner of the department – in this case, Frank Gargiulo.
He also called Longo his “right hand man” in the DPW.
“When you weren’t around, who was in charge?” Salgado inquired. “Frank Longo,” Wiley replied, adding that if both he and Longo were absent, Bunero would be in charge of DPW.
Wiley said his decision to promote Longo to supervisor was largely due to the fact he needed someone “with a set of cojones” who could stand up to the “very bad crew” that worked in DPW at the time, recounting a time an employee pulled a gun on him.
He further recalled that Longo routinely worked political campaigns as a laborer, which he “loved” to do since he would get paid time-and-a-half on overtime, also revealing that Longo was the best man at his wedding in 2010.