A routine background check uncovered that Passaic, New Jersey’s Department of Recreation director was charged with theft while employed as a Passaic city police officer in 1998. On the same day that Eriberto “Eddie” Carrero received a raise and a promotion from the city, he was also ordered to complete a criminal background check as part of the hiring process for his new job. Carrero was already the superintendent of the recreation department, but his department also recently merged with the Cultural and Senior Affairs departments. Passaic mayor Alex D. Blanco believes Carrero should be allowed to keep his new post, regardless of what the background check shows. Blanco said that Carrero is “doing a great job” and is “entitled to a second chance.”
Carrero, a well-liked employee of eleven years and coach of the recent third-place national championship winning Passaic Indians city baseball team, said that he has never had any disciplinary problems, and has “proven [him]self.” At the same city council meeting where Carrero unanimously received a $10,000 raise and promotion from the city council, he was also praised for raising $15,000 in donations for the baseball team and leading them to third-place victory. Gary Schaer, City Council President, proclaimed, “Hats off to Eddie Carrero.” Carrero agreed to the background check, saying that he didn’t have a criminal record. Of the previous misconduct and theft charges, he said they were “all dismissed.”
Carrero was fired in 1998 from his city police officer job when he pleaded guilty to official misconduct and theft. The state charged that he and four other Passaic policemen accepted payment for a security detail in Passaic public schools without actually working the security detail. Carrero agreed to return $1,040 and give up his badge in a plea bargain deal. In 2001 he was rehired by the city’s municipal court, and then the recreation department a year later, eventually rising to superintendent. Carrero’s large raise in salary was attributed to an anticipated increased workload. The ordinance dictating the merger of the recreation, cultural, and senior services departments also states that “all adults” working with minors in the city recreation programs must receive background checks. According to the ordinance, anyone found with convictions that “negatively impact the health, safety and welfare of children” will be dismissed from the department.
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Author: Michael Klazema