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Senior Princeton official put on paid leave, contractor to be terminated as investigation into dumping continues

Bob Hough, the head of the town of Princeton’s department of infrastructure and operations, has been put on paid leave while the police and the Mercer County Prosecutor continue to investigate issues related to illegal dumping and the misuse of municipal property and employees at the municipal sewer department facility on River Road.

Last week, Tommy Hughes, the supervisor for the sewer department, was fired. Hough is responsible for supervising the sewer operating division.

A Planet Princeton investigation first revealed the problems at the more than 60-acre facility. The reporter collected photos, videos and other information after receiving tips from several sources that at least four private contractors were using the public facility, which is funded by taxpayer dollars, to dump dirt, asphalt and other materials at the site. Sources alleged that a town employee was receiving cash kickbacks for allowing the dumping, which they said has gone on for the past three or four years. Sources also told Planet Princeton that workers and municipal equipment, including a $300,000 truck, were used during business hours for private jobs for contractors in exchange for kickbacks.

“This afternoon, we took administrative actions related to senior leadership in the department of infrastructure and operations which oversees the sewer operating division,” Princeton Administrator Marc Dashield said in a press release late Wednesday afternoon .” These administrative actions are necessary as an administrative investigation continues into a failure of the Sewer operating division’s adherence to DEP regulations related to proper maintenance of the site. Consequently, the department director has been placed on paid administrative leave with pay pending further investigation.”

Dashield also said the municipality intends to terminate the contract with ICUNJ, the contractor for the Linden and Spruce road project, based on the contractor’s improper dumping of materials at the River Road Site. “The municipality is exploring all avenues for holding all contractors responsible for damages incurred by the town,” reads Dashield’s statement. “The municipality continues to cooperate with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s office as they evaluate criminal related matters.”

Asphalt and dirt from a private contractor job, dumped at the sewer department site on River Road over the Memorial Day weekend.

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  1. I just want to say thanks to Planet Princeton.
    Without Krystal and her investigative reporting, we, the tax payers, would have been kept in the dark and likely, the corruption would have continued.

  2. concerned princeton tax payer
    you talk about a slap in the face a supervisor gets fired while the head of infrastructure and operations is put on paid leave and he runs the entire S.O.C. as a tax payer this just does not seem right again princeton has dropped the ball

  3. Curious why Township allows the administrator leader of it all to stay in job he should be on a leave for same reason Robert Hough is on leave if it’s about ensuring no funny business while they investigate.

  4. Anyone involved in this should be punished accordingly. No pay, no pensions, no keeping their licenses. This blatant disregard for their positions, the public, and the environment demands justice. No sweetheart deals, they should and do know better and now it’s time to pay the price. In fact under certain circumstances this can result in jail time, and it should.

  5. If Hough is found to have known about this scheme he should be terminated back to the date he was placed on leave. Also as town administrator- Dashield has to go- clearly he wasn’t aware of what was going on … and his job is to know how taxpayer money and resources are being utilized. Clearly, it seems, the employees (definitely has to be more than one) at the river road facility were running a side business at taxpayer expense, for years.

  6. Where is the Princeton environmental committee noticeably silent. Where is sustainable Princeton very quiet. Likely not allowed to talk because Lempert won’t allow it god forbid they advocate for what they are there to represent.

  7. @Environmental Committee – Maybe Sustainable Princeton is too interested in trying to force mandatory energy audits and disclosure before an older home can be sold – yet another cost and burden on middle-income residents – to comment on this. I certainly would have expected to hear at least an expression of concern, from them by now.. @Anonymous makes a good point. There seem to have been an awful lot of serious mess-ups since Mr. Dashield got here. Don’t know if he needs to be placed on leave, but that hire needs close scrutiny. We can, and clearly need to, do better.

  8. @Princeton taxpayer- Sustainable Princeton/ Environmental Commission members have a choice- express concern about this but risk upsetting Lempert who appointed them all to these commissions and is known for being vindictive, or stay silent and keep their positions. We know which option they chose. For people who claim to care about the environment- it is breathtaking hypocrisy.

  9. From the PEC webpage:

    “The PEC works collaboratively to advise and educate local government, businesses, and residents on environmental issues, laws, and programs by….responding to the public regarding local environmental concerns.”

    “Organizations that we partner, interact and collaborate with include…Sewer Operating Committee.”

    PEC Members:

    Sophie Glovier, Chair
    Heidi Fichtenbaum
    Tammy Sands
    Brian Walker
    Karen Zemble
    Lisa Marcus Levine
    Zoe Volenec
    Marco Ramirez

    Seems as though they do indeed have a role to play here, which they’re not playing.

  10. And from Sustainable Princetons website- OUR ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY
    Our vision is for Princeton to be a model town that examines every action through the lens of sustainability, ensuring a healthy environment, a strong economy, and the well-being of all community members now and in the future. It is our mission to inspire our community to develop and implement solutions that positively impact our environment. As such, we commit to upholding the principles of sustainability within our own operations.

    To minimize environmental impacts concerning our activities and to promote sustainable practices, we will:

    1. Include the consideration of environmental implications in all strategies and operational initiatives.

    2. Promote awareness of environmentally conscious decision-making and its impacts on our employees, Board of Trustees, donors, contractors, vendors, volunteers and the Princeton community.

    3. Minimize the waste we produce by following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Sustainable Materials Management hierarchy: source reduction and reuse, recycling and composting, energy recovery, treatment and disposal.

    4. Reduce our transportation-related fuel emissions by using environmentally efficient and responsible modes of transportation, such as biking and walking, carpooling, and driving electric or hybrid vehicles.

    5. Endeavor to procure products and services in a manner that integrates fiscal responsibility, social equity, environmental stewardship and community enhancement.

    6. Improve resource efficiency including our use of water, energy and raw materials.

    7. Strive to improve and innovate our environmental practices by continually reviewing the policies outlined in this statement.

    8. Staff and Board members are encouraged to model these behaviors in their own lives and to promote these green practices among other community organizations.

    Sustainable Princeton is committed to the continual improvement of environmental performance. This policy will be communicated to the Board of Trustees, employees, contractors, vendors and made available to the public through our website. Staff and Board members are encouraged to review this policy annually.

    Matt Wasserman, President
    Yamile Slebi, Vice President
    Brian McDonald, Treasurer
    Mia Sacks, Secretary
    Alexandra Bar-Cohen
    Chris Coucill
    Eve Coulson
    Fran Price
    Bruno Sarda
    Penny Thomas
    Gail Ullman
    Shana Weber

    Molly Jones
    Executive Director

    Christine Symington
    Program Director

    Jenny Ludmer
    Community Outreach Manager

    Ellen Malavsky
    Marketing Communications Consultant

  11. Thanks, @Anonymous. I notice that one member and officer is currently running for Council. Something to keep in mind.

  12. I agree do the crime do the time. Did we miss one source’s son worked with the said contractor and is a disgruntled parent

  13. It’s funny how you guys take the word of a low life drug addict who has no regard for husbands actions.

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