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In his annual report, Hudson County Sheriff Juan M. Perez touts technological improvements in the department, a countywide recruitment drive, and the appointment of the first African-American female undersheriff. Starting his third year in office, Perez, 59, released his report earlier this year. Among the technological advances he trumpets are a juvenile monitoring program with electronic bracelets for home supervision, the use of Palm Pilot technology for warrant and Division of Motor Vehicle look-ups, and CCTV monitoring of Lincoln Park in Jersey City. Hudson County has settled a lawsuit filed by three sheriff’s officers alleging former Hudson County Sheriff Juan Perez and his second in command, former Chief John Bartucci, retaliated against them because they attended a fundraiser for Perez’s political opponent in 2010. “Sheriff Perez had implanted a political patronage policy where he awarded his political supporters, but punished his opponents and non-supporters,” said attorney Louis Zayas, who handled the suit. “This is unacceptable in a democracy and certainly unbecoming an elected official.” Perez, the incumbent, was defeated by then-Undersheriff Frank Schillari in the November 2010 election. Schillari was re-elected in November. The lawsuit, filed in early 2010 by Sheriff’s Office Capt. William Joy and Sgts. Annette Rolon and John Karras, alleged their freedom of speech was violated and they suffered retaliation. The suit also named Hudson County and the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office as defendants. The amount of the settlement, which was finalized Jan. 6, could not be determined today because Hudson County offices are closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Zayas declined to provide the amount of the settlement bayonne elections.

Among the allegations the lawsuit made is that in March 2010 Rolon, Joy and Karras attended a fundraiser for Schillari. Two days later Joy and Rolon were reassigned to "less favorable and more burdensome positions with less opportunity for overtime." Also, the start of Joy's shift was changed from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. The lawsuit also says Perez and Bartucci denied Karras' request to attend a training seminar and subjected him to an assignment that was "less favorable and more burdensome."At the time, a spokesman for Perez said the sheriff had no knowledge of who attended the fundraiser, nor did he care. He said the reassignments were done to meet the needs of the Sheriff’s Office. He said overtime is also assigned based on the needs of the office and getting overtime is not a right bayonne city council.

The 2010 lawsuit said Rolon, Joy and Karras "are presently suffering serious mental and emotional distress, anxiety, ridicule, humiliation and loss of future employment prospects."Joy has been with the Sheriff's Office since 1988, Rolon since 1990 and Karras since 1995. They all remain employed by the Sheriff's Office, Zayas said. The suit also notes that the day after Schillari declared that he would run for sheriff, Perez fire him. Zayas said Schillari had to go to court to get his job back. Bartucci said today that he had not yet been informed of the settlement. Perez could not be reached for comment. A comment was not immediately available from the county.

By: Juan Manuel Perez

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Submitted On Apr 12, 2014. Viewed 425 times.

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