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Retired Edison Police Captain Indicted on Misconduct and Theft Charges

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ Retired Edison Police Captain Natale A. Fresco was indicted by a Middlesex County grand jury on charges of illegally using sick leave to collect about $38,000 from the township while working another job. Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced, Natale A. Fresco, 60, of Edison was charged with two counts of second degree official misconduct, one count of third degree theft and one count of third degree theft by deception. The indictment was handed up in New Brunswick following a presentation to the grand jury by Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Christine D Elia.

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The charges were filed after an investigation determined that Fresco was employed as security director at the Menlo Park Mall between July 15, 2015 and September 30, 2015 and collected sick pay from the township during that time. The investigation by Detective Nicholas Chiorello of the Middlesex County Prosecutor s Office determined that Fresco, known as Andy, collected about $38,000 before retiring on October 1, 2015. Fresco, who worked as a police officer for 36 years, earned $189,000 annually from the township and was being paid $65,000 per year as the mall security director.

The investigation is active and is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Chiorello of the Middlesex County Prosecutor s Office at (732) 745-3300.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, Fresco is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

References

  1. ^ Sign Up for E-News (www.tapinto.net)

Sticker shock in Argentina after major currency devaluation

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Argentines expressed shock at soaring prices on Friday and a major union called for protests to demand salary increases in the initial fallout from a major devaluation of the South American nation’s currency.

The price hikes came after the new administration of President Mauricio Macri on Thursday lifted restrictions on the buying of U.S. dollars. That led to a 30 percent devaluation of the Argentine peso vis a vis the dollar, which was immediately felt across the country.

Supermarket shoppers said Friday they’ll have to buy less of some products like bread and even cut out some things like beef, practically sacrilegious in a country known for its choice meats. Gisela Guana, a 26-year-old maid, said that earlier this week she could buy bread for 13 Argentine pesos (US$0.92) per kilogram (42 cents a pound). Now it’s 17 pesos (US$1.21)(55 cents a pound).

“What’s happening is scary,” said Guana, who earns 7,500 pesos (US$535) a month. “Workers are the ones who are going to pay” for the devaluation. Even before Thursday, Argentines had been complaining for weeks about prices rising even faster than usual in a country with one of the hemisphere’s most rapid inflation rates.

Macri, who ran on promises to liberalize Latin America’s third-largest economy, repeatedly said he would lift currency restrictions. So between his election victory on Nov. 22 and his inauguration on Dec. 10, supermarkets had been increasing prices to brace themselves for a devaluation. Several businesses, from textile factories to construction companies, simply shut down, figuring it was better to see what happened with the peso rather than risk decisions that might later be costly. Despite the long run-up, Thursday’s devaluation was a blow for many. It was also confirmation that major changes were coming after 12 years of largely protectionist economic policies.

The ripple effects were immediate. Pablo Micheli, leader of the large Argentine Central Workers union, demanded a 5,000-peso (US$357) bonus for workers as compensation for the devaluation. He promised a march on Tuesday to reject all of Macri’s economic changes of the past week, including the lifting of export taxes that will be a boon to the agricultural sector. The Argentine Chamber of Supermarkets acknowledged the price hikes and warned shoppers that even more increases were inevitable.

Yearly inflation is estimated at around 30 percent, a figure certain to rise in coming months. Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay said earlier this week that Macri’s administration was negotiating with many businesses to keep prices at the level they were at the end of November. Many were skeptical.

“Prices always go up,” said Adrian Portas, 51-year-old security guard who said he would curtail the amount of meat his family eats. “But our salaries do not.”

Currency restrictions were implemented by former President Cristina Fernandez in 2011 in attempts to curtail capital flight. They were a major pillar of an economic policy that included subsidies, price controls and social works programs for the poor. But the measures were also deeply unpopular and led to a booming black market.

Macri frequently argued that the “cepo,” or “clamp,” hurt Argentina’s competitiveness, scared away would-be investors and created distortions in the economy.

“The devaluation here happened a long time ago. Everything is very expensive, said Alicia Fernandez, a 58-year-old lawyer who says she frequently visits her adult children living in Florida. “In the United States, with US$100 you can fill up your shopping cart. Here you can only get a few things.”

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Peter Prengaman on Twitter: http://twitter.com/peterprengaman. His stories can be found at: http://bigstory.ap.org/search/site/Peter%20Prengaman[1][2]

2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.[3]

References

  1. ^ http://twitter.com/peterprengaman (twitter.com)
  2. ^ http://bigstory.ap.org/search/site/Peter%20Prengaman (bigstory.ap.org)
  3. ^ 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. (www.thebrunswicknews.com)

Chief Glenn De Caire leaving Hamilton Police for McMaster University

Glenn De Caire, chief of the Hamilton Police, is leaving the service to be director of security and parking at McMaster University. In a move that surprised and puzzled members of the local police board, the 53-year-old chief announced Friday he was leaving as of Jan. 17, 2016. He starts at the university the next day. And since his last day on the job will be Dec. 31, he’s leaving with effectively two weeks notice. De Caire told board members less than two hours before a Friday afternoon press conference announcing the decision.

Just a month earlier, the board had voted to extend De Caire’s contract by two years[1]. De Caire’s tenure has been controversial.

‘McMaster has offered me an opportunity to contribute to their organization over a long term, and my opportunity here with the Hamilton Police Service has been limited by the contract term.’ – Chief Glenn De Caire

Under his watch, violent crime has decreased. De Caire also launched the high-profile ACTION team, which patrols Hamilton’s downtown and other areas on foot and bicycle, and launched some other innovative policing practices.

Some city politicians have credited the ACTION team as a factor in revitalizing the downtown. But De Caire has also been criticized for an autocratic management style. In October, a survey from the police union showed that 72.1 per cent of sworn officers didn’t want his contract extended[2]. He also faced controversy and criticism over carding, which De Caire introduced to Hamilton, along with his handling of some other race and diversity issues.

Legal positions

De Caire said those issues played no part in his decision.

“The positions I’ve taken on behalf of this service are sound positions. They are appropriate positions. They are legal positions for public safety.”

‘I don’t think anyone is not puzzled. Anyone who says they aren’t must have a crystal ball.’ – Coun. Terry Whitehead

The move will likely mean a pay cut. De Caire earned $228,519.20 plus $18,901.68 in benefits in 2014 as Hamilton’s police chief. His predecessor at McMaster, former police superintendent Terry Sullivan, earned $133,852.35 plus $8,560.11 in benefits.

Seeking stability

De Caire said the stability of the new job was a draw. When he applied to McMaster, he said, he had “no commitment from the board” so he “sought opportunity elsewhere.”

He did have a commitment when he accepted the job on Saturday. But “McMaster has offered me an opportunity to contribute to their organization over a long term, and my opportunity here with the Hamilton Police Service has been limited by the contract term,” he said. And “people retire in their 36th year of policing.”

When asked why he couldn’t give the board more notice, he said the timing of start date at his new job was “completely out of my hands.”

“The board is required by law to be notified first,” he said. “And they were.”

‘How is it that nobody knew he was a candidate? – Coun. Matthew Green

The resignation poses many questions that will probably never be answered, said Matthew Green, a Ward 3 city councillor who has been critical of De Caire over the issue of racial bias in street checks, otherwise known as carding.

The McMaster job was posted five months ago, Green said. “How is it that nobody knew he was a candidate?”

With the extension, he said, “(De Caire) got everything he wanted. It doesn’t get much more stable than that.”

Terry Whitehead is a Ward 8 councillor who sits on the police services board. He and De Caire have had issues before, including a heated exchange that saw Whitehead suspended from the board[3] while the Ontario Civilian Police Commission investigated the argument. Whitehead can’t speak on behalf of the board. But “personally, it comes as a real surprise, especially in light of the fact that he expressed his desire to stay on with the board. We believed and trusted in his sincerity only to find out a couple of weeks later that he’s going somewhere else.”

“I don’t think anyone is not puzzled. Anyone who says they aren’t must have a crystal ball.”

Mayor Fred Eisenberger issued a statement acknowledging De Caire’s achievements in fighting crime, as well as his “numerous new and innovative programs.” But he also mentioned being taken off guard.

“It is with great surprise that I recognize Chief De Caire upon his retirement announcement,” he said.

What about a new chief?

The board was surprised, said chair Lloyd Ferguson. But he said he understands.

“You don’t want a length of time for there to be chatter over the water cooler,” he said. “It’s just got to go bang-bang when you decide to retire.” It has to be “a quick process is best because otherwise you just get distracted.”

De Caire’s last day will be Dec. 31 because he’s taking two weeks of vacation, Ferguson said. Before he leaves, he’ll appoint an acting chief of police. The board expects to hire a new one in the spring. This isn’t the first time De Caire has issued a statement announcing his retirement. He initially did so in fall 2013. Then in June, after a $20,000 search for a new chief, he withdrew his retirement[4] and the board renewed his contract until 2018.

For that reason and others, De Caire has been a somewhat controversial chief over his time at Hamilton Police Services, which started in 2009.

At McMaster, De Caire will be responsible for leading the campus security team and managing the university’s parking services, says the McMaster Daily News[5].

“We are impressed by Glenn’s extensive background and his expressed approach to leading the security and parking services,” said Mohamed Attalla, assistant vice-president facility services, in the Daily News article.

References

  1. ^ extend De Caire’s contract by two years (www.cbc.ca)
  2. ^ 72.1 per cent of sworn officers didn’t want his contract extended (www.cbc.ca)
  3. ^ suspended from the board (www.cbc.ca)
  4. ^ withdrew his retirement (www.cbc.ca)
  5. ^ says the McMaster Daily News (dailynews.mcmaster.ca)