Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division Affirms the Commission’s Revocation of Maintenance Man’s Registration
June 20, 2022
On June 20, 2022, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division affirmed the decision of the Waterfront Commission to revoke the registration of maintenance man Robert Ward Becker.
Becker’s registration was revoked on July 12, 2021 after the Commission found that he had committed eight separate offenses, including: engaging in a price-tag-switching scheme; operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of Alprazolam (Xanax), abusing his Xanax on a regular basis; and violating Section 1.11 of the Rules and Regulations of the Waterfront Commission by failing to notify the Commission within twenty days of his arrest for shoplifting, and failing to notify the Commission within twenty days of his arrest for assault by automobile, driving while intoxicated, and reckless driving.
Following a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), the Commission found that Becker’s presence at the piers or other waterfront terminals posed a danger to the public peace or safety. On appeal, Becker argued that the Commission’s decision was contrary to the ALJ’s findings and recommendation, and that the penalty of revocation was harsh and unwarranted.
In affirming the Commission’s decision, the Court rejected Becker’s argument, which was “based on an incorrect reading of the ALJ’s report.” The Court observed that “the ALJ unequivocally found that the Commission established by a clear preponderance of the evidence all the charges alleged against Becker and recommended Becker’s registration be revoked because his behavior threatened the Waterfront’s public peace and safety. The Commission did not ignore the ALJ’s findings, but rather abided by his report in its determination that Becker committed the eight offenses and in its decision to permanently revoke Becker’s registration.” The Court cited to the ALJ’s findings that Becker’s “litany of lies, evasion and inconsistencies demonstrates that he lacks the integrity and honesty that is vital to the fundamental operations of the Waterfront, and thus threatens its public peace and safety.”
In light of the foregoing, the Court held that the Commission’s decision was not arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable and that the penalty imposed was not so disproportionate that it shocks the conscience or one’s sense of fairness.
Becker’s motion for reconsideration was subsequently denied. A copy of the Court’s Opinion is attached.