Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Passaic Recreation Director Was in Pretrial Intervention

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Passaic Recreation Director Was in Pretrial Intervention

Article excerpt

PASSAIC -- On the day he received a $10,000 raise and days after coaching a city baseball team in a national championship tournament, Eriberto "Eddie" Carrero was told he had to undergo a criminal background check to keep his new job.

Council members voted 5-0 Tuesday night to raise Carrero's salary to more than $75,000 as director of the new Department of Recreation, Cultural and Senior Affairs, which was created three weeks ago when the recreation department he ran was merged with two other departments.

But earlier in the day, city officials also ordered him to undergo a criminal background check, as required by the city ordinance that created his new department. Carrero acknowledges that he pleaded guilty to misconduct charges 14 years ago when he was a city police officer but said the criminal record was expunged when he completed a pretrial intervention program.

Mayor Alex D. Blanco said Carrero should be allowed to continue in his new job no matter the outcome of the background check.

"I think he's doing a great job," Blanco said, adding that the charges were years ago and "I think he's entitled to a second chance."

Carrero, 52, who has worked in the recreation department since 2002, said he does an honest day's work for the city and has never been in trouble -- "I've been here 11 years now," he said. "I guess I've proven myself."

On Tuesday night, Carrero presented the Passaic Indians, a 9- year-old traveling baseball team, to the City Council after it finished third in the American Amateur Baseball Congress national championships held over the weekend in Brownsville, Texas.

The audience and council members cheered the team, which had won the state championship to advance to Brownsville. Carrero helped raise $15,000 in donations to get the players and coaches to the tournament.

"Hats off to Eddie Carrero," said Council President Gary S. Schaer.

In 1998, Carrero was fired from his job as a Passaic police officer after pleading guilty to theft and official misconduct. The state charged that he and four other Passaic police officers were paid for security details in the Passaic public schools without ever showing up, records show. …

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