Morristown suspends housing inspector in animal cruelty case

Morristown’s chief housing inspector, Tommy Alexander, has been suspended without pay as a result of his conviction Thursday on animal cruelty charges for starving his dog, Satin.

Tommy Alexander, moments after a judge ruled he must lose his $90,000 municipal job in Morristown because of an animal cruelty conviction. His lawyer said he will appeal the verdict. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Tommy Alexander, moments after a judge ruled he must lose his $90,000 municipal job in Morristown because of an animal cruelty conviction. His lawyer said he will appeal the verdict. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Citing state law, a municipal judge in Rockaway Township ruled that the official must forfeit his $90,000 job because the convictions touched upon his government duties.

At the time of the charges last December, Tommy Alexander headed the Morristown human services department, which oversaw animal control operations.

The forfeiture matter is scheduled to be argued in Rockaway on Nov. 1.

Tommy, 61, has denied abusing his mixed-breed pet, which has been adopted by new owners and is doing well. A 35-year town employee, Tommy also could lose his pension. He is suffering from liver cancer.

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” said Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty. “We’ll follow whatever is legally required in this situation.”

The Mayor’s office and town Attorney Vij Pawar jointly issued this statement:

“We are in the process of gathering additional details from Thursday’s
court hearing and the decision rendered by the Rockaway Township
Municipal Court.  The matter was transferred to Rockaway Township to
avoid any potential conflict of interest issues and to ensure an
impartial hearing.  Based on the information we have on the
proceedings, Mr. Alexander was found guilty of charges stemming from
accusations of animal cruelty and the Rockaway Township Municipal Judge
imposed penalties which included a forfeiture of Mr. Alexander’s
employment with the Town.  Effective immediately, Mr. Alexander has been
suspended without pay.  The Town will do whatever it is legally required
to do as a result of the Court’s decision with the understanding that
Mr. Alexander has an opportunity to appeal all of the penalties imposed
by the Judge, including a rehearing on forfeiture.  The Town will
respect Mr. Alexander’s appellate rights and closely monitor the
situation.”

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