Monday, December 19, 2011

Middletown Director of Parks & Recreation Placed on Administrative Leave By Township

Early last week I received an email from someone that wanted to know if I had heard or knew anything about Middletown's Director of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs, Gregg Silva, being investigated by the Township of Middletown for some wrong doing and as a result of the investigation has been placed on indefinite administrative leave(fired?) by his bosses at Town Hall.

This person also informed me that as a result of Silva being placed on indefinite leave, rumors were running rampant that Middletown's former mayor/deputy mayor, the soon to be departing Township Committeewoman Pamela Brightbill, be will replacing Silva as the new Director of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs.

I responded by saying I hadn't heard anything about Silva's current troubles or the rumor about Brightbill, but I would make a few inquiries and get to the bottom of it as best I could. So I sent out a few emails and made a couple of phone calls to some people that I know to see if they had heard anything themselves.

It didn't take long to get a response.

From what I have gathered, it seems that Gregg Silva is most definitely on administrative leave and has been for over two weeks. The leave has been technically without pay (he is being allowed to use accumulated sick time) while he is under investigation by the Township.

What did he do wrong that has caused the Township to place him on leave? If you know anything about Gregg Silva, it could be just about anything, he has a long history of engaging in questionable practices. But what seems to have been the last straw was the building of a private memorial, on Township property, on the grounds of Croydon Hall in Leonardo.

A few months back a Township teenager, who grew up in the Leonardo section of Middletown, passed away as a result of a car accident while traveling down Chapel Hill Rd. The teenager, Daniel Piano, by all accounts was a great kid who had a lot of friends and a very loving family.

As a result of his passing, his friends built a makeshift memorial at the site of the accident but it wasn't a place that Daniel's mother wanted to go or thought that others should go to either because of the nature of the road, Chapel Hill Road is very busy and is dangerous for people to stand on the side of. So she had the idea to ask the "Township" for permission to build a memorial for Daniel on the grounds of Croydon Hall, seeing how it was a place that her son spent many happy hours of his life playing and hanging out there.

After receiving permission from Gregg Silva to build the memorial, Mrs. Piano went about the business of arranging for the construction of Daniel's memorial, the building of which was covered by private donations and volunteer labor.

You can read all about it in an article that was posted online at the Two Rivers Times.

So then, why would Gregg Silva be placed on indefinite leave of absence with his job in jeopardy if he received permission from the Township, to allow the construction of the Daniel Piano Memorial on the grounds of Croydon Hall? Well, evidently he never asked his superiors if it was alright for the memorial to be built. He took it upon himself to OK it without the consultation of others and that is where the trouble now lays.

If Gregg Silva would have first spoken to Township Administrator Tony Mercantante first, I am sure that the memorial would not have been allowed to be built. But now that it has been built the Township has to deal with any potential repercussions that might be a result of the memorial being built, namely others that may want to build similar memorials to loved ones that have passed.

As unlikely as that may seem, by giving the go ahead to the Piano family to built the memorial, Gregg Silva inadvertently set a precedent within Middletown that would allow for these types of memorials to be built in other parks throughout the Township. If the Township denies other the right to privately construct such memorials it could lead to lawsuits that would be costly to Middletown taxpayers.

As for the Brightbill taking over for Silva rumor, at this time from what I have been able to gather, it is still just a rumor but could have legs for a variety of reason, which I will save for another post.

In an effort at full disclosure on my part, everything that I have written here I have heard from others. I just want it to be known that I sent Township Administrator Tony Mercantante an email last week seeking comment but I haven't heard back from him as of yet. From what I understand, I was not the first to try and contact him last week on this subject. Two real, non-blogging journalist (I don't consider myself a journalist) have either spoken to Tony directly ( I was told the conversation was short, curt and ended with Mercantante stating that Silva was under investigation and the investigation was being handled in-house) or sent him, like myself, and email. If I hear back from Mr. Mercantante later on this subject, I'll post an update.


Anonymous said...

not-so-bright bill ha ha ha
that will not fly with the community

Anonymous said...

I could not understand why a memorial was built on township property. Now this makes more sense.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with the last post. Unfortunately, whomever posted it does not have a clue of what they are talking about and comepletely missed the point of your post. This has nothing to do with PAm Brightbill taking the post of Director of Parks and Rec and everything to do with the inneptitude of Gregg Silva. An injustice has been committed in the form of a monument to a young man, with all due respect to the parents, who died in a car crash on Chapel Hill Road while driving under the influence of drugs! This in not a rumor, it is fact. Silva gives the family permission to construct a monument and uses his favorite construction crew to handle the job. Daniel Falco was a 15 year old Middletiown child who passed away from a rare illness. It was brought to the attention of the Parks and Recreatiion chief, Mr. Silva. Mr. Silva flat out denied the request without even running it past the Township committee as he knew they would not approve it. He knew it then and he knew it now. He can't play the babe in the woods routine becuase it won't work. Silva is plenty corrupt and he should be fired! Quite frankly, Pamela Brightbill, a life long Middletown resident who has devoted her life to serving the people of the town in which she grew up in, would be a welcomed breath of fresh air. Silva lives in Freehold and runs the worst Parks and Rec department in all of teh state of NJ. Our parks are horrible and our taxes are astronomical. Something should be done about it. Gregg Silva does not care about Middletown. All he cares about is his over $103,000 salary and the many great dining venues in Middletown. Bring on Pam Brightbill or any other real Middletown resident that cares about our parks, our kids, our residents. It would be welcomed!

MiddletownMike said...

Anon 9:23,

As far as I can determine from reading various articles, Daniel Piano was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of his death.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:23

First my sincerest condolences to the Piano family.

Anon 9:23 Do you see where I'm going with this you ignorant AH.

Your facts are inaccurate and your intentional and deliberate statement of your so called facts and implications are out of line. THERE WERE NO DRUGS INVOLVED. NONE. If you were truly sincere as you say "with all due respect to the parents" you would have stuck to the topic of the story.

Please don't ad anymore emotional duress to the greiving family at this very difficult time in their lives with your so called facts that you're pulling out of your AH.....

Plain and simple. They did what they knew to do. They asked for permission and received it. Screw anybody that has a problem with that.

Take it from here.

Stick with the story at hand and leave the family alone.

MiddletownMike said...

Anon 10:45,

Well said and I agree.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Since we are way off the topic. So when are they going to remove the monument on Chapel Hill Road. Now that the new one is built. I thought I read in the press that it was going to be removed and cleaned up as soon as the new one was built. Seems like its getting bigger.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Daniel Piano's passing was a horrible tragedy. Whatever the circumstances, his life was too short. A nightmare that no parent should endure. But...when the monument was built and received press coverage, I was horrified. What was the message, I wondered, to all those families who had lost loved ones and not had the benefit of a monument on township property? It was a slap in the face and hurtful, I think, to so many others. Reading this blog and hearing the story behind the memorial tempers my rage.

Anonymous said...

To all the NEGATIVE cold hearted people who wrote disgusting comments about Daniel Piano who by far was a wonderful young man and because his parents and sister wanted to have a memorial site which by the way they received PERMISSION for you will go to hell!!!!!!!!! Go volunteer your time instead of making up lies. Walk a mile in the parents shoes of Daniel Piano and then see how you feel! I really think that everyone is really missing the point. I think the memorial site that was built in Daniel's memory is absolutely beautiful and only enhanced Croydon Hall. Anyone can go and sit on the bench at the memorial site and enjoy the beautiful grounds at Croydon Hall.
To the person who wrote about Gregg Silva injustice, are you kidding me??? You know damn well this is not about Daniel Piano's Memorial Site; it's about PURE POLITICS. I am so sick and tired of paying taxes in Middletown for cops who pull over people for talking on their cell phones when they are the biggest culprits. I see Middletown cops talking constantly on their cell phones. They also have really BIG MOUTHS AND LIKE TO TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS ON THE JOB! Shame on you!

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:48 PM,
It is about Daniel Piano's memorial site and about the process that created it and the process was flawed.

Anonymous said...

Middletown Township Officials have known for quite awhile that their processes or chain of command as I've heard it referred to is flawed. I'm speaking from personal experience, years of it.

This is nothing new.

Seems to me that they need to clarify these processes amongst themselves. Perhaps all of this could have been avoided if that did that years ago, when they knew about it.

Do they even have an employee handbook which outlines responsibilities and those processes?

Anonymous said...

Yes they do have an employee handbook that outlines this. The problem is that Silva was employed as the Director but ran his department as a Dictator. He did not think he had to answer to anyone his word was final. Last time I checked there are a lot of people above him, and at the top of his food chain are the residents of Middletown. He is a selfish, self serving, me person that did not care for the people that worked under him. Case in point when they laid off half of his Department everyone in his office everyone that did his work and the work for that Department and now that all those people are gone it shows who was actually doing the work while he sleeping in his office. He went as far as to tell us the people that were laid off that we would be getting our jobs back. And if the administrator and Township Committee needs more dirt on him they should bring in the people that were lied to by him and the remaining employees I sure it would make there case stronger to get rid of him…..“Careful not to burn bridges, you might just need to cross back”

Anonymous said...

condolences to family.Any loss to a child is not good.
This topic definitley seems to have some politcal tones. As reported, he obviously did not get the permission from administration. Rules and procedures are meant to be followed. But the fact is that what type of example do you set by putting practically a cemetary in the park area? its MORBID? have you seen this monstrosity? GET RID OF IT. It really needs to go away for saftey reasons alone. Also what type of example do you set (GET FACTS CORRECT EVERYONE) he was under the influence of somethng (UNKNOWN) and that is a fact as well as he was texting which was also reported as well. Two NO NO's and they put a memorial up for that? REALLY? Other than living in town, what did he do? Also, in regards to Brightbill, get real. Being a loud mouth committee person does not qualify you for anything. NOT Qualified. That would be a true politcal HACK! Her buddy JS is 6 feet down so I don't think that would work.

Anonymous said...

I've read with sadness the negative comments about the Piano memorial. I too have lost a child and it is an unspeakable tragedy. What a sad commentary on the state of humanity to have nothing better to do that add to the family's unbearable pain. Those who mention:free labor...the lovely bench was surely not free. Those who "speculate" drugs,texting,etc.-even if this nonsense was true,would that somehow make it less of a loss?? You say:what's so special about him? He was someone's child,brother,friend and from all accounts,a kind and decent member of our community. THAT makes him special.It is a lovely area to sit&obviously designed with tender,loving care. The township did not design or hand this over,as a random favor. Much planning and hard work was done by the family and caring members of our community. Shame on all of you who would torture this family further!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:20

Well spoken and I am sorry for your loss as well.

Anonymous said...

Thank You.....

Anonymous said...

When are they going to remove the monument on Chapel Hill Road. Now that the new one is built. I thought I read in the press that it was going to be removed and cleaned up as soon as the new one was built. Seems like its getting bigger.DO WHAT YOU ALL PROMISED TO DO!! REMOVE IT!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

While it's sad that anyone young or old has died in an unexplained car accident in this state, the practice of road-side memorials is inappropriate, especially when it's constructed on private property as in the case on Chapel Hill Road. Grieving friends of the victim have now resorted to spray painting and writing on the fence of the property owner. Keep memorials where they a cemetery where it can be properly maintained and used by grieving friends and family.