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Ex-Councilman Fined for 'Illegal Dumping' at DPW Lot

Sam Cerciello fined $100, says people were trying to 'send me a message.'

Former Councilman Sam Cerciello was charged with "illegally dumping" at the yard on John Avenue after three borough employees witnessed the incident, which one of the employees caught on camera, police records show.

The police report did not specify what Cerciello did in the June 22 incident, but Cerciello said in an interview Tuesday he was with one of his workers for his contracting business at the time and had four or five plastic garbage bags placed in a trash container at the lot while he was there dropping off his recycling. He said the trash bags were from tenants who had just moved out of his two-family house, and contained items such as toys, not food.

Cerciello said he appeared in court on Thursday and paid the $100 fine for the offense. He appeared in Long Hill Municipal Court before Judge James D. Bride to avoid conflicts from having served on Madison's governing body, where he finished an unexpired term from November 2009 through 2011. In the last election, he announced he was running for mayor, then decided to run for a council seat instead, but because he used Wite-Out to alter his petition after he changed his mind about what seat to run for.

Cerciello said he needed to use his truck that day, which is why he was dropping off his recycling and dumping the trash bags while he was there. He said he has seen other people do the same thing and he wonders why they decided to fine him instead of telling him at the time to stop, or asking him to take the bags out.

He said he believes he was photographed and fined to "send me a message" after talking about what he saw as Department of Public Works issues when he was on the council.

Cerciello said one of the employees who witnessed the incident snapped a photo with his cell phone, and the employees notified Public Works Superintendent David Maines.

"Anybody else would have called me up and said, 'Get the bags, you can't dump there,'" Cerciello said.

Maines declined to comment.

In a police incident report, Det. Sean Plumstead said he was instructed by Det./Lt. Jerry Mantone to "conduct an investigation into an alleged illegal dumping incident that had occurred at the Madison Department of Public Works."

After speaking to the employees and receiving the photo, police determined Cerciello was in violation of Borough Ordinance 120-4, "Illegally dumping in a public place, namely the DPW yard," the report says.

The report said Borough Administrator Ray Codey was advised of the outcome of the investigation because the borough was the victim in the case. Plumstead said he was advised on July 5 the borough wished to pursue the matter and he hand-delivered the summons to Cerciello.

Update: Cerciello's guilty plea came with a $106 fine and $33 in court fees, according to the Madison Municipal Court.

Darry Luce August 15, 2012 at 10:09 AM
It is sad that this man stands up an demands answers at council meetings. He acts like he wants good for the town then he breaks the law. Mr.Cerciello, you are not above the law You need to concentrate on trying to stay out of trouble yourself. Bad move for your credibility pal.
madison nation August 15, 2012 at 10:43 AM
maybe the public should start taking pictures of town employees NOT working during work hours.....
Larry Bruce August 15, 2012 at 10:47 AM
Alice's Restaurant anyone? Then a guy using a phony name attacks someone's credibility. This is great.
Bob August 15, 2012 at 02:26 PM
How do you figure town employees don't work .... I landscape I drive all over town and I see them working ... On the roads at the parks up at the MRC etc .... They did a great job durring our October storm and with leaf pick up , who snow plows the streets and salts oh wait the town guys so shut it DST... You do know they get union breaks so maybe that's when you see them "not working"
John Zimmerman August 15, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Phony name or not, Darry Luce has a very valid point. Let's play Jeopardy shall we? I'll take words that start with H for 200 Alex - 1. a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs. 2. a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements. BUZZER What is a Hypocrite Alex? - That's correct! Alice's Restaurant was written as a protest song against the Vietnam War, using humor and an actual occurence to protest authority (not to mention to show that you could get out of the draft/be disqualified from conscription for committing a crime, even one as minor as littering). Perhaps one could draw a connection between the song and Mr Cerciello's actions as they both have to do with breaking the law and being punished for illegal dumping (Arlo Guthrie had to pick up the garbage in addition to his fine, however) but I am not at all convinced it has anything to do with the credibility of an individual using a pen name. I wonder if Larry Bruce's feelings on writing under another name would extend to Mr Cerciello's ghost writer, if in fact he had one.
CoolBreeze August 15, 2012 at 06:57 PM
"Walk right in it's around the back Just a half a mile from the railroad track You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant" Bottom line is that these three workers would not have been able to take the photographs if there was no illegal dumping. As for excuses, well you all know the saying, everybody has one. As for what the song is about, why not let the lyrics speak for themselves.... "we was fined $50 and had to pick up the garbage in the snow, but thats not what I came to tell you about. Came to talk about the draft..." Goodnight Alice.
Terry Ziegler August 15, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Y'all really have too much time on your hands...
Larry Bruce August 16, 2012 at 10:48 AM
They extend to everybody who shoots off their mouths without the guts to stand behind their statements.
Bill August 16, 2012 at 11:01 PM
After many years In law enforcement It still amazes me when someone makes a statement that they should of just been told not to dump,park, or whatever the violation was and they would of gladly not done It even though there were signs posted plainly stating It wasn't permitted. What he did was decide at that moment the law didnt apply to him.
Ben Davis August 17, 2012 at 01:39 AM
I wonder if Mr Cerciello has any "idears" about who should be the next police chief.....
Robert The Bruce August 17, 2012 at 02:08 AM
So Larry, does that mean you would not vote for someone who was running for office if he/she were feeding someone copy to publish? Or is using a surrogate to hammer home propaganda acceptable? What's worse, using a nom de plume on Patch or the deliberate attempt to sway opinion by authoring propaganda and having a lackey publish it under his/her name? If you think the former is 'gutless', what would you call the latter? Deceitful? Manipulative maybe? Not saying it happens, just curious.
Aladdin Sarsippius Sulemenagic Jackson III August 17, 2012 at 04:08 AM
But, but, but... Madison Police - routinely - warn someone to stop doing something before they issue a summons. Case in point. There is a handicapped only parking spot in front of Suburban Shoes on Waverly. On many occasions, when a regular car pulls in to park in that spot - despite it being clearly marked as handicapped only - the patrolman who stands in front of the travel agency across Main Street will ask that person to move the car. He doesn't just write a ticket. He points to the sign and asks that person to respect it. Most of the people had no idea it was a handicapped only sign. And I am proud to see Madison police do the right thing and warn a driver before issuing a summons. Here, this guy could have dumped his garbage in the woods and nobody would know about it. He probably did what he thought was the honest and responsible thing by taking it to the DPW. This guy deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Barry Luce August 17, 2012 at 06:39 AM
Larry would never do something so underhanded, and if you don't believe me, just ask him. Since he uses his "real" name, his word is as good as Gold.
Robert The Bruce August 17, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Yeah, I'm sure this self proclaimed construction expert life long Madison resident ex-town councilman who served as either the liaison or assistant liaison to the road and water guys had absolutely no idea dumping his garbage in the DPW lot was not allowed. Why would he? After all, it's not like he ever spent any time there (at the lot/dump). And I don't know about you good people, but I always keep my trash bags and recycling in my vehicle, especially when I need to use it. It's not like the town offers curbside garbage pick up or collects recycling every week. Yup, that is a rock solid argument for why he was there if you ask me. A veritable Gibraltar of an explanation if I've ever heard one.

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