Sunday, December 1, 2013

Oaklyn Councilman busted from Sergeant to Patrol Officer for lying.

On Monday, April 8, 2013, I reported on a different blog (click here) that Oaklyn Borough (Camden County) Councilman Ronald C. Aron, who also serves as a police officer in nearby Haddon Township, had sued in Superior Court to challenge a police disciplinary charge that had been lodged against him.

In the same blog entry, I also reported that Aron had settled his lawsuit and appeal with the Township and agreed to: a) plead guilty to "conduct detrimental to the good order of the police department," b) accept a 10 day unpaid, disciplinary suspension, c) forfeit 80 hours of accrued sick time and d) accept a "one year demotion from the rank of sergeant to patrol officer" which had already been served. 

What I didn't know then, but have subsequently learned, is the nature of the conduct that caused the disciplinary action to be taken against Aron.

On-line here is a March 11, 2011 transcript of Aron's court hearing before Camden Superior Court Judge John A. Fratto. 

According to the transcript, Aron was charged with lying to his superior officer, Haddon Police Captain George E. Tagmire, about how he had injured his ankle.  According to Judge Fratto's findings, Aron had called Tagmire at home on February 16, 2009 to report an ankle injury but had told Tagmire that he "was not sure" how the injury occurred. Aron placed his call to Tagmire from "up in the mountains" in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.   After speaking to doctors, however, Aron determined that the origin of his ankle injury was from twisting his ankle while on duty on January 24, 2009.  He filed a workers compensation claim which was denied.

What Judge Fratto said was "the crux of the case" was Tagmire's testimony that after he had told Aron "that he would have to use his sick time," Aron had replied, "Well, if you tell me it comes out of my time, I will say it is work related." 

Judge Fratto ultimately found that Aron's statement that his injury was work related was a "falsehood" and that Aron did not believe it to be true when he discussed his injury with Tagmire.

Judge Fratto found, however, that the punishment meted out by the Township (i.e. a permanent reduction in rank from sergeant to patrolman) was "too Draconian" and that since the source of Aron's injury was "a debatable situation," he ordered that the one-year demotion already served was sufficient and ordered Haddon to restore Aron back to sergeant, but without back pay.  Judge Fratto also denied Aron's request that the Township reimburse his attorney fees.

Aron was represented by Brian Jacobs, Esq. and Haddon Township was represented by Christopher Orlando, Esq.  Also available on-line are transcripts from the October 1, 2010 and January 21, 2011 court hearings and a table of exhibits that were submitted to the court.