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Point Beach To Discuss Ex-Worker's Suit, 'Falsified' Water Meter Reading Claims

Sandra Petersen claims she was subjected to punitive actions and ridicule after she reported the alleged incident, and felt uncomfortable listening to employees allegedly make offensive and derogatory remarks about Yom Kippur and African-Americans

Point Pleasant Beach Council on Tuesday will discuss claims made by an ex-employee who says town workers falsified water meter readings, and ultimately overbilled residents for water and sewer usage.

The claims were made in a lawsuit, filed May 15, that says the borough knew of the "fraudulent activity" and failed to remedy the situation.

The council will discuss the matter during its 6:30 p.m. closed session.

The plaintiff, Sandra Petersen of Brick, claims she reported the activity to her supervisors in Point Pleasant Beach.

"Plaintiff was subjected to a severe and pervasive pattern of adverse employment actions and or/retaliation" by the borough that led to her termination, according to the lawsuit. 

Mayor Vincent Barrella declined to comment on the case, saying he hadn't read the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was provided to Patch by Rosemarie Arnold, a Fort Lee attorney who is representing Petersen.

In the lawsuit:

- Petersen, who is suing for damages, claims Gary McRae, a Point Beach water/sewer utility laborer, falsified and entered the fictitious meter readings in January 2012.

- Petersen claims she reported the alleged acts to Borough Administrator Christine Riehl and Kathy Beno, deputy finance officer of the Water and Sewer Department.

- Petersen claims that Beno laughed in her face and said: "Oh he's been doing that for years."

- Petersen claims she was ridiculed, and that Tax Clerk Jennifer Coyne and other employees spread rumors of her having an extramarital affair. Coyne, Beno and Riehl were also named as defendants in the suit.

- Petersen said she had job duties stripped from her after McRae was "forced" to resign in April 2012.

- Petersen claims she continued to be subjected to punitive actions and ridicule until she , and also heard employees make offensive and derogatory remarks about Yom Kippur and African Americans.

- After Petersen was fired on May 31, 2013, she said, she sustained severe pain, suffering and permanent physical and psychological injuries, including emotional distress and psychological harm.
benny June 03, 2014 at 12:00 PM
Thanks Laura, that makes sense. I just can't understand, going by this woman's lawsuit, how she got fired in May 2013? She turns an employee in for submitting phony meter readings in early 2012. Great job!! Then over a year goes by and she gets fired? Meanwhile the employee who committing the crime" forceably retired" in April 2012? Huge pieces of this story are missing. One of two things happened: she is filing a bogus lawsuit and is leaving out why she really got fired or she was harassed by the incompetent employees co workers. If it's the latter the employees named in the lawsuit need to be terminated immediately. Mayor and council can't hope this one goes away because it's not.
Mr. Happy June 03, 2014 at 02:54 PM
Hi Linda Maloney. My comment was directed at "Linda" aka *.
Brandy the Dog June 03, 2014 at 02:59 PM
Hi Mr Happy. You can have him.
Jack Kennell June 04, 2014 at 01:56 AM
A. Palanchi: What school did you get your space cadet degree?
A Palanchi June 04, 2014 at 06:56 AM
School of Hard Knocks, Mr. I've got more property than Donald Trump, but whine every 5 or 10 seconds about schools, taxes and every human being that is struggling to scratch out a living. State your opinion 2 or 3 times. That's your right. Maybe you're passionate when you state it 8 or 10 times. Good for you. 100 times? I think you've got some serious issues but since you are motivated by money I think aggrieved individuals, who want to speak out against you and what you believe in, have the perfect response. Or, are you one of those bullies who can only dish it out but cries like a nursery schooler when their nose gets a little bloodied on the playground by someone who responds in kind?First Amendment goes both ways baby and that's no pie-in-the-sky space cadet opinion, either. I'm looking forward to the 4th of July fireworks to celebrate America. How about you?

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