Morristown's Director of Human Services does not have to forfeit his job over a guilty animal cruelty verdict after all.
Thomas Alexander, 61, was found guilty of several charges of animal cruelty by a Rockaway Township municipal judge in October. As part of his penalty, Rockaway Township Judge Gerard Smith—who heard the case because of Alexander's employment with Morristown—said the lifelong Morristown resident would be forced, by state mandate, to give up his position with the town.
However, on Thursday, Smith reversed course on that decision, saying Alexander did not have to give up his job, according to a MorristownGreen.com article.
"We're aware of the judge's ruling," Business Administrator Michael Rogers said Friday. "He's still an employee of the Town of Morristown. The town has reached out to his attorney [Gary Moylen] to discuss his submission of a retirement application effective Nov. 1."
The judge's reversal means that retirement application, which Rogers said Alexander had submitted some time ago, would allow Alexander to maintain his town-supplied health benefits. He presently is receiving treatment for liver cancer.
Alexander had first been accused of animal cruelty when he handed over his dog, Satin, to town Animal Control Officer Samantha Judson last year. He had said he had a month prior given the dog over to someone named "Frankie," who had been passing out Nation of Islam material in the Flagler Street neighborhood, because he needed to move to an apartment that did not allow pets.
When Alexander returned to his old apartment in December 2011, he said he saw Satin in very poor condition and went to look for "Frankie," who he had said lived somewhere in Newark. "Frankie" was never found and no one else who testified on behalf of Alexander could claim to have ever seen "Frankie," leading the judge to find Alexander guilty in part because he did not believe the man existed.
The dog, who has since gone to new owners, is now healthy.