Category Archives: administrative leave

Heard It In The Hallways….Middletown’s Director of Parks & Rec, Gregg Silva "Forced" Into Retirement, Big Changes coming to Department

As of this moment this is all rumor, but about two hours ago I received a tip concerning the Middletown’s Director of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs, Gregg Silva. I haven’t been able to get official confirmation from anyone but from a few that I have spoken to, it seems legit.
Silva as you all may remember, was placed on administrative leave last month by his bosses at Town Hall for stepping over the line by approving a private memorial for Daniel Piano on the grounds of Croydon Hall without the prior approval from the Township.
I’ve been told that as of January 1st, Gregg Silva has officially retired. Furthermore, I have been told that township officials have been in meetings most of the day reorganizing the now employeeless Department of Parks and Recreation.
The person who passed along this information has stated that Silva’s old duties for Parks and Rec. will be split up, the maintenance side will fall as a subdivision under DPW, while the Croydon Hall Senior Center, the Tonya Keller Bayshore Rec Center and Middletown Cultural Arts Center will be combined and administrated by Janet Adams who currently is in charge of the Tonya Keller Bayshore Center.
Individual Township sponsored recreational events will be planned on an event by event basis. Steve Eisenstein, who was brought in this year to run the Daddy/Daughter Dance and the holiday train ride, worked in the parks department a few years ago and will continue to help plan and coordinate events.
All of this should be in place and in effect by the end of the month I’m told.
I am currently waiting for a return phone call from Middletown Township Administrator Tony Mercantante for confirmation. When I called his office a couple of hours ago, I was told that he was in a meeting and could talk. The secretary that answered my call said that she would have him call me back.
Update – Steve Eisenstein’s name was misspelled as Einstein and Adams is the maiden name of Janet Della, Director of the Tonya Keller Rec. Center

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Filed under administrative leave, Croydon Hall, Gregg Silva, Middletown Cultural Arts Center, Middletown NJ, Middletown Parks and Recreation, Tony Mercantante, Tonya Keller Center

Brightbill Denies Interest in Silva’s Job; We’ll See

Back on Monday, December 19 th, I was the first to break the story about Middletown Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, Gregg Silva being placed on indefinite administrative leave. In that post, I commented that a rumor was also circulating that departing Township Committeewoman Pamela Brightbill was next in line to replace Silva as Director.

At that evenings Township Committee meeting, Brightbill was praised and lauded by her fellow committee members and members of the public, for her years of service to the Township.
At no time during the course of the evening did Gregg Silva’s name come up or did anyone suggest that Pam Brightbill would make a good replacement for him (although other suggestions were made about what boards or committees she would excel at if placed on).
It wasn’t until after the meeting that Township officials were approached by members of the media about Silva’s departure and the rumor about Brightbill taking over for him.
To be expected, no one would publicly comment on Silva’s situation and only state that the matter was being handle internally.
Kudos however goes to Sue Morgan of Middletown-Patch for going the extra mile by asking Pam Brightbill in a telephone conversation the following day, if she was interested in taking over for Silva to run the Department of Parks & Recreation.
According to the article that was posted, Brightbill denied having any interest in taking over for Gregg Silva and saying that she prefers to continue volunteering on one or more advisory boards.

The brief article then goes on to state inadvertently, the very reason why so many feel that Brightbill is next in line to succeed Silva by stating, “The deputy mayor’s extensive resume of community involvement includes times on the advisory board to the parks and recreation department and other volunteer activities relative to township government and the local school district.”

I for one said at the time I heard the rumor, that I thought it was unlikely for Pam Brightbill to take over for Gregg Silva and I am glad that she has now gone on the record denying having any interest, but to be frank, I wouldn’t have expected her to confirm having interest either.
We’ll just have to sit back and see what happens over the next few weeks concerning the ongoing investigation of Gregg Silva and whether or not he is terminated as a Township employees, before we can place any credence on Pam’s denials.

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Filed under administrative leave, Gregg Silva, Middletown Parks and Recreation, Middletown Patch, Middletown Township Committee, Pamela Brightbill

APP: Middletown places Parks and Recreation director on administrative leave

Only a few hours after last night’s Middletown Township Committee meeting was over, Kevin Penton of the Asbury Park Press posted online his story about Middletown’s Park and Recreation Director Gregg Silva being placed on administrative leave.

In my earlier blog post on the subject, Penton was one of the journalist that I eluded in the post, that had tried to contact Township Administrator Tony Mercantante for a comment about Silva last week.
After last night’s Township Committee meeting, I noticed that Kevin Penton had approached Mr. Mercantante and was speaking to him for a prolonged time. When Penton exited Town Hall, I nodded to him and asked if he had heard anything new concerning Gregg Silva. He started to say that he had sent Mercantante an email last Thursday but he hadn’t checked to see if he received a response or not. He was about to say more but a gentleman interrupted him and started asking him about Middletown’s Shadow Lake, so we never finished our conversation.
It is apparent however from the article, Penton spoke to both Mercantante and soon to be ex-mayor Tony Fiore (who refused to comment), about Gregg Silva. Unfortunately, as expected, Mercantante didn’t say much to Penton other than confirm that Silva was placed on administrative leave:

Gregg Silva is still a township employee and is receiving pay while an investigation proceeds, said Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante, who declined to specify the details of the inquiry.

“At this point, he is not in his office,” said Mercantante, referring to Silva. “We’ve agreed for him not to come in until we look at a few issues.”

Mercantante declined to specify when Silva was placed on administrative leave, saying it occurred within the last 30 days. A date for the leave to expire has not been set, he added.

You can read what Kevin Penton wrote …Here, but remember where you read the details about Silva’s administrative leave first.

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Filed under administrative leave, Asbury Park Press, Gregg Silva, kevin penton, Middletown Parks and Recreation, Tony Fiore, Tony Mercantante

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.

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Filed under administrative leave, Chapel Hill Rd, Croydon Hall, Daniel Piano, Gregg Silva, Leonardo NJ, Memorial, Middletown Parks and Recreation, Pamela Brightbill, Two River Times