Ocean County investigates: NJ DPW worker mocked Jews in ‘sketch’
An Ocean County Department of Public Works employee who is also a former Lavallette fire chief and police officer put on a one-man comedy sketch that was critical of Jewish people and Lakewood.
The county is now investigating the incident, which took place in 2018 but came to light recently because the witness is no longer working for the county and no longer fears repercussions, according to The Lakewood Scoop, which was first to report on the allegations.
The former county employee told The Lakewood Scoop that he watched Arthur Reece put a yamulka on his head and put up a poster for the Jewish charitable group Adopt-a-Kollel on the wall of the county garage in Plumsted. He then delivered what were supposed to be jokes about the Sabbath, in which observant Jews stay home and refrain from using mechanical devices.
Reece also said that the county freeholders (who are now called commissioners) are "too afraid" to upset Jews.
"Ocean County is taking this matter seriously and is currently investigating the allegations included in The Lakewood Scoop article," county spokeswoman Donna Flynn told New Jersey 101.5. "Because this is a personnel matter, we cannot comment further at this time."
She would not disclose if Reece has been disciplined or suspended.
Former Lavallette police officer and fire chief
According to his Linkedin page, Reece is the assistant director of roads and bridges for Ocean County. He also became Lavallette's fire chief in January 2012 and led the department's recovery from Superstorm Sandy when most of the department's equipment was damaged by the storm, according to the department's Facebook page.
Reece was elected vice president of the Ocean County Fireman's Association in 2014.
His Linkedin page also said he was a member of the Lavallette police department.
Reece and the borough were sued in 2018 by Karen Quigley, of Westchester County, New York after she was hit by Reece's police vehicle, which was going more than 80 mph pursuing a speeder. The crash left her disabled and caused her "great pain and suffering," her legal complaint said.
According to payroll records, Reece has been employed by the county since August 1995. He had also worked for the Borough of Lavallette since March 2000.