West Orange CFO Charged with DWI

John Gross was arrested in Maplewood for a DWI on Thursday.


The West Orange and South Orange chief financial officer was arrested and allegedly charged with driving while intoxicated in Maplewood last week, according to the Maplewood Police Department.  

John Gross was reportedly found in his Ford Mustang at 12:30 a.m. Thursday morning on a grassy median at the intersection Springfield Avenue and Tuscan Road in Maplewood.

Gross told Maplewood police that he “swerved to avoid a dog," according to Sgt. Christopher Black of the MPD. 

Gross failed a field sobriety test. He also gave a breathalyzer reading higher than the legal limit, according to reports. 

He was briefly placed under arrest and charged with a DWI.

Gross began as West Orange’s CFO in Oct. 2011. His salary is $130,000 a year. Prior that that, Gross was Village Administrator in South Orange. 

He continues to serve as the part-time CFO for the Township of South Orange Village since Oct. 2011, with a salary of $4,500 a month. 

Attempts to reach Gross by phone and email were not returned. 

Gross is believed to have returned to work on Monday. 

West Orange Public Information Officer Jessica Glicker said Mayor Robert Parisi has no comment at this time.

Ryan August 06, 2012 at 07:44 PM
"Allegedly charged"? Is it really in question that he was charged?
Mark Meyerowitz August 06, 2012 at 09:39 PM
If he is working for West Orange full time, why does he still work for another time part time? Is he really putting in the time that we are paying him for?
john anderson August 06, 2012 at 10:14 PM
130k i heard 150?
john anderson August 06, 2012 at 10:21 PM
What an embarassment Council will just let this go? I am surprised this was not stopped before. I paid my taxes and got a wiff of him from his office at 2pm. This is a guy that we are suppose to trust with our budget/taxes etc????? Are you kidding me? Needs help serious help! I hope council does not sit back on this and shuffle this under the carpet. For the record he is on the blotter not Allegedly he is CHARGED and SHOULD have been stopped years ago, you want this moron driving down your block at 2pm when your kids are playing?? He truly is a sad person that needs immediate help!
john anderson August 06, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Such a scam hiring this fool and now his baggage really both towns should be ashamed to let him continue touching money!!! I can't say fire they guy but at least send him away for help. Best yet hire a CFO at half the cost that is not a driving hazard ........People.......... "LOOK AT THE GUY"
john anderson August 06, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Yes finally someone is starting to see into the black hole of favors
john anderson August 06, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Yes he is and was charged
Leigh-Ann Zaolino August 07, 2012 at 12:00 AM
"Gross failed a field sobriety test. He also gave a breathalyzer reading higher than the legal limit, according to reports". And we still say, "Allegedly" - LMAO. $130K a year and this is what we get for our tax dollars... sad...
C.M. August 07, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Why does it seem as though the comment section for every other Patch story I read contains grammar or news style corrections? Either the man was arrested or he wasn't. The crime itself is alleged until the case is resolved.
Gary Englert August 07, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Though I've met Mr. Gross, I can't say that I really know anything about him or his professional competency, let alone his sobriety. That said, given that the people who have worn more than one hat simultaneously successfully (in the private sector) are legion, why the predisposition to believe there's automatically something amiss when it's done in government? People continue to toss around the term "shared services" as a method of saving money and having a competent individual serve two municipalities (at less cost than hiring two people) is, at least in theory, not something that should easily be rjected out of hand. That said, if any "favors" were involved in Mr. Gross' hiring, those making the allegation really need to conect the dots for the rest of us. Very specific credentials are required for someone serving as a municpal CFO in NJ and my recollection is that qualified applicants were in such short supply that Mr. Coleman delayed his retirement for some months before Gross was hired. If he had some godfather who championed his hiring, I'd be very curious as to whom that would be as, personally, I'd never heard of or met the man before...despite his working in Sout Orange for years.
wohopeful August 07, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Will Mayor Parisi do the right thing and ask for his resignation? Or will he continue to support yet another double dipper in his administration? Seems the folks in SO are not happy with the arrangement nor the performance.
Sarah August 07, 2012 at 02:14 PM
And he also now failed to provide financial updates for South Orange...he's doing a stellar job. Poor guys working so hard he needs a raise! http://westorange.patch.com/articles/trustees-charge-cfo-fails-to-provide-financial-updates
Alan Sanders August 07, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Why can S.O. survive paying him $4500/mo. and we pay $130,000/yr. What's the difference in his job in the two towns and if this is a shared service, what would dedicated service cost? Are we really saving?
Lori August 07, 2012 at 03:16 PM
It is really, really sad if this man was allowed to return to work. He obviously needs help. Where are the standards?? It seems quite wrong that he didn't at least get a temporary suspension. He committed a crime, one that is known to actually KILL innocent people. REALLY????? How long does it take before you stop ignoring the elephant in the room? We are talking about the safety of our community. This is SERIOUS!!
Gary Englert August 07, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Mr. Gross has (apparently) been arrested and charged with a DUI. Whether or not he is guilty or innocent of that offense has yet to be determined in a court of law and he is entitled (as are we all) to due process. He is innocent until proven guilty. That said, however abhorent driving under the influence may be, it is neither a crime of "moral turpitude" nor "violation of the public trust" that would require any immediate action by either the Township administration or Council.
Paul Corrigan from West Orange August 07, 2012 at 04:26 PM
I would wait for the court. If he is convicted of a felony then he should be gone.
Susie Bateman August 07, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Just from this individuals's pictures he certainly appears disheveled and has quite the bulbus nose (a sure sign of one who enjoys a cocktail or two). What is his background?
Gary Englert August 07, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Alan Sanders: South Orange has approximately one-third our population and one-sixth of our land mass; a significantly smaller operation for sure. As I understand it, a municipal CFO in NJ must have certain specific financial certifications (Certified Public Manager, Certified Financial Manager) that are separate and apart from what might be necessary in the private sector (CPA, etc.). Of consequence there's more jobs than takers and the hunt for a new guy (when long-time CFO Ed Coleman retired a year r so ago) was extended a couple of times. South Orange was looking to reduce its costs, while still having need for a certified CFO to review and sign off on primary financial work done by lesser functionaries, so this arrangement apparently fit their purposes. As I said above: People continue to toss around the term "shared services" as a method of saving money and having a competent individual serve two municipalities (at less cost than hiring two people) is, at least in theory, not something that should easily be rejected out of hand.
Michelle Cadeau August 07, 2012 at 11:24 PM
He works full time in WO and only 10 hrs a week in SO.
JF August 08, 2012 at 02:49 AM
He should be sentenced to performing his job without pay. The tax payers cant afford these kind of salaries in the first place. One year of community service and a rehab stay.
Leigh-Ann Zaolino August 09, 2012 at 05:37 AM
His conduct is unbecoming that of a public employee and he should be fired. He is held to a higher standard as the Chief Financial Officer and should not be representing our community in any paid official capacity.
Leigh-Ann Zaolino August 09, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Because we love big salaries in this town Alan, isn't that obvious? Good example? Council members in neighboring communities earn 5 grand to serve, not here...
Gary Englert August 09, 2012 at 03:01 PM
While I've met Mr. Gross, I can't say I know him well enough to offer an opinion about his professional and certainly can't speak to whether or not he has a problem with alcohol or if this was an isolated incident. Surely, getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle when intoxicated is a patently bad idea but, let's accept the fact that the alcohol doesn't lend itself to clear thinking to begin with. That said, the following is a summary of potential sanctions one might face upon being found guilty of DUI (first offense) in NJ: •Jail – Up to 30 Days •Fine – From $250-$400 • Fine – From $300-$500 (Blood Alcohol Level .10 or Above) •License Suspension – 3 Months •License Suspension – 7 Months to 1 Year (Blood Alcohol Level .10 or Above) •Ignition Interlock Possible •Other DWI Fees - $525 Minimum •Automobile Insurance Surcharge - $1,000 for 3 Years •Attend Intoxicated Driver Resource Center – 2 Days at 6 Hours per Day
Alan Sanders August 09, 2012 at 06:36 PM
This can cost him a bundle, especially if he does 30 days and gets docked his pay. Maybe he needs a raise to defray the expenses. Sorry, I couldn't resist!
Gary Englert August 10, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Alan Sanders: Yes, the cost of a DUI (even with the lowest possible fine) is considerable, given the the 90 day suspension, three-year license surcharge ($1,000 per) and undoubtedly an increase in one's own car insurance premium. Still, I'm inclined to think the personal embrassment and damage to one's reputation is far more costly. That said, I rather doubt a raise is in the offing and, rather than there be any perceived favoritism or conflict, the entire matter has been referred to a Superior Court judge for handling, where virutally all DUI cases are heard in the municipal court of the jurisdiction the arrest took place.
Hana Fogel October 23, 2013 at 04:14 AM
allegedly charged with driving while intoxicated???? Why allegedly charged? The writer does not believe that he was actually charged?


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