Former Mayor Barberio covered up investigation of Chief Philipps

PARSIPPANY — In 2017, Former Parsippany-Troy Hills Mayor James Barberio was ordered by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO) to conduct an investigation of then Police Chief Paul Philipps for sleeping on duty while in uniform and never complied with the MCPO’s directive.

Parsippany Patch, Tap Into Parsippany and Parsippany Focus were all included in the correspondence between the complainant, Mr. Harrison and several officials from the Township and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.

Back in the summer of 2017 when Barberio was Mayor and Philipps was Police Chief of the Parsippany Police Department, an complaint was made to the MCPO about a video on YouTube showing Police Chief Philipps sleeping on duty and in uniform during some type of meeting. Click here for You Tube video.

According to a letter dated July 3, 2018 from Mayor Soriano’s Chief of Staff, Matthew Clarkin, to Mr. Harrison (Click here for letter) it says that the letter is in response to your emails attempting to find what the status of investigation PSU-17-0069 was. Mr. Clarkin goes on to say that the MCPO determined that there was insufficient evidence to warrant a criminal prosecution and that the investigation was returned to the Township for an administrative investigation. The letter then reads that the administrative investigation PSU-17-0069 was the responsibility of then Mayor James Barberio, who served as the appropriate authority under N.J.S.A. 40A-14-118 and in accordance with the Code of the Township. Mr. Clarkin then informs Mr. Harrison that a search of Township records was unable to locate any disposition of PSU-17- 0069. The letter then closes by saying that because of the passage of time and that Chief Philipps is no longer employed by the Township, the investigation PSU-17-0069 by the Township must now be deemed closed.

The emails that Parsippany Patch, Tap Into Parsippany and Parsippany Focus received, Mr. Harrison is questioning the content of Chief of Staff Clarkin’s letter by saying that his complaint number is PSU-17-0167 not PSU-17-0069.

The next issue that Mr. Harrison questions is a portion of the letter that says “Accordingly, given the passage of time (PSU-17-0069) was returned to former Mayor Barberio for his action on or about July 14, 2017”.

Mr. Harrison asks the following question: “If the matter was truly sent to the Township (Mayor Barberio) in mid-2017 as Lt. Kimker (MCPO) has told me, how could the matter be returned to Mayor Barberio when this letter clearly says it was sent to him to begin with?”

The next issue Mr. Harrison questions is about the investigation being closed because Chief Philipps is now retired. Mr. Harrison says he made the complaint over the summer of 2017 and was told all along that his complaint was being investigated. As a matter of fact, according to the Township Clerk Mr. Khalid Madin’s email of May 8, 2018 says “I inquired with the Mayor’s Office and they indicated that there is still an open investigation on this (PSU-17-0069) matter”.

Mr. Harrison poses the next question to several Township officials who have never responded back to him. “If the investigation is deemed closed because this Chief of Police is no longer employed, then why was I told on May 8, 2018 that there was still an open investigation?

As listed on the web Chief Philipps retired on March 1, 2018 so why the conflicting message about it being closed because he left versus my complaint still being investigated as of May 8, 2018?” Mr. Harrison explains that he believes a cover-up is taking place and questions the current administration about how could the MCPO’s order an investigation to be conducted by then Mayor Barberio and Mayor Barberio simply refuse to do it? It is unknown if Chief Philipps retirement had anything to do with this sleeping complaint and the YouTube video, or potentially other outstanding investigations. Also, we were unable to determine if Philipps retired in “Good Standing”.

Philipps was promoted to Parsippany’s Chief of Police by Former Mayor James Barberio in March 2013.

Philipps, in an unrelated matter, testified under oath in 2014 that he has supported Barberio’s campaigns over the years and had recently attended a political function that Barberio hosted. Moreover, Philipps testified that he never took the Police Chief’s Civil Service Exam and admitted in Court, he was a political appointment. (Click here for audio).

Parsippany Focus has emailed the Mayor’s Office and Council members seeking comment as they were all included on the several emails Mr. Harrison wrote. Parsippany Focus also emailed Former Mayor James Barberio for comment.

At the time this article was published no one has responded to various questions that were asked by Parsippany Focus regarding this matter.

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