Sparta Mayor Confident in New Town Manager, Despite Ticket-Fixing Allegations

William Close, who was not implicated, had knowledge of prosecutor's office probe into alleged scheme involving Dover employees.

Sparta's mayor said the newly appointed town manager has a "great deal of integrity" and stood by the decision to hire the Dover administrator who had knowledge of an alleged ticket-fixing scheme that spanned three years in the Morris County municipality.

William Close, who will begin as Sparta's town manager on March 17, learned in November of a Morris County Prosecutor's Office investigation into alleged ticket-fixing by Dover employees, according to the New Jersey Herald.

There was no indication Close was connected to the alleged fixing and the investigation could not prove there was any criminal wrongdoing by any of the municipal employees, according to the article. Prosecutors provided Close a written summary of their findings and left it up to him to take appropriate action, the article said.

Sparta Mayor Molly Whilesmith said the issue never came up during the interview process and she has the "utmost confidence in Mr. Close," according to the article.

Close, of Franklin, was unanimously appointed last month as Sparta's new town manager. He will earn $155,000, and after a three-month trial, Close's salary will increase to $160,000.

Close, who served in Dover for five years and resigned with a salary of $148,569, replaces Sparta interim manager Steven Levinson.

Levinson took over after David Troast resigned in August amid accusations he made a comment referring to a firearm to a councilwoman at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Clifford Cernek February 10, 2014 at 05:19 PM
"Sparta Mayor Molly Whilesmith said the issue never came up during the interview process" How does an issue such as this not come up?


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