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DPW Worker Fired After 'Appalling,' Homophobic Facebook Posts

Sam Falcetano Jr. made a series of posts to an open Facebook group, criticizing gay marriage, liberals and abortion.


A township employee was fired this week after writing a series of profanity-laced Facebook posts containing homophobic slurs and critical comments about gay marriage, liberals and abortion, township officials said.

Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca publicly called the comments "appalling."

Sam Falcetano Jr., who was posting on the open Facebook group, “Memories of living in South Orange, NJ or Maplewood, NJ” and identified himself as an employee of the Department of Public Works, complained that DPW workers spent hours cleaning up the “tons of garbage” left behind after the township’s two-day Maplewoodstock concert. Falcetano blamed the mess on “liberals who have voted for Obama and ruined the Maplewood I grew up in.”

From there, Falcetano segued into statements criticizing teachers who “force feed their pupils a liberal agenda,” abortion and gay marriage, which he said “breaks down the moral fabric of society.”

“…don't try and force your perverted man on man into our traditional marriage,” one post read.

The postings contained other graphic comments that Patch chose not to publish.

The thread was removed sometime late Monday night, after it came to the attention of township officials. Falcetano is no longer employed by the township, Township Administrator Joseph Manning said.

“Without question, the township finds this individual's comments to be appalling and not in anyway representative of the beliefs, policies or practices of the Township of Maplewood,” DeLuca said, reading from a prepared statement at the start of Tuesday’s Township Committee meeting. He continued, "The township will continue to embrace and promote an inclusive and welcoming community.” 
David Goldman July 19, 2013 at 01:20 PM
RJS: As a matter of fact, baseball announcers, newscasters, politicians have been fired from their jobs and ostracized for making inappropriate remarks in the scope of their jobs and/or outside of their jobs. Even tweets have gotten people canned. Don't be so naive. And although no one may have witnessed other comments or behaviors by the DPW worker while on the job, the comments on FB are likely part of his daily verbal comments/thoughts, wouldn't you think? Save the condescending patronizing attitude for someone else-I don't appreciate it! IF this makes it to court to test the "adverse consequences by the State" for his firing and the worker prevails, then you will be right and the knee-jerk firing reversed. But facts are, he was canned, and after the incident at St James Gate, the town is still a bit raw in the wound on the gay slurs issue. As would I want a pedophile, neo-nazi, drug dealer who is expressing themselves freely at FB to be taken seriously for their comments and kept away from all of our families, exposing a worked w/this mental state works for me. Consider it a negative about comments posted on FB-they can haunt you, as proven in this case. Oh and...save the condescending patronizing attitude for someone else-I don't appreciate it!
Rocket J. Squirrel July 19, 2013 at 01:24 PM
Condescending? I thought I was conversing with someone who understood the implications of the First Amendment as it relates to adverse state action, as here, as opposed to adverse private action, as in your examples. I humbly apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused.
Rocky July 19, 2013 at 01:46 PM
I would guess that the township employee guide lines in their handbook were violated in this case. Yes you have freedom of speech within reason.Calling your supervisor a (spineless pri*%$#) was not a good idea.A would expect some type of (code of ethics) for township employees, they are a direct representative of the township.I grew up in Maplewood and had the greatest childhood anyone could have and I personally found this appalling. I followed the thread on facebook and really couldn't believe what I was reading....I wonder if he lost his pension as well????
David Goldman July 19, 2013 at 03:31 PM
That's likely tied into how long the worker was vested based on the amount of years worked and the small print in the hiring by-laws of the town regarding stripping pension benefits. It would be a shame if the worker didn't get what was deserved, which I do not think the town would withhold if due. IMO, the take-away lesson here, is to beware what you express publicly on FB, regardless of the freedom of speech we are all (supposedly) guaranteed here in the US. Nothing is always black/white with the law, it's more gray, until tested in the highest levels of the courts...or should I say, open to interpretation.
Rocket J. Squirrel July 19, 2013 at 04:16 PM
One is left to wonder however if this Township is attempting to chill free speech of its opponents. I have little doubt that if Millburn fired someone over hateful comments toward the catholic teachings against abortion, as an example, the uproar would be deafening.
Kris Feldman July 19, 2013 at 04:24 PM
There is free speech, and then there is freely disparaging the very people that are served by the company he was representing when he made his comments on the most public forum in the world, identifying himself as an employee of DPW. Most large companies, such as DPW, have guidelines that are specifically set down in an Employee Handbook, that an employee must follow in order to retain their job. Regardless of you you feel concerning abortion, gay marriage, people of different colors/races/religions, Sam Falcetano had a job in which he was required to serve these very people. I saw quite enough of his postings on this most public forum , as well as some uncomfortable and distasteful personal communications which I will choose to NOT share here, to know that he had no problem speaking against his employers, including his boss personally; the good people of Maplewood; blacks, Hispanics, Jews, women, Liberals....the list goes on. One cannot expect to express these views publicly as a representative of ANY large company and expect continued employment, particularly when in a capacity of public servant.
David Goldman July 19, 2013 at 04:38 PM
I think Elizabeth and Kris have it right-plus as the town issue said there were other more disturbing parts of the communique that were withheld and not shared...so, as much as we all appreciate the black/white of the interpretation of freedom of speech, taken at common sense, heart/soul/street interpretation level, it was way out of bounds of acceptable on any level. I'm signing off on this-nothing more to add-but recommend you speak to the people in charge to learn more about their rationale for the dismissal.
Sally Allen Chew July 19, 2013 at 05:17 PM
If you had seen the Facebook tirade (I did!) then I'm pretty sure that you would agree with the township decision. It started off as a rant about how he was a township employee and was pressed into service cleaning up the park after Maplewoodstock and how awful that was (and not supposed to be his job) and then sequed into how it was all the fault of the liberals and support of gay marriage and Obama and more in that vein. But the point is that he was complaining about what he was being asked to do as an employee and insulting his boss online (accompanied with a very unprofessional, insulting (and childish) political tirade.) And it was led off with a statement that he was posting as a township employee. THAT is the problem. If a citizen who happened to be a township employee just posted the political opinions, however abhorrent to many others of us, then that would have been "protected speech". But it was all part of a rant about how awful it is that he had to clean up after a town event.
Kris Feldman July 19, 2013 at 05:53 PM
My educated guess is that he was offered a severance package, conditionally based on his silence and his exit from the company. I don't think there will be a lawsuit. That would be very unlike a large company to fire someone in a fit of pique. Nope, they would do it by the book, with lawyers present, and be as fair as they could about it.
Rocket J. Squirrel July 19, 2013 at 07:19 PM
I freely admit that I was not privy t the full breadth of the purported comments. I am reacting to this story, as written, and as headlined, which certainly appears to focus on the purported "homophobic" aspects.
Kim July 20, 2013 at 09:02 AM
May I ask why you people care so much to be "right"? It's called an opinion--everyone has one, and not everyone agrees. Facts of life.
Toni July 20, 2013 at 10:32 AM
Is that legal?
Lee Navlen July 20, 2013 at 11:30 AM
Why did the Mayor feel the need to comment on the firing during a TC meeting? Seems unusual and perhaps poorly thought out.
CJV July 21, 2013 at 09:52 AM
Lee, probably for the same reason officers were taken off anti-violent crime patrol for an undercover sting against the Pub.
Lee Navlen July 21, 2013 at 11:48 AM
Don't be surprised if this story goes national. Mayor De Luca may be getting his 15 minutes.
Rocket J. Squirrel July 22, 2013 at 07:11 AM
I certainly hope it goes national as this is a very disturbing story, particularly coming from a town which had a township endorsed rally in support of gay marriage on the steps of town hall, attended by the mayor after the recent USSC decision. So, showing support for an issue of public concern provided it is in line with township views is evidently fine, however, showing opposition to an issue of public concern is somehow not ok? This is very disturbing territory.
Lee Navlen July 22, 2013 at 02:03 PM
Rocket, I think this issue is over the head of the local government who certainly (and for good reason) embrace diversity to the point of celebration. However, when the Mayor publicly announces that a township/union employee is gone because quote: “Without question, the township finds this individual's comments to be appalling and not in anyway representative of the beliefs, policies or practices of the Township of Maplewood,” he has stepped on a landmine that encompasses among other issues, free speech. I'm not quite certain the Mayor understood this when he pulled out his pom poms during the TC meeting and made a point to further bring attention to the situation. Maplewood may be facing a very long, drawn out lawsuit which was completely unnecessary if he had just been fired quietly. And yes, I believe the employee should be fired but the Mayor should have said nothing publicly about it.
John LeVicchi July 24, 2013 at 09:02 PM
There was a study done in 2011....it was aired on either CBS or NBC....interviewing hundreds of gay bashers both physically and verbally...62% admitted to having homosexual thoughts and desires but were afraid to act on them so they take out their frustration on gay people. Food for thought.
Kris Feldman July 27, 2013 at 06:46 PM
@Leo Davenport, thank you for your thoughtfulness in sharing this information. I wholeheartedly agree that Sam needs help, and the sooner the better. I am glad that men seem to find Sam a great guy. When I need to talk to someone, I call a friend or sibling and talk it out. Why would anyone assume that something was wrong, other than the obvious fact that you just stated, that he has a very big mouth? To me, that is not an attractive characteristic that would cause me to be especially compassionate, especially when that is his regular behavior. i am not saying this from hearsay, i am saying it from personal experience. So again, I hope he does get help, and I hope that he finds a way to redeem himself to the good people that he decided to disparage. Even if he gets his job back, I can't see the town feeling very warm towards him when they see him in their neighborhoods. His remarks and behavior were way more than inappropriate.
Seth Manjos July 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM
If Sam doesn't like cleaning up after town events, which is (was) his job- that's fine, I'm sure many people don't like certain aspects of their job- BUT he posted it in an online public forum where he then goes on to disparage the majority population of the town he works (worked) in. Not too smart, wouldn't you say? AND Blaming gays, and Liberals for his problems? sorry- he obviously drank too much of the conservative kool aid, and it made him an angry bigot. IF he worked in the private sector, and made the same comments about his job and clients/customers– he would be fired there as well. Just plain ignorance. Hope he learned his lesson, but knowing conservatives, they love to hold on to the hate, so probably not.
bluediddy761 July 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM
God forbid someone express their opinion, and double that if it goes against all that the left holds holy.
bluediddy761 July 30, 2013 at 11:36 AM
I want that guy to give me a loan after he sues Maplewood ...You're gonna get PAID fella! $$$$$$
Julie M July 30, 2013 at 11:41 AM
Conservatives love to hold on to the hate? Remind me who continues to bash Bush and blame him for everything wrong w/ our country? Hmmmmmmmm
Wendy July 30, 2013 at 12:55 PM
"Sam offended his boss then as a man his boss should of said tone it down or I am going to knock you out! Firing a 52 year old man in this economy because you do not like what he has to say, is very weak!" That's a joke, right? In what universe does that happen? It's called "insubordination." Look it up.
Rocket J. Squirrel July 30, 2013 at 07:39 PM
The Mayor's statement spoke to the appalling nature of the comments s they relate to the diversity of the town. What does insubordination have to do with diversity? It appears to me from what I have red bout that statement that the nature of the comments as to gay marriage were what sparked the ire of the administration.
Lee Navlen July 31, 2013 at 07:21 AM
Even if he was fired for insubordination, which I think he was, the Mayor's comments which to me represented grandstanding has turned it into something entirely different. It's now clear him feelings on gays and liberals led to his demise. Shame on Sam and shame on the Mayor. Both should have just stayed quiet.
CJV July 31, 2013 at 08:55 AM
Vic can't "stay quiet," Lee- you know that. Vic is the Mayor of New York City, albeit not yet recognized as such by the wider public. The bunting on his grandstand is dutifully tended daily by more obsequious DPW workers.
Martin Rommer August 01, 2013 at 10:07 AM
Has anyone every really noticed how all of these "TOLERANT AND UNDERSTANDING OF OTHER VIEWS" Liberals are far from it and always act to silence those they object to? I lived in Maplewood for 26 years, and moved out probably within two years of the NEWS-RECORD publishing that "Maplewood is changing" after Robert Grasmere was ousted as mayor in an election. When ever I venture into town and as someone who lived and loved Maplewood, I too see that Maplewood has indeed changed, but did not change for the better. I can see the differences. I'm glad that people are firing others for their views. This is great! Now as an employer I shall ask what a perspective interviewee's political views are and base my hiring on that criteria. Remember Union HS Teacher Viki Knox? She was fired because of her personal rants against homosexuals on her own Facebook page? Yet I believe she did that because she felt sexually harassed by the school bulletin board on some ficticious "Gay History Month" and reacted the only way she could. Why is the right of the gay superior to the right of the Christian, Black, Woman, Sexually Harassed School Teaher??? Remember. NJ Law says that a victim only needs to percieve the harassment and it is the most serious of all crimes in NJ. This my friends is Liberalism run amok.
John Marelli August 09, 2013 at 03:06 PM
6. Every person may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right. No law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press. In all prosecutions or indictments for libel, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury; and if it shall appear to the jury that the matter charged as libelous is true, and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted; and the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the fact. This is an excerpt from NJ Constitution Article l sec. 6. He has not violated any laws. No one was injured and there is no redress. Those three elements are the component parts of a "Cause of Action". If he lost his job because he's a conservative, a Christian, or he lost his job because he is heterosexual we are all in big trouble. I hope he sues and wins a judgement against the town of Maplewood for 10X his lost earning to his natural retirement age of 65.
Cranberry Township-gay December 01, 2013 at 05:42 AM
UNDERSTANDING HOMOPHOBIA dear sir or vagina: here are some slogans seen online regarding the underlying cause of gay-bashing: 1) "homophobic? maybe you're gay" 2) "homophobic? maybe you're insecure with your own homosexuality" ------------------------------------------------------------------------ here are some slogans i came up which also hint at the underlying reasons gays are ridiculed: 1) "man-worshipper? maybe opposites attract" 2) "man-worshipper? maybe you're insecure within yourself as a legitimate man" 3) "man-worshipper? maybe you feel as 'not worthy'in the presence of men as wayne & garth felt in the presence of madonna" 4) "masculinity-worshipper? maybe you feel an absence of masculine fulfillment or achievement in your life" 5) "masculinity-worshipper? maybe your sense of masculine gender-identity is 'all shot to shit' and you seek refuge" 6) "masculinity-worshipper? maybe you feel slighted in the presence of that perfect specimen of manhood" ------------------------------------------------------------------------ i seriously doubt that the pro-gay bigots believe that anyone is "born with" their negative opinions of homosexuality, i know for a fact that they believe people can change their minds regarding negative opinions of homosexuality, yet they all seem to believe that gay "men" (and i use that term loosely when referring to gays) were "born with" ultra-positive opinions of masculinity which are unchangeable and unable to be manipulated. the pro-gay bigots will always tolerate a change of mind when it's a matter of opinion, but they want to outlaw the change of heart when it's a matter of a fundamental change of mind that's granted by, say, an ex-gay therapist. plainly speaking, homosexuality is belittled, mocked and ridiculed because it is a self-disrespecting gender-identity issue as much as chastity bono is. people who want to discover and disrobe men have not fully discovered masculinity within themselves, they cannot look at men and then simply look away in acceptance - they have to stare and scrutinize because they're cross-eyed curious of the gender which has not been internalized or otherwise identified and justified within themselves. i cannot simply look away in acceptance of football-heros like matthew muchnok, josh lane, tim tebow or jeb blazevich - i have to gawk because i will always consider myself a lesser man in the presence of these supermen. it is shameful that i regard these men as perfect, it is a self-esteem issue that i regard myself as a boy when in the presence of these men, and this is the reason why gay "men" are ridiculed...they bring it upon themselves by being the masculine insufficiencies that their very praise of masculinity makes themselves out to be. "homophobic? maybe you're gay" "not gay-affirming? maybe you're head's on straight" mr. dylan terreri, i dr. sheldon cooper, ii www.godhatespride.com www.homosexualityiswrong.com www.masculivoids.com -------------------------- "When I'm hungry, I eat. When I'm thirsty, I drink. When I feel like saying something, I say it." - Madonna www.jaggedlittledyl.com/essays --------------------------

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