EDITORIAL: In the real world, Marturano would have been fired for comments made to WNBC

Last week, some members of the New York City media descended upon Kearny to offer the tri-state area an update on what is happening with the Keegan Landfill.

In the case of WPIX, Channel 11, there was a great story that offered a thorough explanation as to the latest.

The same cannot be said of the report from WNBC, Channel 4, and Gus Rosendale.

It was certainly not Rosendale’s fault as he’d have no reason to believe one of the men he interviewed was telling a bold-faced lie. But, in reality, Rosendale was completely hoodwinked by this man — a man whose exorbitant salary is paid for by taxpayer funds.

His name is Thomas Marturano, the director of solid waste for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority. You’ve probably heard his name before because at one meeting of the NJSEA, a few months ago, he arrogantly dismissed comments that were made by both Mayor Alberto G. Santos of Kearny and Attorney John Pinho of Harrison.

He’s also the guy who, at the April protest at the landfill, was more concerned about the welfare of trucks than he was of the human beings who were assembled at the landfill (he tried, but failed, to get the police to take action on a young boy who built a makeshift wall of rocks.)

When asked by Rosendale what the NJSEA was doing to rectify the bad smells, Marturano, who is in no way a health expert, said he and the authority for which he works believe there is not a health crisis at the Keegan Landfill.

“We don’t view this as a health issue,” Marturano told Rosendale. “We view it as a nuisance-odor issue.”

Think about that statement. Let it sync in for just a moment.

The Director of Solid Waste lied, profusely, to a member of the New York media.

It’s not a health issue, Tom? Have you been asleep for the last nine months? Have you not heard a single word spoken at NJSEA meetings since March? Did you pass out in your SUV on the Keegan property when more than 1,000 people protested this past April?

If this isn’t a health issue, then the sky is brown, Tom. It’s brown because that is the color of a certain something you’re full of.

Your own agency’s readings of hydrogen sulfide alone, in the month of August, are enough to shut you up. Twice in the month of August, the H2S readings reached over 1,000 parts per billion, Tom. Check it out on your own website, since that seems to be the only place your agency will answer any questions to begin with.

And Tom, let’s recall that the safest level of H2S should be no more than 30 ppb (15 in the case of our children who keep getting evacuated from Harvey Field.) So do the simple math, Tom. If the safe level is 30 ppb and twice there were readings over 1,000 ppb, how dare you say this is nothing more than a “nuisance-smell” issue? How dare you, Tom!

We’ve seen some pretty inane statements made by the NJSEA during this obvious health crisis, but this one takes the cake far and wide.

If Marturano were a spokesman for any private agency, he would have been dismissed by his bosses forthwith. But as we’ve all learned, this public agency does and says whatever it wants without any consequence, because its boss, Phil Murphy, is too busy spending time in India instead of paying attention to what’s happening in his own backyard.

So one question remains? What consequences will Marturano face for his lies? We know what would happen in the real world. But the NJSEA has been living in a world of its own. We won’t be holding our breath as we wait to see what happens here.


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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.