Landscaping is an important aspect of homeownership for many people across the United States. However, if you don’t have the equipment yourself, standard practice is to rent or buy the necessary supplies, or simply to hire a landscaping company. This apparently did not occur to a high-ranking employee of the parks department in Hudson County, New Jersey, who was forced to retire after it was learned that he had taken county equipment to his house.
Ken Jennings, 53, was hired by the county 25 years ago, eventually becoming the assistant director of the department. Over the course of his career, he reportedly took several tools owned by the county to his home, including at least one landscaping vehicle. When county officials learned that Jennings had violated the department’s protocols, sources say, he was confronted and asked to retire.
In light of the request, Jennings reportedly applied for disability retirements on October 21, before amending his request to apply for early retirement on November 17. His retirement was effective as of December 1. Because Jennings made an annual salary of $87,000, the state treasury reported that his estimated annual pension will be between $32,948 and $37,811.
While several people in the community have expressed confusion at the forced retirement, Jennings is only the latest public servant to abuse his position by misusing resources meant for the community. Because of this, his actions have drawn disapproval from others across the United States.
Jennings allegedly requested that county officials allow him to continue to work with the department until he could retire with his full pension and medical benefits. He was refused. However, the state treasury purchased nine months of service credit when he filed his early retirement application.