Fired....Building official is accused of approving work on sites he owns. Chief inspector, William Strohmeyer and another inspector John Tamburrinni also inspected the infamous Crosby's house in Branchberg, which has been the subject of newspapers reports for several years. See Crosby House news accounts in HOBB archives
Building official in Bridgewater under fire By PETER N. SPENCER Staff Writer
Published in the Courier News on November 21, 2004 BRIDGEWATER -- The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs is moving to revoke the license of Bridgewater's chief code enforcement officer for allegedly approving construction projects on three township properties he owns.
Building official in Bridgewater under fire
By PETER N. SPENCER Staff Writer
Published in the Courier News on November 21, 2004
William Strohmeyer has appealed the action, and said the permits, for eight building projects between 1993 and 2003, were approved by a construction code official from another municipality. He declined to say who that construction official was.
"I didn't do what they said I did," Strohmeyer said in response to the charges. "It will ultimately work out and these allegations will turn out to be baseless."
Strohmeyer, 63, has worked as a construction code official here for more than 30 years, serving as superintendent of code enforcement for the last 18 years. He also is a 10-year member of the township planning board.
In a Sept. 23 letter to Strohmeyer, the Department of Community Affairs said he violated a Bureau of Housing regulation which states that it is a conflict of interest for anyone "employed by an enforcing agency as a construction official or subcode official or as an inspector ... to carry out any inspection or enforcement procedure with respect to any property or business in which he or she ... has an economic interest."
The letter from the Department of Community Affairs ordered that his license be revoked and that he discontinue his duties as construction code official. However, according to department regulations, Strohmeyer can continue to operate as the township's chief code enforcement official pending the outcome of an appeal hearing.
Strohmeyer's pending license revocation adds to a list of legal issues stemming from his construction office. More than four years ago, Code Inspections Inc. of Horsham, Pa., filed a lawsuit against Strohmeyer and the township alleging that he improperly steered a bid for Bridgewater's building inspection contract to EIC Inspections Agency Corp. of Jersey City, which they said bid at a higher rate.
"We were unfairly disqualified. EIC got the contract flat-out, because everyone else was eliminated," said Robert Hensler, attorney for Code Inspections.
Code Inspections said it was told its bid was disqualified for failing to submit an organizational matrix, which is a chart showing the company's officers and other staff.
Strohmeyer said Code Inspections -- which held the township's inspection contract from 1995 to 1999 -- was disqualified for "not completing state-mandated requirements" and failing to respond to requests for information.
The lawsuit is pending in state Superior Court in Somerville.
The township is also in the midst of litigation with former zoning secretary Joyce Zamorsky, who alleges that she was harassed and discriminated against by township officials while she worked there from 1994 to 2003. Strohmeyer is among present and former township officials named in the suit.
Township officials said Zamorsky, who answered directly to Strohmeyer, was fired on June 11, 2003, for not properly advertising a Board of Adjustment meeting. She was also suspended three times without pay between Oct. 8, 2001, and Jan. 31, 2002.
In the lawsuit, Zamorsky said Strohmeyer created a "hostile and intimidating" work environment and refused several times to help her answer residents' complaints.
Strohmeyer refuted the claims and said the "matters will be settled in court."
Bridgewaer Mayor Patricia Flannery said the Department of Community Affairs contacted her about a week after they served Strohmeyer with the order of revocation. She said she was also aware of the lawsuits, which originated during former mayor James Dowden's tenure.
"These are issues that I have inherited," Flannery said.
"I am monitoring the situation. Once these matters have been resolved, I will pursue whatever action is in the township's best interest."
The Department of Community Affairs' Bureau of Housing Inspection oversees the state's 4,355 licensed code officials. According to department statistics, the bureau has taken 60 "enforcement actions" so far this year, which includes revoking 10 licenses. Most of the disciplinary actions were the result of investigations, prompted by complaints by building owners or other housing inspectors, officials said.
The allegations against Strohmeyer were first raised by a former housing inspector who said he was fired from his job as an EIC subcontractor for failing to compromise his inspections.
EIC could not be reached for comment. One of the largest agencies in the state, it has contracts with 30 New Jersey municipalities and shares a New York City elevator inspection contract.
Through September of this year, Bridgewater building inspectors issued 2,532 building permits -- most of them for building alterations, additions and demolitions -- totaling $65.3 million. Last year, the township totaled 1,785 building permits for $39.3 million. In contrast, Jersey City issued permits totaling $322.9 million last year, the most by any New Jersey municipality.
Peter N. Spencer can be reached at (908) 707-3176 or
AT A GLANCE Permits which the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs alleges that Strohmeyer illegally approved for his own properties, a contention he denies:
Permit No., Date Issued, Address
93-0129 Jan. 26, 1993 546 N. Bridge St.
93-0518 April 16, 1993 830 Bluestone Lane
95-1356 Aug. 14, 1995 833 Carnoustie Drive
97-0018 Jan. 6, 1997 833 Carnoustie Drive
97-0030 Jan. 7, 1997 546 N. Bridge St.
99-1699 Aug. 20, 1999 830 Bluestone Lane
03-2196 Sept. 29, 2003 546 N. Bridge St.
03-2685 Dec. 1, 2003 546 N. Bridge St. from the Courier News website www.c-n.com