Meet John Shaw, DPW new superintendent
Wiley scandal opened opportunity for long time township worker
by Vanessa Cruz
Reporter Staff Writer
Feb 10, 2013 | 6272 views | 1 1 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NEW DPW SUPERINTENDENT – John Shaw who was appointed the permanent Department of Public Works superintendent as of January 1.
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Scandal shook the Department of Public Works (DPW) when former Superintendent James Wiley pleaded guilty on Sept. 11 to using North Bergen township employees for his household chores, personal projects at his home, and campaign work in other municipalities while the township paid them.

Wiley’s departure left a vacancy in the superintendent’s position. In late September, John Shaw was appointed the interim superintendent of the DPW. As of Jan. 1, he was appointed to the position on a permanent basis.

Shaw has worked for the DPW and the Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) for 34 years.

From interim to permanent superintendent

After the scandal, the department was in need of restructuring. Shaw’s experience with the DPW proved to be an asset.

“He is a strong manager who understands how to maximize his employees’ productivity and has a deep knowledge of the Department of Public Works’ operations and functions,” said township spokesperson Phil Swibinski. “John Shaw took the reins of one of North Bergen’s most important departments during a difficult time in its history and has done an amazing job reorganizing the work force and instilling a culture of responsibility and ethics, while also maintaining township services.”

As interim, Shaw’s role was “to observe the functions of the department, evaluate them and report back to Commissioner [Frank] Gargiulo with recommendations.”

In late October, Hurricane Sandy left a trail of damage throughout the township. Shaw sprang into action a mere month into his position.


“Now overtime is being distributed more fairly and morale has improved considerably.” – DPW Superintendent John Shaw


“John worked around the clock to get crews out and clear over 200 downed trees from North Bergen streets,” said Swibinski.

Shaw’s work led the township to appoint him as the permanent superintendent.

“After displaying all the qualities necessary to excel as superintendent during the fall, John was appointed the permanent DPW superintendent effective Jan. 1,” said Swibinski.

When Shaw became the DPW superintendent, he relinquished his position with the MUA as superintendent of sanitation. He will keep his part-time job with the MUA as recycling coordinator, which he has done for the last 25 years.

“I don’t foresee any problems balancing the positions, as I have a high level of experience at both, and excellent teams to delegate tasks to,” said Shaw.

There was no additional salary when he became interim superintendent of the DPW. His previous $112,000 annual salary as MUA sanitation supervisor and recycling coordinator increased to $125,000 when he became the permanent DPW head.

Restructuring the DPW

Shaw began his new job by implementing several changes.

“After being named interim superintendent, I began to institute a reorganization and reform plan that I think has had excellent results in improving employee morale and accountability and maintaining a high level of service to residents,” said Shaw. “I made a number of changes to the department that I believe have been beneficial, including trimming overtime, changing work schedules and shifting some office personnel to increase efficiency, and putting in a time clock to make sure employee hours are recorded honestly and fairly. Now overtime is being distributed more fairly and morale has improved considerably.”

“John is doing an excellent job and has already had a great impact on restoring employee morale and re-energizing this department,” said Commissioner Gargiulo in a press release.

“John Shaw is doing a fantastic job as our new DPW Superintendent and I have the utmost confidence in him moving forward,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco. “He has improved the culture of the department by making it more professional and creating greater accountability and has maintained the excellent snow removal, street sweeping, and the myriad of other important services the DPW provides at a high level.”

Shaw is looking forward to making the DPW even better.

“Of course, I would have liked to be appointed under different circumstances, but you have to play the hand you are dealt, and I am very happy in my new role,” said Shaw. “I want to thank Mayor Nick Sacco and Commissioner Frank Gargiulo for their confidence in my abilities.”

Troubled past not relevant

Shaw did have his own run-in with the law. He was arrested in 1979, at the age of 27, for bookmaking. He pleaded guilty and served three months on a work-release sentence. According to local officials, since his time served, he has maintained a clean record.

“John Shaw’s past legal problems are not relevant to his current employment and were not being considered in his hiring,” said Swibinski. “He has had an exemplary, spotless record for nearly the past 35 years and is a model employee.”

Shaw has been active within the community, volunteering as a youth recreation coach for nearly 20 years. His wife Ruth is an elected member of the Board of Education.

Vanessa Cruz can be reached at

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February 21, 2013
This article is so comical. John Shaw is a "bad actor" that will soon be revealed! He is a bully, antagonist and creates a hostile work environment. He is in a supervisory position making $125,000 and doesn't even know the law or his employee rights. He is about to cost the Twp. Of North Bergen a lot of ALMIGHTY DOLLARS! Oh and as for him stepping up and helping out NB DPW in the midst of scandal, hahaha, yea maybe that was a perfect opportunity for little John-John to take over MUA?? Ahhh yes, the Shaw family raking in over quarter of a million dollars a year. You sit there and actually take credit for distributing over-time evenly, well if it includes the same 4 or 5 guys that actually get it, then I agree. You came in like a bull in a china shop and instead of making the transition smooth, you came in with a combustion of threats bragging how you've fired over 100 guys in your 34yr career. In my opinion, you have been employed with NB 3 decades too long. I can tell you one thing you are doing right Mr. Shaw, and that's running your mouth and talking about employees and their personal business to other employees. Keep digging up dirt and you will get dirty. What you are doing is a form of harassment. Aren't you aware that most cell phones have voice memo. Mr. Mayor, handle your animal and put him back in his cage before the "simpleminded" DPW Workers become resourceful and retain counsel or go on strike!!