Dear Editor,

Elena Zsoldos, Manchester Township’s business administrator (Ocean County) was terminated from employment after being accused of buying cocaine, while driving a township vehicle in Asbury Park (Monmouth County).

Overall an allegation of a public employee simply purchasing cocaine in a New Jersey government owned vehicle is a relatively minor and run-of-the-mill violation. Our state’s elected officials and public employees regularly commit much more serious violations of policy that gravely harm our state and are rarely held accountable.

Simply put, Ms. Zsoldos should be presumed innocent until and unless proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the substance was in fact cocaine and she knowingly possessed it. Even if Ms. Zsoldos was found to have knowingly possessed cocaine, she should be allowed to return to employment after being given a substance abuse evaluation and addiction treatment, if found necessary and an unpaid suspension for misuse of the vehicle.

Drug usage and addiction must be treated as a health concern, not a criminal issue. The State of New Jersey and it's political subdivisions should lead employers by example.

Eric Hafner
Toms River