Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders. (Courtesy

The following is a statement from Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton on Resolution 497-19 and 498-19 related to two censures of Freeholder E. Marie Hayes: 

We are disappointed by the behavior that was described in the investigation that was conducted by an independent law firm regarding Freeholder Hayes’ actions. 

The decision that was made was the result of a six-month workplace investigation that interviewed 17 people and culminated with a 114-page investigation report. 

 As a result, the decision was made by the Freeholder Board to put forward by Resolution two censures to Freeholder Hayes. No one employee or Freeholder in the County should be put above anyone else. We don’t make this decision lightly but felt we had to do what is in the best interest of the County government. 

The investigation led the Freeholder Board to vote in a closed session for two censures, one based on an allegation of retaliatory conduct and a second based on a violation of the County’s Conflict of Interest Policy. 

I will add that this is a particularly tough decision for myself as I have been a friend of Freeholder Hayes for 30 years. However, we are confident in the integrity of the investigation and welcome any further investigation by the State into the matter. We thoroughly believe further investigation into the matter will only strengthen the decision made by the Freeholder Board.