For the second time today, a Union County employee has been charged with theft, announced Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow. Earlier today, prosecutors signed complaints against Brian Hughes of Westfield charging him with one count of 3rd degree theft and one count of 4th degree forgery. Hughes worked as a recreation maintenance worker. He surrendered to authorities with his attorney late this afternoon.

According to the investigation, Hughes, who serves as president of the parks worker union, allegedly stole more than $35,000 by withdrawing funds at ATMs using the Parks Union debit card, said Romankow. Many of the withdrawals took place in Atlantic City, said Romankow. The alleged theft took place over a period of roughly two years.

According to county records, he made $50,844 per year and was hired in August 1999. He has been suspended without pay pending the investigation, according to the county.

Editor's Note: The charges are mere accusations. The defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty.