Daily Archives: March 24, 2009

Update: TOMSA Complies With OPRA Request… Sort Of

I have an update to yesterdays post concerning the Township Of Middletown Sewage Authority’s stonewalling of Carolyn Schwebel’s OPRA request.
I received an email from Mrs. Schwebel stating that she received documents, via fax, of some of the documents that she had requested:
“The figures are large. I had asked for the TOMSA Commissioners’ pension, etc., but it’s not clear if they gave me that or the whole amount that includes TOMSA employees as well.

There is an arrogant resolution that at a meeting February 12, 2009, Tom Stokes made a motion that was passed unanimously that “each member of TOMSA” receive salary of $1750 except the chairperson who will get $2150 a year starting February 1, 2009! (Can they back date that way?

Lots of nerve in these times, when people are questioning TOMSA’s salary and the twp. committee has terminated its own.”

Carolyn Schwebel then sent a follow-up email that stated that she contacted TOMSA Director Patrick Parkinson for clarification:
“I have one question, as I’m not clear on terminology. I had asked for the TOMSA Commissioners’ pension ,insurance etc. Are the figures you sent for just the TOMSA commissioners, (Stokes, , Rogers, Raisch, Hinckley, Buow, Smith, Wrede) ) or do they also include payment for regular TOMSA employees as well.?”

Parkinson responded by writing,  “The pension payments are a total for all TOMSA employees.”

Come on Pat, this is totally unacceptable and a bad job on your part. 
You stonewall and provide false information to Mrs. Schwebel, in an attempt to discourage her request for information and them when you do provide the information, it is not the specific information that Mrs. Schwebel requested. 
Mrs. Schwebel sent me a copy of her OPRA request form and the documents that you supplied. She specifically stated that she was interested in just commissioners and alternate commissioners compensation. Not the two documents that you supplied her with that shows the total monthly cost of health benefits and pension for all that work for TOMSA
I am currently looking into the above statement of Mrs. Schwebel’s that mentions the raise in the yearly stipend that the TOMSA commissioner’s voted for themselves. This information was included with her OPRA request. When I track down further information on this, I’ll pass it along.    

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Filed under Carolyn Schwebel, health benefits and pension, Middletown, OPRA requests, Patrick Parkinson, TOMSA

The Obama Generation

Here is an interesting piece from Political Wire that is sure to raise a few eyebrows.

A new Democracy Corps poll shows the Republican Party is “growing more and more irrelevant to America’s young people. In marked contrast, young people’s support for the President has expanded beyond the 66 percent support they gave him last November.”

“Republicans struggle among young people for a very specific reason. At a time when young people are paying close attention to politics and when so many are struggling economically, even more so than older generations, the Republicans simply do not speak to the reality of their lives or to the issues important to them. This perception stands in marked contrast to their reaction to Barack Obama.”

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Filed under Democracy Corps, political wire, President Obama, The Obama Generation

Gerry, The Want To Be Assemblyman, Sure Does Love To Write Letters

Gerry Scharfenberger, the Middletown GOP deputy-mayor, sure does love to write letters to the editor.

The “Want to be Assemblyman” has a penchant, a real knack so to speak, for the written word. 
It is a bit unfortunate though that most of what he writes about are gross exaggerations or half truths.  If you paid much attention to him or his letters, you’d think that all of Middletown’s problems were caused by Democrats in Trenton and the only way to fix Middletown was to get rid of  Governor Jon Corzine and all those terrible, liberal,unfunded mandate happy democrats.
It doesn’t seem to matter to him that most of todays problems started with Christie Whitman when his beloved Republicans controlled Trenton and it also doesn’t matter that none of his letters offer solutions or tell us how he would fix a problem, they are just rants about how the democrats are the problem.
His latest letter was posted at the Atlantic Highlands Herald this past Friday, it’s more of the same rhetoric  that we’ve come to expect out of him, blame,blame,blame and no solutions.
So I was quite happy to see that Pat Walsh decided to take on Gerry’s letter on her Middletown Musings blog.  She did a good job so I have decided to copy and post it her blog entry here with Pat Walsh’s comments in blue. :
There goes Gerry again, who hasn’t met an adjective he doesn’t like. He pounds his usual themes always concluding that the problem is OVER THERE… He never seems to get that he has a responsibility in this as a township committee member. Bloated government… what about two township lawyers in one year? 9But for Gerry the issue is personal, if Chris Christie succeeds then Gerry plans to move up to the legislature. Sorry Middletown, then we will have three legislators who have brought ZERO dollars back to our town.

Reversing Course on Bloated State Government

For the second year in a row, Governor Corzine has delivered a crushing blow to Middletown by proposing another enormous cut in municipal aid. (2%) It should be noted that the very term “municipal aid” is actually a misnomer. In reality, this is money sent to Trenton by Middletown residents in the form of income taxes, sales taxes, corporate taxes and any number of other fees and taxes. The tiny portion of the money that is returned to Middletown and other suburban towns helps pay for essential services and infrastructure maintenance. As a result of this punitive move by the governor, the pressure on local property taxes intensifies exponentially.

COMMENT: The crushing blow to taxpayer’s is the addition of a second lawyer to the township budget, the purchase of a new township property adding to our already bloated debt service, The hiring of a lobbyist at 60K, bonding for the Shadow Lake project only to admit that it will never get off the ground becuase the plan was flawed. Gerry, like his favorite candidate CC seems to have forgotten about the 7.6 Billion dollar hole in the budget created by the recession. just a hint, essential services do not include hiring all your GOP cronies to the Sewerage Authority with free health benefits and pensions. The only reason the tax pressure has intensified exponetially is that the GOP committee members can stop spending money.

What is most frustrating is that the governor has chosen to preserve billion dollar, elective spending programs such as COAH, schools construction, universal pre-school, Abbott funding, FMLA and aid to distressed cities, among others. The latter saw a staggering $127 million sent to Union City, Jersey City, Camden, Newark, Paterson, Asbury Park and Bridgeton in 2008. With the current economic situation and suburban towns struggling to maintain basic services, it is patently unfair for the state to take even more of our tax dollars to fund these programs.

COMMENT: Hey Gerry, Let’s just guess what happens if even one municipality goes under? The bonding rating for all would increase exponentially putting asll towns in even worse shape. It is patently unfair that you will take 6 months to produce a budget, which you have already spent 40% of before you even start making cuts, while democrats are struggling to find areas of the budget to save the taxpayers money’

To make matters worse, the governor has burdened Middletown with millions of dollars in unfunded mandates, which are state-ordered spending decrees with no state funding to meet the mandate. This places suburban towns in the precarious position of putting the health, safety and quality of life of every taxpayer in jeopardy through Draconian budget cuts to try and offset the loss of municipal aid that is, simply put, the residents’ own money to begin with.

COMMENT: The reason Middletown finds itself is a precarious state has something to do with the draconian spending that the GOP has hoisted upon us. Lats years increase alone was 7.1%and even with the new tax rate I bet Middletown will participate in the Pension Deferral program even though none of its legislators voted for it. That means that the decrease we might have seen in our taxes next year due to a decrease in the amount of Debt Service will disappear.

Clearly, New Jersey cannot continue down this road of skyrocketing taxation and wasteful spending on ill-advised government programs. Our only hope is for every taxpayer to make their voices heard this November and reverse the course of our current unsustainable, bloated state government.

COMMENT: Clearly Middletown cannot continue down the road od skyrocketing tax increases imposed on us by GOP governmentusing our precious tax dollars on wasteful spending like two township attorneys.( one of whom only recently came off the cushy Sewerage Authority.) The unsustainable and bloated local government has to change it ways or be replaced. Clearly Gerry needs to start taking responsibility for his own decisions that have left Middletown with hugh tax increases.

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Filed under Atlantic Highlands Herald, COAH, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Jon Corzine, Middletown, Middletown Musings, New Jersey, Patricia Walsh, Trenton Democrats, unfunded mandates