Daily Archives: May 19, 2009

The Jesse Ventura Smackdown Interview with Hannity

If you haven’t scene this awesome smackdown of Sean Hannity by the one and only Jesse ” The Body” Ventura, former Governor of Minnesota, then you are in for a real treat.

Ventura puts Hannity in his place over a number of issues, from the “Obama deficit”, 9/11 and Monica Lewinsky.

Hannity literally does not know where to go and he looks foolish trying to defend President Bush and laughing at the notion hat Barack Obama is a very intelligent man because he can read off a teleprompter- something that Hannity does everyday.

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Filed under 9/11, Fox News, Jesse Ventura, Minnesota, Monica Lewinsky, President Bush, President Obama, Sean Hannity

Audio: Finance Committee? Who Needs a Finance Committee in Middletown, The GOP Majority Does a Great Job of Raising Taxes On their Own

During Committee comments at last nights township committee meeting in Middletown, Democrat Sean Byrnes once again implored the Township Committee to establish a “budget finance committee”.

 The Finance Committee’s purpose would be to oversee the budget process and look for potential cost saving within the budget. The committee would begin to look at the townships revenue streams from the moment that the new fiscal year starts on January 1st, not the day after election day. In this way the township can begin to identify possible saving early in the budget year and have a budget ready by the following January, not 5 1/2 months past. 

Because of this lack of financial planning  Middletown has needed to rely on temporary budget resolutions to keep the township operating, so far almost 50% of the current fiscal year budget for 2009 has been spent without any cost saving measures.  This type of budgeting by the GOP majority can not go because it has lead to the need to have proposed budget tax increases of 25% over the past 4 years.
Here is Sean Byrnes’s opening comments from last nights meeting as it pertains to the Finance Committee:

After Byrnes finished  his opening statement, Patrick Short backed him up by stating that at the next workshop meeting he will re-introduce Byrnes’s ordinance to form a finance committee.

Short’s announcement flabbergasted Deputy Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, as the senior member of the township committee and leading member of the GOP majority, Scharfenberger needed to state his opposition to the a finance committee.

Gerry feels that he and the other members of the majority do a great job overseeing the budget process by allowing their department heads to dictate to the committee, their needs as opposed to the other way around. Again I will point out that he and his GOP buddies have done such a great job at handling the budget process, that Middletown finds itself lacking $2.4 million and looking at a 9.2% tax increase to come up with the funds. Also to be noted is the fact that because of a one shot budget gimmick last year (selling the township’s cell tower leases), we are left with an almost identical budget shortfall this year as last.

Listen to what Gerry had to say about the Finance Committee:

After Mayor Pam Brightbill made her usual incoherent opening statements the meeting was opened up for public comments. A few residents addressed the issue of the finance committee and thought it was a good idea.

Locust resident Jim Grenafege, who is no stranger at township meetings, blasted Gerry Scharfenberger for his arrogance and his lack of experience on budgeting matters outside of the township:

Mr. Grenafege was right on target, so much so that the Mayor had to cut him off by telling him he was out of speaking time.
It is really a shame that most residents do not see how members of  GOP majority,their elected officials, behave and treat citizens who disagree or question their authority. 
Hopefully these audio clips from last nights meeting will help them to understand who are the real tax and spenders in town.  

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Filed under budget deficit, budget meeting, Democrats, Finance Committee, Gerry Scharfenberger, get d, Jim Grenafege, Middletown, Pamela Brightbill, Patrick Short, Republicans, Sean F. Byrnes, tax increase

Middletown Passes Ordinance To Eliminate Health Bennies for TOMSA Commissioners, Sorta

I attended the Middletown Township Committee meeting last night, a meeting that I am happy to say ended early, if you think that 10:25 PM is early.  Typically these meetings in Middletown have been know to last till midnight on occasion.

One of the more interesting outcomes of tonight’s meeting was the passage of an ordinance to eliminate the health benefits for commissioners of the Township Of Middeltown Sewerage Authority (TOMSA). What made it interesting was the fact all current commissioners of TOMSA have been grandfathered under the ordinance and will be able to keep their benefits! The ordinance only applies to newly appointed commissioners.
That’s right read it for yourself below: 
TOWNSHIP OF MIDDLETOWN NOTICE

This is a copy of Ordinance No. 2009-2967 that was introduced at a scheduled meeting of the Township Committee of the Township of  Middletown, April 20, 2009 held over for further consideration upon second and final passage at a meeting of the said Township Committee
to be held In the Main Meeting Room in the Township Hall, One Kings Highway, Middletown, on Monday, May 18, 2009 at 8:00 p.m., at which time all persons interested will be given an opportunity to be heard.

AMENDING CHAPTER 47 OF THE TOWNSHIP CODE GOVERNING THE TOWNSHIP OF
MIDDLETOWN SEWERAGE AUTHORITY

WHEREAS, the Township Committee of the Township of Middletown has previously eliminated the receipt of health benefits for members of the Township Committee and other appointed officials; and

WHEREAS, the Township Committee of the Township of Middletown believes it is the best interest of the taxpayers of the Township to eliminate the receipt of pension and/or health benefits by part-time elected and appointed officials; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to the Sewerage Authorities Law, N.J.S.A. 40:14A-5(d), the Township Committee is limited in its ability to amend the compensation paid commissioners of the Township of Middletown Sewerage Authority; and 

WHEREAS, the recently adopted Public Employee Pension and Benefits Reform Act of 2008, P.L. 2008, c. 89, however, helps restrict the Public Employment Retirement System benefits and eligibility for health benefits received by any commissioner of the Township of Middletown Sewerage Authority appointed after November 2, 2008.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED, by the Township Committee of  Middletown Township, County of Monmouth, State of New Jersey, that Chapter 47 of the Code of the Township of Middletown (1996) be amended to include the following:

§ 47-5. Benefits Restricted.

No member of the Township of Middletown Sewerage Authority hereinafter appointed shall be eligible to receive any benefits not otherwise provided for pursuant to the provisions of P.L. 2008, c. 89.
This is really an outrage and a few people questioned the logic behind grandfathering in the current commissioners for as long as they continue to serve on the board of TOMSA continuously.
A few people were upset because according to the Public Employee Pension and Benefits Reform Act of 2008, that is soon to take effect, any part-time worker or appointed official who earns less then $7,500 a year would no longer be eligible for benefits.
Committeeman Sean Byrnes wrote the original draft of the ordinance which intended to have benefits for the commissioners end upon the dates that their currents terms expire but it was changed by Township Attorney Brian Nelson to protect current sitting TOMSA commissioners. 
It should also be noted that after presenting the revised  ordinance to the committee, Mr. Byrnes’s name was missing from it and Mayor Pam Brightbill’s name was in his place, which is another clear and sad example of how the GOP majority tries to take credit for ideas that weren’t their own.
In this case however, Mayor Pam can take the credit and the consequences that go along with it.
All of the Sewerage Authority commissioners have been good loyal Middletown Republican insiders, they have been either Republican mayors, committee members or party leaders and this blatant attempt by the Middletown GOP majority to protect their own will not go unnoticed by residents who are struggling to make ends meet.
Nepotism and Cronyism has to end in Middletown, if it doesn’t then residents will forever be burdened with its outcome of high taxes and inefficient government. 
Residents have to remember that when the current TOMSA commissioners  terms expire that they insist that they not be reappointed. Otherwise they will continue to receive costly health benefits for a job that pays them $1750 for less than 12 hours of work per year.     

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Filed under Brian Nelson, health benefits and pension, Middletown, Middletown Republicans, Pamela Brightbill, Sean F. Byrnes, TOMSA