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.