The following video was part of this morning’s CBS Sunday Morning Show. It documents the unselfish family tradition of Wayne Van Dornen and his efforts at placing flags at the grave sites of veterans near his home town of Clyde, Ohio.
Monthly Archives: May 2010
Ahead of Memorial Day, the President asks all Americans to join him in remembering and honoring our men and women in uniform who have died in service to the country.
How Many Emails Did Middletown Receive When It Requested Resident Input Into Defeated School Budget? Not Close To 700 That Scharfenberger Stated
Well it seems that Middletown’s sorry excuse for a Mayor, Gerry Scharfenberger, has been caught yet again in a gross exaggeration of facts, which leads to the impression that the additional $500K over and above the previously agreed to $1.6M worth of budget cuts that the Board of Education presented to the Middeltown Township Committee back on May 3rd and May 6th was politically motivated.
Good job by Jennifer Bradshaw of the Asbury Park Press reporting on the Middletown school budget that will be voted on at tonights Board of Education meeting (I included her report at the bottom of this post).
- The Meeting Agenda – Page 5 of the agenda lists the reductions in the budget that the BoE will be moving forward with. As Jennifer Bradshaw reports in the article below the BoE did not follow the township committees suggestion to eliminate two vice principals, an assistant business administrator or a directors position for a savings of $347,000. Instead they found savings (breakage) from teachers that announced their retirements since the budget was first proposed.
- Personnel Committee Report – This report lists the names of district employees that have announce their retirements, resignations or leaves of absences and contains the resolution which authorizes the further reduction of the work.
- Certified Staff – This is a list of all the certified staff members that are being recommended for rehire with their salaries( I was happy to see some names that I am familiar with and disappointed in not seeing others)
- Tenured Transfers Reassignments – A list of tenured teachers, guidance counselors and CST’s that have been transferred to other schools or who have had their positions within the school district reassigned
- Superintendent Compensation Freeze – Superintendent Karen Bilbao has forgone her contracted raise for the upcoming year and due to the recent change in state law will be contributing 1.5% of her salary towards health benefits. Currently Bilbao contributes $1,200 towards her benefits, that will now increase by $463 for a total of $1,663 inwhich she will have to pay towards her benefits.
I have to give the Board of Education some kudos here because unlike the Gerry Scharfenberger and the Township Committee, in a true showing of transparency, the BoE released the revised budget with all of the important information that pertains to it before their open public meeting tonight. By doing so, the BoE has allowed those interested in their child’s education to see how the additional cuts to the budget will effect them and then allow those parents a chance to speak informatively at the meeting.
As part of a more than $2 million reduction ordered by the Township Council, $150,000 will be through a change in nursing services; $803,000 will be through a change to the district’s health insurance carrier; $58,117 savings came from the elimination of a night watchman position; $136,796 through reductions to individual school budgets; $250,000 was saved through salary breakage related to six retirements; $140,000 through attrition; and $16,204 through the elimination of a PR position.
Administrative position cuts suggested by the council do not appear on the final cuts — the council had suggested the elimination of two vice principal positions at the high schools, for a savings of $130,000 each, the elimination of an assistant business administrator position for a savings of $91,000, and the elimination of a $126,000 director position.
The final numbers will have a 2.2 percent increase on township taxes, according to the agenda….
The crowd was a diverse mix of community activists, union members, and even parents and children who cheered loudly when speakers criticized Christie’s plans, saying that the state’s most needy residents would suffer the most.
Over 100 community organizations endorsed the rally, among them faith-based organizations, environmental advocates, direct service providers, represents of Latino and African-American groups and children’s advocacy organizations. Community turnout for the rally was coordinated by Better Choices for New Jersey with a clear message to the governor and Legislature: stop the cuts and restore the tax on New Jersey’s highest income earners.
The Legislature last Thursday approved a bill to restore the income tax surcharge on those making $1 million or more. The Governor wasted little time vetoing it on the same night.
In yesterday’s Asbury Park Press, in an article about the Middletown Primary, Mr. Scharfenberger is quoted as saying that ” I have a lot to learn”. This is actually pretty funny, because for the past 2 weeks, I have written letters and called his office almost daily for a debate or a meet and greet.
To date, I have not had the decency of a return call. If I have “so much to learn” why is Mr. Scharfenberger afraid to debate me!
It’s probably because, I have a MBA; I have been a resident of Middletown for over 25 year’s; I have owned and managed a business for over 22 year’s; have had to meet a payroll every Friday for 22 year’s; have had to balance a budget for 22 year’s; and been an active member of the community and our church.
What have we had with Mr. Scharfenberger in charge; a municipal tax rate that has gone up 16% over the last three year’s.
And, he thinks “I have a lot to learn”.
There is still plenty of time left before the June 8th primary, and I challenge you Mr. Scharfenberger to a debate. In fact you can name the venue, you can pick the moderator, and you can select the questions. Just let me know where and when. I will be there, and this time I hope you show up!
Let’s blop ourselves down on the easychair and breakout some “Quakers”, It’s cartoon time!
The President announces that the independent commission he created for the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling will be chaired by former Florida Governor and Senator Bob Graham and former EPA Administrator Bill Reilly. He promises accountability not just for BP, but for those in government who bore responsibility.
Gerry Scharfenberger likes to think of himself as the father of the Middletown Green Initiative, after all it was his idea even though there isn’t much to show for it except for the promise to turn off some lights and eventually install a few solar panels on the top of the Arts Center.
That was until now.
Can someone tell me what he and the Township Administrator must be thinking when they purchase over $160K worth of trucks when the Township started the year with a $5M budget deficit? Do they think that the road to fiscal responsibliity must be driven down in trucks that cost the taxpayer $33K each?
How is a purchase like this justified when the Township has plans to layoff about 40 employees? Who is going to be driving these trucks? Maybe the Township will have the laid off employees use them to drive to the unemployment office. I am sure that the Police Department is glad that they agreed to a salary freeze for this year. We need to save every penny possible so that purchases like this can be afforded. At $33K each this totals well over $160K, which is the equivalent of salaries for 4-5 average employees on the Township payroll.
The Mayors’ Green Initiative should be about saving the green not spending it, especially since the Township does not have it to spend.
Instead of parking these new vehicles in the Public Works Yard they are located in the school parking lot at Croydon Hall. They have not been registered yet, either.