>It seems that the article in last Wednesday’s Asbury Park Press and the subsequent editorial that followed on Saturday was about all Gerry Scharfenbeger could take and must have prompted him to call at least one of the residents that was mention in the article.
Carol Stiglin reports that our mayor called her Saturday to offer his apology for the lateness of the robo call and tried to explain that a “glitch” was ultimately responsible for the timing of the call. When she questioned Gerry about it, he said that it was decided by the Committee to make the call around the same time as Middletown Matters was mailed to households so that they (the Committee) could reinforce the importance of recycling.
When questioned further by Stiglin about the need for the robo call, Scharfenberger immediately place blame on Sean Byrnes, his opponent in this year’s election, saying that Byrnes sent an email back in August stating that it may be a good idea to call residents and notify them of the change to the recycling program. According to Stiglin, she then stated to Scharfenberger that August may have been a better time to place calls to residents than in October, 3 weeks before an election. Stiglin then wanted to know if the Committee had agreed to the initial time that the calls were to take place, she said that Gerry replied “’it’s just a quick notice…I just had a minute and went ahead and recorded it ”, which implied to her that Committee didn’t need to approve the call. Soon after this exchange they said their goodbyes and ended their conversation.
After learning this, I was interested in hearing from Sean Byrnes to get his take on being blamed as the source of inspiration behind the robo call.
Byrnes stated that he went back and looked at his sent emails in the Township email system and found an email from August. He stated that the Committee had received an email from Ted Maloney advising them of a message he intended to send regarding leaf and brush pickup, and that he intended to use the reverse 911 system. Included in the email was the text of what the message was to say, to which Byrnes responded as follows:
“…At some point, maybe not so close on the heels of this announcement, we should also do that for the recycling pickup. You may have done it already, but we will probably need to push this pretty hard to get the word out and start getting compliance…”
Committeeman Byrnes stated that he was unaware that the Scharfenberger planned to make an announcement last week about the recycling program, he stated that an email from Cindy Herschaft, the public relations officer, was sent to Committee members about an hour before the announcement started, advising them of the content of the call.
Apparently it would seem then, that Gerry Scharfenberger took Byrnes idea that was expressed in the email to Ted Maloney, saw an opportunity to use it to his advantage, hid the fact that he was doing it until just before the messages went out, and then tried to blame Byrnes when it didn’t work out. No wonder why he called Carol Stiglin to apologize, he finally got caught taking someone else’s idea and passing it off as his own. I would apologize for that also.