>Gerry Scharfenberger’s appointment as Director of the Office for Planning Advocacy by Governor Christie, seems to have caused a big stir around the State, so much so that Senior Political Columnist for Gannett New Jersey Newspapers,Bob Ingle, has written about it on his Politics Patrol blog which appears online today over at the Asbury Park Press website. As an additional FYI for those that aren’t familiar with Bob Ingles’s work, he co-wrote The New York Times’ Best Seller, “The Soprano State: New Jersey’s Culture of Corruption.”
In his blog post today (full text below), Ingle doesn’t buy Gerry’s reasoning as to why he did not disclose his appointment to his new job before the election and seems to be disappointed in Governor Christie for making the appoinment in the first place and suggests that Gerry should step down from his seat on the Middletown Township Committee or resign from his position as Director of Planning Advocacy. He states that if Gerry doesn’t give up his seat then Middletown voters should remember this if he ever seek re-election again in the future.
Ingle’s opinion in this matter just may spark a few more calls to action by those that are begining to talk about a possible recall petition against Scharfenberger if he decides to continue his service on the Township Committee come January.
Republican Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger of Middletown has been in a $95,000 a year state job since August but his Democratic opponents in last week’s election say that’s news to them. Kevin Penton of The Asbury Park Press reports during the campaign Scharfenberger was asked by a reporter about his employment, and he only replied that he was an archaeologist and an member of the Monmouth University adjunct faculty. After the election when asked why he did not mention the $95,000 state job at the time, Scharfenberger said: “I just assumed that everyone knew.” He noted that his name is on the state’s website in connection to the position. That doesn’t hold water. If a reporter asks what you do for work you don’t say you’re a an archaeologist and an member of the Monmouth University adjunct faculty but clean forget about that $95,000 a year post of executive director of the state Office of Planning Advocacy you drive all the
way to Trenton for.
Shawn Crisafulli, spokesman for the Department of State which oversees the office, said the Christie administration “hired him because of his public experience … ” (It certainly wasn’t for his passion for full disclosure.) Scharfenberger said he decided to run for re-election so he could help implement Gov. Christie’s fiscal proposals, such as civil service and binding arbitration reform. By acting as he did he damaged the image of the Christie administration. Friday we had calls to the radio show blaming the governor for this. I’ve gotten email about it as well.
Scharfenberger said he is not accepting his salary as a member of the township committee. Scharfenberger works at least 40 hours a week from Trenton in the position, said Crisafulli, who does not anticipate a conflict between his working as director of a state agency while serving as an elected official.
Scharfenberger should give up one position or the other. If he should he seek office again voters should remember how he handled this. This is the kind of thing Chris Christie was elected to stop. I can believe the Democrats didn’t do a thorough vetting of their opponent. I can believe many people in Middletown knew about this other job.
What I don’t buy is his excuse for not mentioning the $95,000 job in Trenton when a reporter asked him. His response is not believable.