>APP Editorial: (Scharfenberger) Tongue tied for a reason


For those that keep questioning whether or not it was ethical for Middletown’s mayor, Gerry Scharfenberger, to take a position within the Christie Administration and not say anything about it until after the election, I want to refer them to today’s Asbury Park Press editorial on the subject.
The APP questions Scharfenberger’s honesty (something local democrats have been doing for years) and Governor Christie double standards regarding those that would hold two public jobs. They also call into question Scharfenberger’s qualifications for the job, wondering if Scharfenberger’s only qualification for the job was his non-stop and incessant grandstanding , calling the governor a “rock star” at Township meetings and other political events.
The APP concludes the editorial by insisting that “Scharfenberger should resign from one of his positions. If he doesn’t, Christie should either insist on it or explain why he has changed his thinking on public servants holding more than one public job.”
That conclusion is hard to argue against even if you are an ardent supporter of Scharfy, the Middletown GOP or the Governor himself.
Below is the full text of the editorial:

Middletown Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger was disingenuous at best and downright dishonest at worst when he kept mum about a state job he took while running for re-election. It seems that politicians only keep their mouths shut when they’ve got something to hide.

That seems to be the case with Scharfenberger, who started working as the executive director of the state Office of Planning Advocacy in mid-August while running for a third term on the Township Committee. The full-time state job, which pays $95,000 a year, is not so much a case of double-dipping — Scharfenberger doesn’t take a salary as mayor — as it is mendacity. It’s a lie of omission.

Scharfenberger’s hiring also again raises the question of whether a double standard exists in the Christie administration regarding people holding two public positions. And whether hiring decisions are based on qualifications or politics.

In September, Christie unveiled a package of ethics reforms that proposed a ban on elected officials holding more than one public job — regardless of whether they were drawing a paycheck. That same month, Jackson Mayor Mike Reina, a Christie loyalist who had been working as a security guard at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant, was appointed to a $78,000-a-year position at the state Department of Transportation, which, according to its website, was in the midst of a hiring freeze. Reina was hired as a “confidential aide” in the Office of Emeergency Managment.

Two weeks ago, an Asbury Park Press reporter working on a Middletown election preview story asked Scharfenberger what he did for a living. He said he was an archaeologist and a Monmouth University professor. (He is an adjunct faculty member.) Did his new day job just slip his mind? Well, no. Last week, asked why he didn’t mention the state job at the time, Scharfenberger said, “I just assumed that everyone knew.”

As head of what used to be called the Office of Smart Growth, Scharfenberger is responsible for guiding economic growth and land use through state planning, said Shawn Crisafulli, a spokesman for the Department of State, which oversees the office.

“The administration hired him because of his public experience,” Crisafulli said. “Dr. Scharfenberger has vast expertise in land use, zoning, planning and open space.”

Did the Christie administration settle on the archaeologist after an extensive nationwide search? The state isn’t saying.

“Out of fairness to both Dr. Scharfenberger and any other candidates we interviewed and considered, we do not discuss this process publicly,” Crisafulli said.

It seems one of Scharfenberger’s chief qualifications was his sycophantic boosterism of the governor, calling him a “rock star” during Township Committee meetings and at political events, and shilling for him at every opportunity.

Scharfenberger has had a few months to settle into his new position, and according to some knowledgeable observers, it is disconcerting that a politician and not an accredited planner has been appointed to this pivotal job. Qualified or not, Scharfenberger should heed Christie’s words about the problems inherent in one person holding two public jobs — even if Christie doesn’t hold members of his own party to that standard.

Scharfenberger should resign from one of his positions. If he doesn’t, Christie should either insist on it or explain why he has changed his thinking on public servants holding more than one public job.


Filed under Asbury Park Press, editorial, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Chris Christie, Office of Planning Advocacy

3 responses to “>APP Editorial: (Scharfenberger) Tongue tied for a reason

  1. >The APP is right on. Finally they nailed Gerry and threw is BS right back at him. THANK YOU!!Let's hold him accountable.

  2. >I believe it's unacceptable that Gerry Scharfenberger did not make it abundantly clear that he had a full-time position at the state level while running for re-election. If he had made such an admission while campaigning, it wouldn't have taken very long before the press and voters picked up on the fact that he should not have been running at all pursuant to Christie's initiative that an individual should not hold two public offices, regardless of whether they are being paid for one position or the other. Whether or not the initiative was formally adopted, based on Mr. Scharfenberger's frequent praise of the Governor's policies, he should have been aware (like he thinks everyone else should have been aware of his new appointment) that the Governor was not in favor of dual position holding, and that he would potentially be in violation if it does become policy. Even if one attempts to reach to the far limits of "benefit of the doubt," there is no plausible excuse for Mr. Scharfenberger's response that his job was archaeologist and adjunct professor, while neglecting to mention a full-time state position. The decision to keep this pertinent piece of information from the voting public is yet another indication of the lack of transparency exhibited by some of our elected officials. And one final thought: If he didn't think the job was important enough to list as one of his professions, how much effort is he devoting to it??? If you have one full-time job, shouldn't that be at the top of the list when someone asks you what you do?

  3. >Truthfulness and being forthright are two character qualities absent from Gerard P. Scharfenberger's resume'.BLATANTLY ABSENT !As for Scharfey's runnng mate:BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER !

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