>Planners question credentials of Middletown committeeman coordinating N.J. policy

>Wow, what an article in today’s Asbury Park Press written by Kevin Penton, to go along with the Press’s editorial about Middletown’s mayor, Gerry Scharfenberger.

Kevin Penton really delved into the story by asking those that deal with the Office of Planning Advocacy, if they thought that Middletown’s Scharfenberger was qualified to head the department, the consensus of those asked seems to be a resounding NO and they question his appointment.

Here are a few excerpts from the article, but make sure that you read follow-up and the article in it’s entirety to get the full impact of what was written:

“Digging up rocks doesn’t make you a planner,” remarked Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The only science being conducted in this office is political science, not real science.”

...Just like former Gov. Jim McGreevey and Gov. Jon S. Corzine before him, Gov. Chris Christie hired a politician who lacks state accreditation as a licensed planner to direct what is now the Office of Planning Advocacy, said Charles Latini, president of the New Jersey chapter of the American Planners Association…

…”The administration seems to be moving slowly and deliberatively in specific areas,”… “The planning community doesn’t have a clue where they’re going.”…

Shawn Crisafulli, a spokesman for the Department of State… did not answer how many candidates were considered for Scharfenberger’s position, whether he had to undergo an application and interview process or was simply appointed, and whether the state advertised the open position….

…That a politician, rather than a planner, was chosen to head the agency that coordinates planning for New Jersey demonstrates what anyone looking at the Office of Planning Advocacy needs to know about its future priorities, said the Sierra Club’s Tittel….

…”It’s disgraceful,” said Tittel, who is concerned the Office of Planning Advocacy may become further politicized under the Department of State. “They really want to play politics and not do planning, which is supposed to be their jobs.”…

…Carlos Rodrigues, who worked in the Office of Smart Growth from 1994 to 2004, said when the state needed a director for the agency in the past, it conducted national searches, seeking experienced professionals with planning backgrounds.

“It was taken seriously,” said Rodrigues, a senior fellow with the Regional Planning Association. “Now we have a mayor as the head of the office? That’s a really, really bad idea. It’s ridiculous.”…

…Latini said he does not understand how the state permits anyone without a planning accreditation to be able to head the Office of Planning Advocacy…

…Rodrigues said the Christie administration needs to decide whether it is taking the Office of Planning Advocacy, and its cost to taxpayers, seriously.

“If you’re not going to fix it, then get rid of it,” Rodrigues said. “It’s an embarrassment the way it is, a complete sham.”…

Amazing isn’t it, how does Christie get a way with appointing Scharfy to such an important position as this, with no experience or certification in planning, when the state of the economy is in need of experienced people to help nurture its growth while the state is trying to recover from this devastating national recession?
Instead of stepping down from Middletown’s Township Committee as some have proposed, maybe Gerry should give up his new job and go back to being an archaeologist. I’m sure that some private sector firm could use someone who’s PhD thesis was on the composition of Colonial era glass (or something to that effect) and leave the planning of the recovery of the state’s economy to someone more qualified in that field.


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

4 responses to “>Planners question credentials of Middletown committeeman coordinating N.J. policy

  1. >This was very enlightening indeed.Reading the Independent's version and listening to the Mayor's attempt at calling this politically motivated was typical. It's never his responsibility that he lied by omission. I'd check on the pension statement. I don't believe a word this guy says. How did this guy get re elected???? Are the people in this town so stupid, or do they just do whatever their Republican leaders tell them to do? I think it's both.

  2. >Question: Who was the first Director of the Department of Smart Growth appointed by Governor Corzine, and what were HIS credentials? (Hint: He was MUCH less qualified than Mayor Scharfenberger…)Did you catch the quote from the planner who noted that appointing non-credentialed managers is usual, and the notes that the Mayor has already saved the state money?How come you didn't quote THAT information?

  3. >Anon 6:44,How nice it is that you can actually read.Please don't keep us in suspense any longer please tell us who could have been less qualified than Gerry to have the job before him, our inquiring minds want ot know.As for Gerry already saving the State money, the qoute was slightly unqualified and id not provide any real detail. Any one can say that they saved money through review of outstanding grants but what does that mean? They were outstanding which means that they were no longer viable, big deal.

  4. >Slippery Sharfey and Crisco Christie will hopefully get some education in these next years ……if this is the tone and foundation of this administration,they will both be looking for employment in January 2013……Ever hear the statement, "no ticky,no shirty" ? Well that means no results,there's the exit door…Picks like this one doesn't bode well for New Jesey's future that's for certain.And don't count on the voters to bestupid….history repeats itself….just observe the current election results.

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