In a press release posted on another blog, Middletown Mayor Tony Fiore has stated that if the Middletown Library doesn’t turn over it’s $1.2M in surplus funds within the next few weeks, the Township will have no recourse other than to layoff 26 individuals from the Township’s payroll. Most notable of those 26 individuals being threatened with job loses are 10 police officer(which would put the public safety at risk) and the elimination 13 people (leaving just 1 person in place) from the Department of Parks and Recreation (the equivalent of abolishing the department altogether).
This demand is essentially placing a gun to the heads of those that run the Library, forcing them to turn over funds to the Township or be perceived as being the ones responsible for the laying off of members of the Middletown Police Department.
So now that Middletown’s budget “D”day has finally arrived, after numerous warnings from both former Township Committeemen Patrick Short and Sean Byrnes about planning for the inevitable rainy day that was coming, Fiore and friends are turning to the only untapped revenue source that they sense is vulnerable to their advances.
Under today’s political environment it’s easy to pick on unions, public servants and institutions that seemingly are doing better than others.
The bottom line with the Library is that it’s trustees have managed it better and have done a superior job at planning for the future with it’s budget, than those that have controlled the Township Committee have done with their own. And for that, the library is now threatened with the replacement of it’s trustees, the potential of being turned over to the County and being made the scapegoat if the public safety is placed in jeopardy by the elimination members of the local police force.
Before attempting to extort funds from Library by threatening layoffs that would effect public safety, how about looking closer to home for some more budget cuts.
Over the past two years, while the town has been raising taxes and eliminating jobs the Township hired a Superintendent of Crossing Guards (taking responsibility away from the police), an Assistant Township Planner and an Assistant Township Administrator along with another Township Attorney. How about cutting some of that fat?
And what about the Arts Center and the Swim Club, each are draining funds from the Township at unsustainable rates. What is going to be done about them? How about abolishing all the boards and committees that the Township funds, do they come under the heading of essential services? I think not.