>Middletown Mayor Holds A Gun To The Head Of Library System In The Attempt To Extort $1.2M; Massive Police Layoffs Threatened

>There is no other word for it other than EXTORTION.

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.

To be honest with you, I think this is just an elaborate, high stakes bluff on the the part of Fiore and his boys. There is no way they would risk the public’s ire and do anything that would threaten the operation of the Middletown Library. It is used by to many people that considered it to be a treasure and the most superior library in the State.
To put it in another way, they don’t have the balls to hand it over to the county!
The Library and those that operate it should stand firm against this criminal act and not succumb to the pressure from those that can’t control their own mismanagement.
Enough is enough with placing blame on others, first it was the teachers and their union, than it was public workers and their unions and now it’s the evil library and their millions that are coming between you and your tax dollars, not the gross mismanagement of Township funds by a bunch of political budgetary know-nothings that think that budgets are put together by osmosis!

15 Comments

Filed under budget deficit, budget surplus, extortion, layoffs, Middletown Library, Middletown Police, Middletown Township Committee

15 responses to “>Middletown Mayor Holds A Gun To The Head Of Library System In The Attempt To Extort $1.2M; Massive Police Layoffs Threatened

  1. >Hi Mike,Why wasn't the letter sent to the APP? I think your TC needs that kind of press. Man…I don't envy you guys in Middletown at all. I'll take the devil we know here in Colts Neck. At least, the new Mayor here is a decent person. Quite the opposite of what you guys have in Middletown. I feel for you.

  2. >It is amazing that none of this negative stuff is posted on the Township website. They only seem to post the Camelot version of announcements. Thet truly don't want the public to know what is going on with thier tax dollars. The Township just wants you to pay them.

  3. >Last year 'Peck's Bad Boy' was the Middletown Board of Education and the teacher's union. Gerry Scharfenberger, mayor at the time, publicly flogged both over and over in an calculated effort to look good and jump on Christie's band-wagon which was and is promoting an extremely anti public union take no prisioners campaign. It looks like our newly appointed Mayor Fiore and his solid Republican crew are attempting to provide direction to the governing of Middletown by taking a page out of Gerry's playbook — only this time it is the library that is in being sized-up by Tony and the rest of the turkey vultures. And, to help keep himself clean in preparation for his upcoming re-election campaign, Mr. Fiore has dispatched the newly elected vulture Kevin Settembrino to start pecking away at the library. Maybe there is a shot at a consulting fee to vet RFP's for some kind of solar project down the road — like the proposed solar canopy over the rail road station parking lot — for Committeeperson Settembrino?

  4. >It seems to me that we would be better served if the library board paid down the bond on the new library building. This would effectively lower bond payments freeing up money in the budget to pay for police. what has been proposed by the committee would just create a large budget hole in the budget that would need to be filled next year.

  5. >Thanks Rick,We're dealing without the "Middletown Mob" here.

  6. >You said it right Mike, extortion plain and simple. The history of the mismanagement of Middletown's tax dollars especially in the last 6 years is quite clear.They made a mess, were constantly warned and now want others to bail them out.Committeeman Byrnes had said it many times…diverting money for quick fixes will not fix the long term fundamental problems we have with the mismanagement and poor planning by the township committee.They have no vision and govern by reacting instead of looking at long term planning.Elections have consequences.

  7. >The press release appeared on Art Gallagher's blog and then yours, Mike. As of 6:45 p.m. Saint Valentine's day, it has yet to appear on the Township's website. You would think that the first place for a press release of this magnitude to appear would be on the Township's official website. Maybe Mayor Fiore didn't want to anger and raise the anxiety level of all those loving voters who voted for him and the rest of the Republican crew on Valentine's day. Are Tony and Pam up for re-election this year?

  8. >Anon 6:52,This is another reason why I think this is a bluff on the Township committees part.The press release looks like it was rushed out as a response to what I posted on Friday. When has the township ever sent out a press release on a Sunday? Never to my knowledge .They know that they could never layoff 10 police officers and get away with without placing the blame on others.The Library should stand there ground and not cave in to the Townships demands.

  9. >These thugs only recently hired some new police officers to replace the retirees. Are they now claiming to lay off those same officers ??Incompetent at best or at worst no insight for planning a township budget and grossly incapable of administrating government here.Just who the hell do they represent anyway ?? Hardly think this is what the residents of Middletown want. Destroy our school system.destroy, our library system and destroy our quality of life in this township.No sanity dislayed in any of this….None. Besides the state law dictates library finances. Who the hell are they kidding !!

  10. >Ok this is a start by laying off these people. Let’s turn it up a notch, lay off all DPW people and subcontract out the work they do. I have never seen DPW pave roads they patch holes that become holes again within a week. I have followed the DPW trucks and have found them sleeping in the trucks. Taking hour and a half lunches going back to Kane’s lane at 2:00 pm not leaving the Lane till around 8:00 am. 4 and a half hour work day must be nice! And at that if it’s cold out they drive around wasting gas. During leaf season there are 8 guys standing around and 2 guys working. When it snows out I have found them sleeping in their trucks at night making time in a half and sometimes double time. Time for the gravy boat to stop! get rid of the lot of them. Contract everything out if not then let me tell you I will be taking video and pictures and will be showing up at the town meeting asking for an answer .

  11. >You guys sure are something.Besides personnel, where else can cuts be made?The Swim Club? That's a utility. I guess you missed the last meeting when putting all of work that used to be done by the town out to bid was approved. That's right, the swim club will pay for itself this year!The Arts Center? If the Parks and Recreation staff is being cut, doesn't that cut the staff at the Arts Center too?If the unions give concessions on wage increases and health care contributions, the layoffs will be scaled back as is possible. Isn't this what Sean Byrnes wanted?As for the library. Does their surplus belong to them or to the taxpayers? Are you willing to pay more in taxes so they can carry a surplus?

  12. >Anonymous 7:12 a.m……The library doesn't pay taxes. The state mandates the manner in which they are financed and do you really think this TC should rape our libraries to fund their incompetence ?Randall Gabrielian says it best in today's APP article.This is political theater by these ethically and integrity challenged individuals serving on the TC.

  13. >Anon 7:32,Cuts can be made by not bonding for unnecessary projects, like the Arts Center, and incurring the interest payments that are attached to the loan. If the Republican controlled T.C. had planned well they could have combined the Main Library renovation and build-out with the construction of the Arts Center at the library site, which would have saved the taxpayer the cost of buying the contaminated land on Church Street. Money could have been saved by not buying the Swim Club and by not bonding to buy it. Even though the RFP process to opperate the Swim Club was approved, we still don't have an acceptable bid and may never get one. Even if an outside entity runs the club it will not pay for itself because there is still the interest on the bond that needs to be paid. The only possible way for the club to pay for itself is to sell all of it.Cutting Parks and Recreation staff doesn't mean the Arts Center staff gets cut. It is an independent non-profit with its own board. Merge it with the library which would allow the library to pay for the Arts Center operating costs. Bye-the-way this could shield some of the library excess funds because by law, I believe, operating funds are not considered excess. It would also save the taxpayer the additional money they presently provide to run the Arts Center. The unions do need to give concessions and if they do personnel still should be scaled back starting with the elimination of the Recreation Director position because that's where the most dollars could be saved with the least impact on others. It makes no sense to have a Recreation Director (Greg Silva probably knows where too many bodies are buried, so they have to keep him on) if there is no recreation department. Move some of the recreation staff over to the Public Works Department. Sean Burns and others saw this coming years ago and approaches were offered to address the financial management and leadership short comings of the Township and they were ignored. When you have one party in control for over 30 years the machinery of government gets corrupted.

  14. >The library did not get a surpluse because it was well operated. Residents were overtaxed.The Legislature enacted a law requiring libraries to turn over their surpluses because all over the state libraries were getting more and more $$$–some 15 to 20% more a year when ratables were going up–and were getting huge surpluses.Taxpayers were overcharged and should get their money back.

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