Daily Archives: February 28, 2011

>Arrogance Prevails In Audio Of Library Director’s Address In Front Of Middletown Committee

>It’s been almost week now since the last Middletown Township Committee meeting took place and the controversy over reserved library funds have not died down, if anything as the calendar gets closer to March 15th and the Middletown Township Committee needs to produce a proposed budget to the State, the rhetoric could heat up even more than it already has.

As I stated in an earlier post, during public comments at last weeks Township Committee meeting, Library Director Susan O’Neal, spoke about the virtues of the library and attempted to talk about the perceived surplus funds that the Township insists are available for it’s taking, but when she was badgered and talked down to rather arrogantly by appointed mayor Tony Fiore, she ended the discussion and sat down.

Fiore was waving in the air a piece of paper that he claimed was a 2008 MTPL Foundation IRS 990 form that showed the Library held in excess of $350,000 (but he didn’t present it to O’Neal), he wanted to know how much was currently in this account. O’Neal stated that she thought there was $35,000 available as per the 2010 IRS 990 form. Fiore then wanted to know what happened to the surplus funds, what were they used for?

Ms. O’Neal said that NO portion of municipal funds are included in the Library’s surplus, at which point Township Attorney Brain Nelson, attempting to interject himself into the conversation, rose from his chair next to the Mayor waved his finger at O’Neal and said that her statement was false.

It was at this point that Director O’Neal ended her discussion, probably feeling somewhat frustrated and intimidated by the aggression shown to her by both Tony Fiore and his “goon” Attorney Brian Nelson.

The below 10 minute audio clip is from Tuesday night’s meeting and captures Susan O’Neal’s entire 10 minute address in front of Township Committee. To hear the exchange between Tony Fiore, Susan O’Neal and Nelson as described above, you will need to advance the audio to about the 7:50 mark.

It doesn’t shed a very good light on Fiore or Nelson,it just adds to the perspective that Township Committee and it’s attorney are arrogant and don’t care to hear about the truth or worry about how they chose to intimidate others when they have their minds made up.

http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.1.swf

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Filed under Brian Nelson, budget deficit, Library Reserves, Middletown Library, Middletown Township Committee, surplus funds, Susan O'Neal, Tony Fiore

>Library Director Issues Update On Library Reserves Issue

>Middletown Library Director Susan O’Neal, earlier today posted the following update on the issue of Library Reserve funds on the main page of the Middletown Township Library’s website:

The Library “giveback” issue is now so full of rumors that it is difficult to know where to begin. One of the troubling issues is that some are casting the library as uncooperative. Not true.

So, I’ll start with last year, when members of the Township Committee, Pam Brightbill and Sean Byrnes came to library board meetings and asked the Trustees to consider giving some of its reserves to the town. The Trustees listened, and made a quick response to sponsor one of the summer concerts of the Parks & Recreation Department. We followed up with a letter to the Mayor [dated June 10,2010] indicating the Board’s willingness to provide some assistance, and asked four questions which were germane to the Board’s deliberations. There was no response to the letter [which we will post on this website] These questions were not answered by August, when Mayor Scharfenberger attended the library board meeting, and he was asked again for a response. None followed, and the library pressed on in memos and finally, in November, a meeting was held with Library Trustees, Mr. Mercantante and Mr. Trascente. But questions of the Board were not completely answered. In fact, the inability of the library to get any reconciliation of the small budget surplus of 2008 and 2009 kept our 2010 budget in flux for the entire year. And, without the information it asked for, the Trustees could not make an informed decision about making a contribution to help the Township.

So now we get to late 2010, and the law on libraries returning some surpluses changes from libraries “may” return surpluses to “must” return surpluses that are not restricted for capital projects, or are from per capita state aid funds. Immediately, the request turned into a demand, and for much much more than the law would allow. By the library’s calculations of the official “Proposed Transfer Form” of monies, the Middletown Library has $262,453 in funds which must be returned.

The Trustees of the Library are negotiating in good faith with the Township on this matter and will do what they are able to do legally.

Susan O’Neal, Director

p.s. By the way, the NJ State Library has informed us that ALL of the dozen or so libraries that have given back funds to their municipalities have followed the procedures outlined in the law. The MTPL will do the same.





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Filed under budget deficit, Library Reserves, Middletown Library, Middletown Township Committee, NJ State Library, surplus funds, Susan O'Neal

>It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issues 3 & 4- 2/07/11 & 2/22/11; Issue 4 Contains Latest News On Fight For Library Surplus Funds

>The latest editions of the It’s Your Town Newsletter are now available for reading.

It has been a crazy couple of weeks, so I never got around to posting Issue #3 of the newsletter a couple of weeks ago.
Issue #3 contains information about the proceedings of the February 7th Middletown Township Committee Workshop meeting, while Issue #4 deals with what happened during last Tuesday night’s regular monthly meeting of the Middletown Township Committee.
It should be noted for those that have not been able to attend meetings of the Township Committee yet this year, there is a stark contrast as to how these meetings are now being conducted with a 5-0 Republican super majority controlling the Township Committee this year and how meeting had been conducted during the past 4 years when a Democrat sat on the Committee.
Very little to no discussions take place between Committee members about proposed ordinances or resolutions, massive consent agendas that contain several or more items are passed without public discussion and meetings have been over very quickly.
It seems that local government transparency has taken a step backward this year.
Issue #4 of the newsletter should be of particular interest to readers who have followed the news of how the Township Committee has been attempting to extort surplus funds from it’s public library, which is in clear violation of state statute.
During public comments Library Director Susan O’Neal, spoke about the virtues of the library and attempted to talk about the perceived surplus funds that the Township insists are available for it’s taking, but when she was badgered and talked down to rather arrogantly by appointed mayor Tony Fiore, she ended the discussion and sat down.
Resident Melanie Elmiger also spoke on the Library and asked why was Committeeman Settembrino appointed to the Library Board, what qualifications did he have to serve on the Board and whether or his presence on the Board was in conflict with his position as a Township Committee person.
Read Issue #3 >>>> Here Read Issue #4 >>>> Here

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Filed under budget surplus, Its Your Town, Kevin Settembrino, Middletown Library, Newsletter, surplus funds, Susan O'Neal, Tony Fiore