Daily Archives: August 12, 2011

Toms River Mayoral Candidate’s Call For Dissolving MUA Sounds An Awful Lot Like Dems Call In Middletown To Dissolve TOMSA

Democrats in Middletown have been calling for the the elimination of the Township of Middletown Sewerage Authority (TOMSA)for quite a while now. It is packed with former and present Republican officials — Joan Smith (former mayor), Pat Parkinson (a former mayor who is receiving a salary and all the benefits because he is a full-time employee), Tom Stokes, Chantel Bouw, Emil Wrede, James Hinckly and Charlie Rogers are all well connected members of the Middletown GOP holding various offices within the organization, add to that the name of Township Attorney Brian Nelson former member), you can start to understand the patronage hole that TOMSA has become.

Former Committeeman Sean Byrnes proposed doing away with the authority last year and moving the responsibilities to the Public Works Department because it was a huge patronage pit where all of the current members of TOMSA have been commissioners for several years or more and receive a yearly stipen,State pension credits and are entitled to a Cadillac health care plan at little cost. His proposal however fell on deaf ears or were met with ridicule.

So it is not surprising to hear that the candidat for Mayor in Toms River, Paul Brush, was meet with the same ridicule earlier this week when he spoke out about the patronage pit that is the Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA), making it his signature campaign issue this year according to an article that ran in the Asbury Park Press on Wednesday.

In a prepared statement, Brush said he was prompted to speak out again on the matter after the Township Council appointed MUA Commissioner Alfonso Manforti to fill the unexpired term of former Councilwoman Melanie Donohue-Appleby, who recently resigned to become a Superior Court judge.

At the time of his appointment, Manforti was also the president of the Toms River Regular Republican Club. He agreed to resign from the club and the MUA following his appointment to the council.

When he announced his candidacy last spring, Brush said he was incensed at the appointment last year of Brick Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis as executive director of the Toms River MUA.

Acropolis was given a $93,000 annual salary as the full-time MUA chief atop his salary as the full-time mayor of Brick, which pays him a salary of $53,000, for a total public salary of $146,000.

“This is in-your-face arrogance,” Brush said Tuesday. “Meanwhile, our mayor and council reward the MUA Commissioner (Manforti) with a position on the Township Council. This has to stop.”

Brush said the authority’s seven commissioners attend one meeting per month and are paid $2,000 with the promise of a pension while entitled to excellent health benefits. Three commissioners, including Manforti, contributed just $30 per year for health insurance, which costs the township $19,954 over the same time period.

“This flies in the face of what the governor is trying to accomplish in New Jersey, but the local politicians remain defiant of the governor,” Brush said.

Brush said the administrative functions of the MUA should be eliminated and its operation absorbed into municipal government at town hall.

“So why does the mayor and council continue to support this bureaucracy at the MUA?” Brush asked. …

…Brush said the authority’s seven commissioners attend one meeting per month and are paid $2,000 with the promise of a pension while entitled to excellent health benefits. Three commissioners, including Manforti, contributed just $30 per year for health insurance, which costs the township $19,954 over the same time period.

“This flies in the face of what the governor is trying to accomplish in New Jersey, but the local politicians remain defiant of the governor,” Brush said.

This is seems like déjàvu all over again for Dems in Middletown who have expressed the same concerns and see the similarities between what goes on between Toms River’s MUA and Middletown’s TOMSA.

Currently the only way to stop this patronage abuse In Middletown and end the entitlement to benefits that of current TOMSA commissioner feel, is not to reappoint them. Unfortunately however, when Middletown had the opportunity two years ago to save tax payers a little money by not reappointing commissioners that had been “grandfathered” against losing such benefits, the members of the Township Committee failed to act and reappointed Tom Stokes, voting 4-1 to reinstate him for another term as a TOMSA Comissioner.

Hopefully in the near future, as other commissioners are up for reappointment, the Township Committee will think differently and not reappoint their GOP cronies to the sewerage authority, but I doubt it.

Just like I doubt that the Township Committee would ever consider doing away with TOMSA and transfering its responiblities to the Middletown Department of Public Works as Sean Byrnes previously proposed.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Department of Public Works, former mayor., Middletown NJ, Middletown Sewerage Authority, Paul Brush, Toms River NJ, TOMSA

Friday Funnies: E-Trade Baby Loses Everything

With all of the volatility surrounding the stock market this week, fortunes have been lost and regained in record time. It’s enough to make even the E-Trade baby a little sick.

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Filed under E-Trade baby, Friday Funnies, stock markets, Wall Street, You Tube

APP: Middletown high school principal search down to two finalists

it’s nice to know that a replacement for Middletown South’s former Principle Dr. Anthony Shallop, is eminent but it would have been nicer if interim superintendent Pat Houston notified the Middletown Board of Education before announcing at Wednesday night’s meeting that he had already conducted four interviews and has broken it down to two candidates to replace Dr. Shallop.

According to Kevin Penton of the Asbury Park Press, some on the BOE were taken by surprise from the news. Board Vice President Christopher Aveta told Houston that members of the public expect board members to know what is going on in the district and that some board members (Aveta presumably) unaware that the interview process had even begun stating, “The board is trying to foster an environment of greater transparency”.

Houston then seemed to take offense to Aveta’s statement and according to the article posted below told board members that he was doing the job that should be expected of him, and believes he is not under any obligation to notify the board before he moves forward on conducting administrative matters.

That is a pretty bold statement coming from someone who as a former Principle of Thompson School, left the district in a lurch before retiring last year when he spent several months on personal leave.

Aveta had every right to question the interim superintendent about this, after all who is really in charge of the district at the moment, an interim superintendent who doesn’t have much of a chance of sticking around much longer or BOE members who were elected to oversee what happens in the school system? This seems like just another example of dysfunction to me.

MIDDLETOWN — District officials have wasted no time in searching for a replacement for a principal who was demoted last month, conducting interviews with four candidates in recent days.

The progress of the search for a new principal of Middletown High School South, a process already down to two finalists, caught members of the Middletown Board of Education off guard during their meeting on Wednesday.

Board Vice President Christopher Aveta told interim Superintendent Pat Houston that members of the public expect board members to know what is going on in the district. Some board members said they were unaware that the interview process had even begun.

“The board is trying to foster an environment of greater transparency,” Aveta told the superintendent.

Houston is simply doing the job that should be expected of him, said the superintendent, who believes he is not under any obligation to notify the board before he moves forward on conducting administrative matters.

“I don’t want anyone here to think I’m trying to deceive,” said Houston, a longtime administrator in the district who was brought back from retirement after 37 years of service. “Let me be frank: I don’t hire losers. I never have.”

Houston returned to the district last month, taking over the interim superintendent position from Thomas Pagano, who resigned for health reasons. Both men have served in the position as the district looks for a permanent replacement for Karen Bilbao, who left in January.

Only a couple of weeks after being at the helm, Houston recommended that Anthony Shallop be fired from his nontenured job as principal and reinstated in his tenured position as a science teacher. For personnel reasons, the district has not disclosed disclosed the reason for the demotion.

The demotion drew dozens of outraged parents, students and district employees to the board’s previous meeting.

Aside from Houston, six other administrators and teachers sit on the committee that will recommend to the Board of Education who should be Shallop’s replacement, the superintendent said. Houston hopes to have a recommendation in place by the board’s Aug. 24 meeting, he said.

No parents were included on the committee because members of the school’s Parent Faculty Association resigned last month in response to Shallop’s demotion, Houston said. Several PFA members told the board on Wednesday that their resignations are not effective until October.

Before a decision is reached, district officials agreed they will meet with a group of students who wish to discuss the position.

“We hope you recognize what we’re looking for in a principal and take that into consideration,” student Shubhro Bose told the board.

Responding on Wednesday to continued questions from parents on what happened with Shallop, Board President Joan Minnuies said she based her decision in part on comments that the former principal made to the board.

“This board was given the opportunity to go face to face with the issue,” Minnuies said. “In no way was this personal or political.”

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Dr. Anthony Shallop, Middletown Board of Education, Middletown South High School, Pat Houston