Category Archives: Asbury Park Press

Gabrielan’s Resignation Letter

It’s been a couple of days know since Middletown Public Library Board of Trustees President Randall Gabrielan sent his resignation letter to the Township Committee. Both Middletown Patch and the Asbury Park Press have written articles about it appearing online and in print, but neither have made available the actual letter for their readers.

So for the readers of this blog and for all those interested in such things, I have a MiddletownMike exclusive. You can read Randall Gabrielan’s resignation letter ….. Here
The letter is interesting, the tone of the letter is somewhat defiant. Gabrielan now recognizes that there was a conflict of interest in signing the library purchase orders for his own books that the library was adding to it’s collection.
He mentions his dismay over the January 18th proceedings that took place at that night’s library board meeting, where the newly expanded, Township Committee friendly, board of trustees attempted to oust him as president and replace him with one of their own who had no experience whatsoever in the issues that effect library matters. He stated that instead of trying to struggle with the new realities of the currently make up of the library board that he decided to step down.
He thanked several in the letter for their past and present positive contributions to the Middletown Library including the 2002 Township Committee that voted to assume the capital expense of the “…total reconstruction and major expansion of the library…”

Gabrielan concluded his letter by taking a polite swipe at the newcomer trustees by wishing that they will become quick learners in the many issues that have threatened all libraries throughout the state and vowed to continue to follow the progress of the Middletown Library.
It’s unfortunate that Gabrielan felt compelled to resign his position on the Middletown Library Board, his presence and experience will be missed by all.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Board of Trustees, Middletown Library, Middletown Patch, Middletown Township Committee, resignation, resignation request

APP Editorial: Shameful start out of the box

Here is an editorial that the Asbury Park Press has gotten right and if you read the comment posted by readers afterwards, they all seem to agree:

The new 5-0 Republican majority on the Monmouth County freeholder board got off to a disgraceful start this week: Its first order of business was rescinding its tough 2008 pay-to-play campaign finance restrictions. Welcome back to the world of one-party rule.

The old ground rules, passed in response to Operation Bid Rig, a sting targeting money laundering and political corruption that led to the arrests of 13 politicians in the county in 2005, was a huge step in putting an end to the sort of legal bribery that allowed graft to flow freely.

The freeholders now seem to believe that graft and corruption are a thing of the past. Either that or they want to cement their one-party grip on the board, briefly lost the past few years, by ensuring campaign contributors are aptly rewarded when it comes time to handing out contracts.

Under the previous rules, individual contributions were capped at $300, while a firm’s contribution was limited to $2,600. Candidates could not accept a contribution from another county’s political party in excess of $2,600 per election.

Now that those rules have been rescinded, the board will be guided by the state’s lenient “fair and open” bidding process for counties and municipalities, which state Comptroller Matthew Boxer has said is anything but.

In a commentary in the Press last year, Boxer wrote, “The pay-to-play law presents few, if any, real obstacles to local government entities seeking to reward politically favored vendors with public contracts … a series of fatal flaws have essentially rendered the pay-to-play law meaningless at the local government level.”

What reason did the freeholders offer for changing their minds? Freeholder Lillian Burry, who voted for the tougher pay-to-play regulations in 2008, said they made sense then: “It appeared at the time to be a very necessary thing for us to do,” Burry said.

But now? Burry says the 2008 rules may be “too harsh” and proved “very confusing to the professionals.”

The freeholders apparently would have us believe that the people who want to do business with Monmouth County were absolutely flummoxed by the 2008 county standard, and could not fathom the differences between the county’s rules and the “fair and open” process.

If the freeholders adequately educated potential contract bidders to those differences and they still couldn’t get it, those aren’t the sort of people the county should be hiring in the first place.

What is clear is the freeholders’ action was shameless. They should reinstate the tougher pay-to-play rules. If they don’t, citizens should express their disgust at the polls.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, editorial, Lillian Burry, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Operation Bid Rig, pay-to-play

Library Board Treasurer Sherry Miloscia Resigns

According to tonights article posted online at the Asbury Park Press, Middletown mayor wants library chief to resign for selling his own books to library, board treasurer Sherry Miloscia has resigned her position as Treasurer of the Middletown Library.

According to the APP, Miloscia resigned shortly after Tony Fiore sent his letter of wrong doing to the library board accusing Board President Randall Gabrielan of unethically and inappropriately selling books to the library and asking for his resignation as President of the Library Board of Trustees.
The APP’s article has a little bit more information pertaining to the book sales in question that have been going on for the past several years and were apparently OK with the Township Committee because nothing was ever said or acted upon until know even with Committeeman Kevin Settembrino sitting on the the Library Board as the Mayor’s Designee last year .
The article states:

Of each of the $20 to $30 books that the library purchased, Gabrielan said he ultimately received 40 percent. Of the $778.45, 40 percent would total $311.38.

With Sherry Miloscia’s resignation, it seems that Tony Fiore and the Middletown GOP have gotten what they wanted even if Randall Gabrielan doesn’t resign his position. Once they appoint their hand picked replacement of Miloscia, they will have wrestled control away from the protectors of the library so that they will have free access to any and all surplus or reserved funds that the library may be able to accumulate for a rainy day and redirect it for their own purposes.

UPDATE :

The APP has edited it’s story for the todays morning printed edition.

As it turns out Sherry Miloscia DID NOT resign after Fiore sent his letter to the Library Board but resigned on on January 20th, which was before the letter was sent.
Below is the edited version appearing in print today:

On Jan. 20, a couple of days before Fiore sent his letter, board treasurer Sherry Miloscia resigned from her unpaid position, she said.

Miloscia, whose signature also appears on several of the invoices, did not comment beyond specifying when she resigned. Her term was due to expire at

the end of the year.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Board of Trustees, Kevin Settembrino, Middletown Library, Randall Gabrielan, resignation, Sherry Miloscia, unethical behavior

What I Learned; Ted Gets An Assistant, Janet Gets A Raise And Gregg Takes The Money

Kevin Penton of the Asbury Park Press had a small article posted online last night about the future of Middletown’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

The article didn’t contain anything that we didn’t already know about how the department will be restructured. Middletown’s Department of Public Works headed by Ted Maloney, will take over the maintance of the township’s parks and Janet Adams, the director of the Tonya Keller Community Center will oversee how township parks and beaches are used by various groups.

What I did learn from the article is that Middletown will be hiring Ted Maloney an assistant director, Janet Adams will get a nice raise and former Director of Parks and Recreaction Gregg Silva, who retired on January 1st while under an unspecified investigation, will walk away with a big fat lump sum payment from the Township for unused sick and vaction days!

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Department of Parks and Recreation, Department of Public Works, Gregg Silva, kevin penton, Ted Maloney, Tonya Keller Center

FOUR LITTLE WORDS THAT SAY A LOT ABOUT HOW THE TOWNSHIP DOLES OUT APPOINTMENTS: “When they asked me.”

by guest blogger Linda Baum

Quote of the day goes to Brock Siebert, who, when asked when he knew he’d been appointed as a Library trustee by the Township Committee, replied, “When they asked me.” I think that confirms that the Township does not require the submission of a board membership application as a pre-requisite for appointment. In fact, I checked. There is no application for Mr. Siebert on file with the Township.

In Kevin Penton’s 1/2/12 APP article “Advocate is not reappointed” about the dwindling membership on the Middletown Human Rights Commission (MHRC), Mayor Tony Fiore is quoted as saying he is unaware of any other Township resident who had expressed an interest in serving on the Commission, besides Dr. Schwebel, whose term expired at the end of 2011. Fiore is implying that a lack of willing candidates is the reason no appointments were made. However, as Brock Siebert’s appointment to the Library Board demonstrates, the Township will seek out candidates who haven’t necessarily expressed an interest in appointment. So Mr. Fiore’s excuse about the MHRC vacancies doesn’t fly. In fact, Dr. Schwebel knows at least one other person who applied but never received a response.

If you would like to see the MHRC survive and are interested in serving, you can find the board membership application….. Here

You may not hear back from the Township, but at least Mayor Fiore can’t say he didn’t know you were interested.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Board of Trustees, Carolyn Schwebel, Linda Baum, Middletown Human Rights Commission, Middletown Library, Tony Fiore

Recommended Reading; APP: Exiting freeholder Amy Mallet pledges to stay involved, seeks seat on Brookdale board

If you haven’t read today’s edition of the Asbury Park Press jut yet, allow me to recommend the feature on the outgoing Monmouth County Freeholder Amy Mallet. After reading I think you’ll agree, Monmouth County is about to lose a wonderful public servant.

It’s a well written piece that highlights not only Amy Mallet’s accomplishments as a Freeholder, but shows also how respected she was by others on the board, there are a couple of very nice comments attributed to John Curly and Thomas Arnone towards her.
Freeholder Mallet stated in the article that she doesn’t have any plans to seek office again this November but expressed her desire to be appointed to the Brookdale Community College Board of Trustees, where there are 3 open seats waiting to be filled.
I think she would be terrific in that capacity and I hope that politics doesn’t come into play with 3 seats on the board needing to be filled, remeber how she was out in front last year calling for the resignations of those responsible for the scandal that rocked Brookdale and forced College President Peter Burnham to resign and other to step down from the board of trustees.
Whatever the future holds for Freeholder Mallet, I wish her nothing but the best of luck pursuing her endeavors. I feel privileged to have gotten to know her over the past 4 years and know that she will be successful in which ever path she chooses to stroll down.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Board of Trustees, Brookdale Community College, Freeholder Amy Mallet, reorganization

Quote Of The Day #2: “You can say it’s political…”

Our second quote of the day comes from newly reappointed Middletown Mayor Tony Fiore, from statements made to reporter Kevin Penton in todays Asbury Park Press concerning the appointments of members to (or lack thereof) the Middletown Human Rights Commission and its former Chairperson Carolyn Scwhebel.

“You can say it’s political, you can say it’s personal choice,” Fiore said. “She doesn’t work well with the town.”

Mrs. Scwhebel recently sent a letter to the editor, Middletown Human Rights Commission Being Abolished by Attrition, to local publication (this blog included) that expressed her concerns at not being reappointed to the commission.

And when you consider what went on during the last Township Committee meeting of 2011 back on Dec.19th, Fiore’s comments only reinforce what I wrote about in the post Political Affiliations Over Participation Matter More When It Comes To Board Appointments, when discussing an appointment to the Middletown Library Board (listen to the audio).

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, blog, Board of Trustees, Carolyn Schwebel, kevin penton, Middletown Human Rights Commission, Middletown Library, Quote of the day, Tony Fiore

APP: Middletown places Parks and Recreation director on administrative leave

Only a few hours after last night’s Middletown Township Committee meeting was over, Kevin Penton of the Asbury Park Press posted online his story about Middletown’s Park and Recreation Director Gregg Silva being placed on administrative leave.

In my earlier blog post on the subject, Penton was one of the journalist that I eluded in the post, that had tried to contact Township Administrator Tony Mercantante for a comment about Silva last week.
After last night’s Township Committee meeting, I noticed that Kevin Penton had approached Mr. Mercantante and was speaking to him for a prolonged time. When Penton exited Town Hall, I nodded to him and asked if he had heard anything new concerning Gregg Silva. He started to say that he had sent Mercantante an email last Thursday but he hadn’t checked to see if he received a response or not. He was about to say more but a gentleman interrupted him and started asking him about Middletown’s Shadow Lake, so we never finished our conversation.
It is apparent however from the article, Penton spoke to both Mercantante and soon to be ex-mayor Tony Fiore (who refused to comment), about Gregg Silva. Unfortunately, as expected, Mercantante didn’t say much to Penton other than confirm that Silva was placed on administrative leave:

Gregg Silva is still a township employee and is receiving pay while an investigation proceeds, said Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante, who declined to specify the details of the inquiry.

“At this point, he is not in his office,” said Mercantante, referring to Silva. “We’ve agreed for him not to come in until we look at a few issues.”

Mercantante declined to specify when Silva was placed on administrative leave, saying it occurred within the last 30 days. A date for the leave to expire has not been set, he added.

You can read what Kevin Penton wrote …Here, but remember where you read the details about Silva’s administrative leave first.

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Filed under administrative leave, Asbury Park Press, Gregg Silva, kevin penton, Middletown Parks and Recreation, Tony Fiore, Tony Mercantante

Crime Scene Middletown: Local Crime Statistics Mirror County’s But Appear To Be On The Rise For 2011

The Asbury Park Press has an article posted about the rising crime rate for Monmouth and Ocean Counties. It states that according to the NJ State Police Uniform Crime Report for 2010 incidents of major crime( violent crimes of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, and the nonviolent crimes of burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) rose by 7% in Ocean County and 4% in Monmouth County in the year following 2009.

Seeing how I reside in Middletown, which has a population of 67,000 residents spreadout over 42 square miles, I am not really interested in what is happening in Ocean County, I’m more interested in what’s happening closer to home.

According to the APP article:

In Monmouth County, most categories of violent crime remained stable, although aggravated assaults fell 11 percent. The increase in overall major crimes in Monmouth County was partly attributable to a 6.5 percent uptick in the number of burglaries, from 2,528 to 2,694.

Monmouth County saw a 24 percent jump in the number of arrests for the sale or manufacture of drugs, from 455 to 562

After reading the full article it made me a bit curious about what has been going on in Middletown over this same time period, what I found locally seems to have mirrored what happened county wide.

In Middletown, while the crime index for 2010 rose a mere 0.84% over the 2009 index (12.39 vs 13.23), the incidents of Part I Crimes (Murder, Rape, Robbery, Agg. Assault,Burglary, Larceny, Auto Theft, Arson) rose 5.2% (2009/828 vs 2010/873) and the incidents of Part II Crimes (Simple Assaut,Forgery, Fraud, Embezzlement,Vandalism, Weapons, Other Sex Offenses, Disorderly Conduct and Other) rose 13% (2009/4454 vs 2010/5111).

I found this information posted on the Middletown Township website posted under the Police Department link for the year to date Crime Stats. I’ve been keeping an eye on these statistics for most of the year, after I discovered them posted on the Township website a number of months ago. The stat sheet compares the crime index and incidents of crime in Middletown going back to 2002 and has been recently updated to include incidents of crime through October 2011.

Looking at the reported numbers thus far for 2011, it seems that the crime rate in Middletown will be somewhat higher than it was in 2010. With two months left to report crime statistics, Part I type crimes total 690 while Part II type crimes total 3932. Interestingly (or not), the arrest rate is also up over last year thus far (1599),which I suppose should be expected given the increase in incidents.

Calls for service is also up sharply and should exceed last years total of 45,587 which is staggering to me when you consider how understaffed Middletown’s Police Department is,on the flip side of that however, is that the number of summonses written thus far this year. It seems that summonses issued should also top the total of 6,473 that were issued in 2010.

Given the numbers, I think members of Middletown’s Police Department should be commended for the hard work and effort they give keeping us all safe during this time of increased criminal activity.

Residents are quick to criticize when response times are slow or when they see a police car parked on the side of the road with an officer just sitting there seeming to be doing nothing and are slow to give credit for a job well done under stressful circumstances.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, burglary, Crime Scene Middletown, crime statistics, Middletown Police Report, Monmouth County, murder, NJ State Police Uniformed Crime Report, rape, robbery

Freeholder Amy Mallet Is Asking for Your Vote Tuesday November 8 (Tomorrow)

Please vote on Tuesday! Polls are open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

I will never forget the oath I took when first elected three years ago. Difficult decisions are being made constantly, but my policies have always put People Before Politics. In the words of the Asbury Park Press where they endorsed my re-election bid for Freeholder, “Mallet has been the strongest voice for open government and fiscal restraint.”

My proud accomplishments include leading the charge in opening the Monmouth County Veterans Service Office, initiating the first major installation of solar power for County buildings, and the Wellness Discount Card for all residents of Monmouth County. I sent the library budget back because I would not accept tax increases to fatten up a reserve fund which resulted in saving taxpayers $6 million.

As the “watchdog” of the board, I’ve successfully fought for more transparency in government. While it has improved, there is still more work to do. What sets me apart is my commitment to serving all the people of Monmouth County. I am the only member of the present board who supports a healthy policy of term limits for members of our autonomous boards and commissions. I have stood up against costly cronyism and maintain a very high ethical standard. It is my hope that the people of Monmouth County will come out to support me in this year’s election since there is more work to be done.

On Tuesday, November 8, I ask you to cast your vote for Amy Mallet and my running mate, William Shea for Freeholder.

Sincerely,

Freeholder Amy Mallet

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Filed under Amy Mallet, Asbury Park Press, Bill Shea, Board of Chosen Freeholders, Democratic Candidate, election day