Ever since the news broke about Gerry Scharfenberger being appointed by Governor Christie to a $95,000 a year job as the new Director of the Office for Planning Advocacy and then keeping it quite by lying to the press when asked by several local news organizations such as the Asbury Park Press,Two River Times, Greater Media’s the Independent and RedBankGreen.com about his current employer during this past election season, I’ve been receiving a ton of emails and comments left on this blog from friends and other Middletown residents that are upset at being deceived once again by the master of deception himself, Gerry Scharfenberger.
These people, some of whom voted for Scharfenberger, are angry and want to know what can be done about overturning the outcome of Tuesday’s election due to the fact that if they had known in advance about Gerry’s new position in Trenton it may have changed their votes.
But what really has them upset is his lame excuses for not making the appointment public knowledge back in August when he accepted the job. Scharfenberger has been quoted as saying “”I just assumed that everyone knew.” by the Asbury Park Press and “I wasn’t go to promote it to help my election, which I thought would be unfair.” by the Atlantic Highlands Herald.
Many of these people think that keeping this information from the public, while not illegal, was unethical and the equivalent to fraud. They are thinking of taking action against Scharfenberger by starting a Recall campaign against him.
When I heard this for the first time, I thought it was an intriguing idea so I looked up the Recall Provision in the NJ State Constitution to see what it would entail.
Article 1, section 2b explains what needs to be done in order to recall a local public official as follows:
The people reserve unto themselves the power to recall, after at least one year of service, any elected official in this State or representing this State in the United States Congress. The Legislature shall enact laws to provide for such recall elections. Any such laws shall include a provision that a recall election shall be held upon petition of at least 25% of the registered voters in the electoral district of the official sought to be recalled. If legislation to implement this constitutional amendment is not enacted within one year of the adoption of the amendment, the Secretary of State shall, by regulation, implement the constitutional amendment, except that regulations adopted by the Secretary of State shall be superseded by any subsequent legislation consistent with this constitutional amendment governing recall elections. The sufficiency of any statement of reasons or grounds procedurally required shall be a political rather than a judicial question.
After reading the provisions it seems that all which is needed is to collect Scharfenberger is the signatures from 25% of all the registered voters in Middletown on a petition, which would be about 12 thousand or so, within 160 days. It seems doable but I doubt that it is plausible, recall efforts very seldom work, many signatures are challenged and thrown out by the powers that be and it is extremely time consuming to gather all those signatures
So we are probably stuck with him until he either resigns on his own from the Township Committee or is eventually thrown out of office by the voters after the next election. With that being said though, if anyone truly wants to start the recall effort, I’d sign my name to it.