>With the controversy surrounding the Middletown Township Committee and it’s attempted extortion to grab hold of perceived surplus funds from the Middletown Library, tonight’s meeting of the Township Committee should be a good one. A house full of library supporters are expected to back the court room tonight to further voice their concerns over the money grab by the Township Committee.
Category Archives: extortion
>Middletown Mayor Holds A Gun To The Head Of Library System In The Attempt To Extort $1.2M; Massive Police Layoffs Threatened
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.
>According to an email I received, sent out by Middletown Library treasurer Sherry Miloscia ealier today to friends, asking them to forward it along to other friends and supporters of the Middletown Library system, the Middletown Township Committee has issued an ultimatum to the Library’s Board of Trustees; Give us your money or else!
The Township Committee is looking for funds to plug a huge gap in this year’s budget and it seems that one possible way to fill in this gap is to use extortion as a weapon against the Middletown Library.
Middletown’s newest Committeeman, Kevin Settembrino, had himself appointed as the Township’s representative on the Library’s Board of Trustees. During his first official meeting as member of the Board of Trustees in January, Settembrino made it known that he was after $2.3 million of library funds which would be used to offset the current Township budget.
According to the email posted below, Settembrino made it very clear that either the Board of Trustees hand over the funds to the Township or suffer the consequences; the replacement of current board members when their terms expire with those more friendly to the Township Committee and/or turning over the Middletown library system to the County for inclusion into its system.
I was wondering how long it was going to take before this leaked out I had heard a number of weeks ago that the “sinister” Mr. Settembrino, had an unofficial meeting with library trustees shortly after being elected to the Township Committee last November. Settembrino took the opportunity to introduce himself as the new Township representative to the Board of Trustees and let it be known that he would be looking into ways on how to seize Library’s funds for Township use.
This was a campaign issue that Mr. Settembrino mentioned at the LVGA Meet the Candidates night back in October, so calling the mayor as Sherry Miloscia mentioned at the end of her email, will not help much. Mayor Fiore and the rest of the Township Committee are the ones that appointed Mr. Settembrino to the Library Board in the first place.
So if you are interested in expressing your views over this issue, I suggest you attend the Library’s Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday night in the Community Room of the Main Library on New Monmouth Rd.
From: Sherry Miloscia
Subject: Library Meeting
Date: Friday, February 11, 2011, 1:07 PM
If you can make it, I’d like to invite all of you to the Middletown Township Library Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, February 16 at 7:00 pm in the Community Room. The meeting is open to the public and you will also have an opportunity to speak, if you wish.
The township committee is trying to decrease their own shortfall by having the library give back part of our budget (illegal to ask for), pay rent (also illegal) or they will start the process to make us part of the county library. If that happens, the branches will close and other towns who are part of the county library system but not that close to the Shrewsbury branch of the county library will come to Middletown instead. Parking is already difficult today, but will be near impossible if that happens. Or, they can choose to close the Middletown Library completely and then you will only have the option to go to Shrewsbury or to any of the member towns that have a library. You will still have to pay for the library as part of the taxes; it will just move from your municipal to your county taxes. They also threatened to not reappoint the trustees and replace us with people who are more sympathetic to what they are asking for.
The person representing the township committee is Kevin Settembrino. He replaced a valuable member of our Board in January, presented his demands at the January meeting, and is expecting an answer at the February meeting. We will have our attorney there to explain our position, but it would also be helpful to have library supporters at the meeting, as well. Mr. Settembrino does not have a library card. He does not have children who use the library and has not attended any programs.
If the Library Board gives Mr. Settembrino everything he asks for, we won’t be able to operate the library anymore. He’s asking for 2.3 million dollars a year, which is more than 50% of our budget. If we agreed to that, we would have to close the doors of the library.
Please forward this to anyone who you think would be impacted by this. If you can’t attend the meeting, you can also call Mayor Anthony Fiore at 732-615-2024 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.