It is time for Middeltown to hire a non-partisan, outside accounting firm to do a complete and thorough forensic audit of the municipal budget.
Now I don’t know if this should be considered good news or bad news. I’ve been told by a person who works for the Township and wishes to remain anonymous because they are afraid of reprisal, that former township CFO Bob Roth, who has been temporarily retained by Middletown to take over for current CFO Richard Wright, who mysteriously had to take a leave of absence last month during a very critical time in the Township’s budget preparations, has miraculously found $2 million hidden within the townships books.
Richard Wright’s mystery illness has been speculated about for weeks now. People have questioned whether Wright is really sick or if he was fired by the township as incompetent for the way he handled himself during meetings and for the way he botched this year’s budget.
Wright had a problem with telling the truth when questioned in open meetings. He didn’t do a very good job deflecting probing questions from Patrick Short and Sean Brynes, the two Democrats that sit on the township committee as minority members, and this really frustrated and angered his Republican bosses. Wright had also been telling everyone that this year’s budget was right on schedule and with little surprises in store, a 9.2% tax increase to cover a $2.4 million shortfall which was proposed in April was expected.
However, early last month before the committee workshop meeting, Wright notified the Township Committee that he had screwed up and that over $2 million dollars was missing. It was after this revelation that Wright went missing and Patrick Short suggested retaining the services of former CFO Bob Roth.
Now what does all this mean? Quite frankly I am not sure as of yet because I have a few questions that I haven’t gotten answers to.
Does this mean that instead of the budget being short by more than $2.4 million it really isn’t? Does it mean that the proposed budget that was presented in April will not now need a 9.2% tax increase? And where did Bob Roth happen to find this hidden money, where did it come from?
It had been said of Roth, that it was no surprise that he found the missing fund because after all he was CFO for many years; he knows “were the bodies are buried”.
How much more money and missing funds can be discovered hidden with in the Township’s books? Could it be hundreds, thousands, or millions of dollars? Who knows, but it is time to find out!