Category Archives: Gerry Scharfenberger

>Did Someone Say Recall?

>Just a thought, but after the last two posts about the critical editorial and column that appear in today’s edition of the Asbury Park Press, maybe it isn’t such a stretch to be thinking of recalling Scharfengerger from the Middletown Township Committee.

All we need is someone to lead the effort then I’m sure that the rest will fall into place. What do you think, who out there is ready to take this on?

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Filed under Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown, recall, recall petition

>Planners question credentials of Middletown committeeman coordinating N.J. policy

>Wow, what an article in today’s Asbury Park Press written by Kevin Penton, to go along with the Press’s editorial about Middletown’s mayor, Gerry Scharfenberger.

Kevin Penton really delved into the story by asking those that deal with the Office of Planning Advocacy, if they thought that Middletown’s Scharfenberger was qualified to head the department, the consensus of those asked seems to be a resounding NO and they question his appointment.

Here are a few excerpts from the article, but make sure that you read follow-up and the article in it’s entirety to get the full impact of what was written:

“Digging up rocks doesn’t make you a planner,” remarked Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The only science being conducted in this office is political science, not real science.”

...Just like former Gov. Jim McGreevey and Gov. Jon S. Corzine before him, Gov. Chris Christie hired a politician who lacks state accreditation as a licensed planner to direct what is now the Office of Planning Advocacy, said Charles Latini, president of the New Jersey chapter of the American Planners Association…

…”The administration seems to be moving slowly and deliberatively in specific areas,”… “The planning community doesn’t have a clue where they’re going.”…

Shawn Crisafulli, a spokesman for the Department of State… did not answer how many candidates were considered for Scharfenberger’s position, whether he had to undergo an application and interview process or was simply appointed, and whether the state advertised the open position….

…That a politician, rather than a planner, was chosen to head the agency that coordinates planning for New Jersey demonstrates what anyone looking at the Office of Planning Advocacy needs to know about its future priorities, said the Sierra Club’s Tittel….

…”It’s disgraceful,” said Tittel, who is concerned the Office of Planning Advocacy may become further politicized under the Department of State. “They really want to play politics and not do planning, which is supposed to be their jobs.”…

…Carlos Rodrigues, who worked in the Office of Smart Growth from 1994 to 2004, said when the state needed a director for the agency in the past, it conducted national searches, seeking experienced professionals with planning backgrounds.

“It was taken seriously,” said Rodrigues, a senior fellow with the Regional Planning Association. “Now we have a mayor as the head of the office? That’s a really, really bad idea. It’s ridiculous.”…

…Latini said he does not understand how the state permits anyone without a planning accreditation to be able to head the Office of Planning Advocacy…

…Rodrigues said the Christie administration needs to decide whether it is taking the Office of Planning Advocacy, and its cost to taxpayers, seriously.

“If you’re not going to fix it, then get rid of it,” Rodrigues said. “It’s an embarrassment the way it is, a complete sham.”…


Amazing isn’t it, how does Christie get a way with appointing Scharfy to such an important position as this, with no experience or certification in planning, when the state of the economy is in need of experienced people to help nurture its growth while the state is trying to recover from this devastating national recession?
Instead of stepping down from Middletown’s Township Committee as some have proposed, maybe Gerry should give up his new job and go back to being an archaeologist. I’m sure that some private sector firm could use someone who’s PhD thesis was on the composition of Colonial era glass (or something to that effect) and leave the planning of the recovery of the state’s economy to someone more qualified in that field.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, editorial, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Chris Christie, kevin penton, Middletown, Office of Planning Advocacy

>APP Editorial: (Scharfenberger) Tongue tied for a reason

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For those that keep questioning whether or not it was ethical for Middletown’s mayor, Gerry Scharfenberger, to take a position within the Christie Administration and not say anything about it until after the election, I want to refer them to today’s Asbury Park Press editorial on the subject.
The APP questions Scharfenberger’s honesty (something local democrats have been doing for years) and Governor Christie double standards regarding those that would hold two public jobs. They also call into question Scharfenberger’s qualifications for the job, wondering if Scharfenberger’s only qualification for the job was his non-stop and incessant grandstanding , calling the governor a “rock star” at Township meetings and other political events.
The APP concludes the editorial by insisting that “Scharfenberger should resign from one of his positions. If he doesn’t, Christie should either insist on it or explain why he has changed his thinking on public servants holding more than one public job.”
That conclusion is hard to argue against even if you are an ardent supporter of Scharfy, the Middletown GOP or the Governor himself.
Below is the full text of the editorial:

Middletown Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger was disingenuous at best and downright dishonest at worst when he kept mum about a state job he took while running for re-election. It seems that politicians only keep their mouths shut when they’ve got something to hide.

That seems to be the case with Scharfenberger, who started working as the executive director of the state Office of Planning Advocacy in mid-August while running for a third term on the Township Committee. The full-time state job, which pays $95,000 a year, is not so much a case of double-dipping — Scharfenberger doesn’t take a salary as mayor — as it is mendacity. It’s a lie of omission.

Scharfenberger’s hiring also again raises the question of whether a double standard exists in the Christie administration regarding people holding two public positions. And whether hiring decisions are based on qualifications or politics.

In September, Christie unveiled a package of ethics reforms that proposed a ban on elected officials holding more than one public job — regardless of whether they were drawing a paycheck. That same month, Jackson Mayor Mike Reina, a Christie loyalist who had been working as a security guard at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant, was appointed to a $78,000-a-year position at the state Department of Transportation, which, according to its website, was in the midst of a hiring freeze. Reina was hired as a “confidential aide” in the Office of Emeergency Managment.

Two weeks ago, an Asbury Park Press reporter working on a Middletown election preview story asked Scharfenberger what he did for a living. He said he was an archaeologist and a Monmouth University professor. (He is an adjunct faculty member.) Did his new day job just slip his mind? Well, no. Last week, asked why he didn’t mention the state job at the time, Scharfenberger said, “I just assumed that everyone knew.”

As head of what used to be called the Office of Smart Growth, Scharfenberger is responsible for guiding economic growth and land use through state planning, said Shawn Crisafulli, a spokesman for the Department of State, which oversees the office.

“The administration hired him because of his public experience,” Crisafulli said. “Dr. Scharfenberger has vast expertise in land use, zoning, planning and open space.”

Did the Christie administration settle on the archaeologist after an extensive nationwide search? The state isn’t saying.

“Out of fairness to both Dr. Scharfenberger and any other candidates we interviewed and considered, we do not discuss this process publicly,” Crisafulli said.

It seems one of Scharfenberger’s chief qualifications was his sycophantic boosterism of the governor, calling him a “rock star” during Township Committee meetings and at political events, and shilling for him at every opportunity.

Scharfenberger has had a few months to settle into his new position, and according to some knowledgeable observers, it is disconcerting that a politician and not an accredited planner has been appointed to this pivotal job. Qualified or not, Scharfenberger should heed Christie’s words about the problems inherent in one person holding two public jobs — even if Christie doesn’t hold members of his own party to that standard.

Scharfenberger should resign from one of his positions. If he doesn’t, Christie should either insist on it or explain why he has changed his thinking on public servants holding more than one public job.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, editorial, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Chris Christie, Office of Planning Advocacy

>Was The New Director Of The Office of Planning Advocacy "On The Clock" When He Was Acting As Middletown Mayor During Meeting With NJDEP Officials?

>Back on October 21st a meeting took place at the office of Cindy Randazzo, the Director of NJDEP office of Local Government Assistance, in Trenton for the purpose of discussing options for dredging Middletown’s Shadow Lake.

In attendance at this meeting were various DEP personnel that had concerns with the dredging plans presented by the Township, representatives from T&M Engineering, State Senator Joe Kyrillos, the new Director for the Office of Planning and Advocacy (Mayor) Gerry Scharfenberger and several Middletown Township representatives.
From what I understand the meeting wasn’t very productive, the two sides (Middletown verses the NJDEP) couldn’t come to an agreement concerning the scope of the project or what to do with the spoils. The NJDEP made it clear that burying contaminated spoils from the bottom of Shadow Lake in neighboring Stevenson Park was out of the question and recommended that the project be downsized to fall within budget constraints while the Township, lead by the new Director for the office of Planning Advocacy (Gerry Scharfenberger) and Joe Kyrillos insisted that dredging the whole lake and burying the spoils near by was the only way of dealing with the lake. As you can imagine, no resolution to this issue was forth coming and another meeting was planned on for a future date.
After learning this yesterday I began to wonder about Scharfy’s role during this meeting. As the Director for Planning Advocacy, Gerry’s duties are “asking questions about policy, overseeing planners and GIS specialists. To help spur economic growth and revitalize the economy by, for example, reusing commercial properties” he has stated and the purpose of the Office for Planning Advocacy is to stimulate new growth and business opportunities for those wishing to do business in the State. His position is a full time job, 40+ hours a week, that pays him $95K a year.
What was he doing on “company” time, at a meeting with Joe Kyrillos, the NJDEP, Engineers from T&M and other from Middletown discussing Shadow Lake in the middle of a work week?
He certainly wasn’t there to promote smart growth or new business opportunities I can tell you that as require by his job title, he was present representing Middletown as it’s Mayor.
It’s nice to know that in his new position as Director of Planning Advocacy, his boss the Governor, allows him time to pursue other interests that are contrary to what he is suppose to be doing as Director.
I am sure that the 1,200 State employees will be happy to learn of this as well. Here they are losing their jobs while Gerry is running around the city of Trenton wasting tax payer dollars, acting as Middletown’s mayor when he should be in his office somewhere, asking questions about policy, overseeing planners and GIS specialists to help spur economic growth and revitalize the State economy.
Do you think he left early that day or did he stay late to make up for the time he was conducting Township business on State time?

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Filed under dredging, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Chris Christie, Joe Kyrillos, NJDEP, Office of Planning Advocacy, Shadow Lake, Trenton

>APP’s Bob Ingle: He didn’t mention that $95,000 Trenton job

>Gerry Scharfenberger’s appointment as Director of the Office for Planning Advocacy by Governor Christie, seems to have caused a big stir around the State, so much so that Senior Political Columnist for Gannett New Jersey Newspapers,Bob Ingle, has written about it on his Politics Patrol blog which appears online today over at the Asbury Park Press website. As an additional FYI for those that aren’t familiar with Bob Ingles’s work, he co-wrote The New York Times’ Best Seller, “The Soprano State: New Jersey’s Culture of Corruption.”

In his blog post today (full text below), Ingle doesn’t buy Gerry’s reasoning as to why he did not disclose his appointment to his new job before the election and seems to be disappointed in Governor Christie for making the appoinment in the first place and suggests that Gerry should step down from his seat on the Middletown Township Committee or resign from his position as Director of Planning Advocacy. He states that if Gerry doesn’t give up his seat then Middletown voters should remember this if he ever seek re-election again in the future.

Ingle’s opinion in this matter just may spark a few more calls to action by those that are begining to talk about a possible recall petition against Scharfenberger if he decides to continue his service on the Township Committee come January.

Republican Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger of Middletown has been in a $95,000 a year state job since August but his Democratic opponents in last week’s election say that’s news to them. Kevin Penton of The Asbury Park Press reports during the campaign Scharfenberger was asked by a reporter about his employment, and he only replied that he was an archaeologist and an member of the Monmouth University adjunct faculty. After the election when asked why he did not mention the $95,000 state job at the time, Scharfenberger said: “I just assumed that everyone knew.” He noted that his name is on the state’s website in connection to the position. That doesn’t hold water. If a reporter asks what you do for work you don’t say you’re a an archaeologist and an member of the Monmouth University adjunct faculty but clean forget about that $95,000 a year post of executive director of the state Office of Planning Advocacy you drive all the
way to Trenton for.

Shawn Crisafulli, spokesman for the Department of State which oversees the office, said the Christie administration “hired him because of his public experience … ” (It certainly wasn’t for his passion for full disclosure.) Scharfenberger said he decided to run for re-election so he could help implement Gov. Christie’s fiscal proposals, such as civil service and binding arbitration reform. By acting as he did he damaged the image of the Christie administration. Friday we had calls to the radio show blaming the governor for this. I’ve gotten email about it as well.

Scharfenberger said he is not accepting his salary as a member of the township committee. Scharfenberger works at least 40 hours a week from Trenton in the position, said Crisafulli, who does not anticipate a conflict between his working as director of a state agency while serving as an elected official.

Scharfenberger should give up one position or the other. If he should he seek office again voters should remember how he handled this. This is the kind of thing Chris Christie was elected to stop. I can believe the Democrats didn’t do a thorough vetting of their opponent. I can believe many people in Middletown knew about this other job.

What I don’t buy is his excuse for not mentioning the $95,000 job in Trenton when a reporter asked him. His response is not believable.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Bob Ingle, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Chris Christie, Middletown NJ, Office of Planning Advocacy, recall petition

>Is A Scharfenberger Recall Effort Possibly Underway In Middletown?

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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.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Atlantic Highlands Herald, Gerry Scharfenberger, Governor Christie, Middletown NJ, Middletown Township Committee, recall petition

>Who’s the Career Politician Now?

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Isn’t it ironic that after campaign literature was sent out by Gerry Scharfenberger and his buddies that make up the Middletown GOP accusing Democratic opponent Committeeman Sean Byrnes of being a career politician, that it is Gerry Scharfenberger who winds up being the real career politician now that he has been appointed to a new position within the Christie administration?

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Filed under career politician, Gerry Scharfenberger, Sean F. Byrnes

>Unbelievable, Win or Lose Scharfy Was Going to Trenton

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The news coming out of Middletown today about our acting mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, is unbelievable but not really unexpected, many in Middletown thought that Scharfy had higher political aspirations then just sitting around Middletown pretending to care about the town, while driving up the municipal tax rate by 45% during his tenure as a member of the Township Committee.

Today’s announcement that Scharfy has been appointed by Governor Christie to a $95,000 a year job as the new Director of the Office for Planning Advocacy (formerly the Office of Smart Growth), just confirmed it. His appointment to this position is a strange one considering after all considering that the man doesn’t know how to plan for a township budget that doesn’t include huge tax increases.

But I guess the only real qualifications needed for this appointment was his incessant and partisan bashing of all that were not of his same political affiliations and the nonstop, obsessive, sucking-up to Christie that borders on some strange kind of “Bromance”.

Does this mean that he will be leaving his current job as a Senior Lead Archaeologist for GAI Consultants and giving up his part-time teaching job at Monmouth University? I don’t see how he can find time for two full-time jobs, one part-time job and still have time to “volunteer” his services as a member of the Middletown Township Committee. Knowing how egotistical Scharfenberger is, I’m sure that he wont let it get in his way. He’ll continue to serve out his newly elected term while padding his State pension with his new found tax payer windfall.

I wonder how many people would have voted for this sleazy political hack if they had known before Tuesday’s election he would be leaving Middletown to work for Christie in Trenton? I mean really, this appointment didn’t just happen over night. It had to have been planned, win or lose, for weeks if not months.

How good does this appointment look anyway for Christie, do you think that he will get any slack from the public after announcing that 1,200 public employees will be losing their jobs in January? I’m sure one public employee isn’t to happy about it, that would be Acting Executive Director of the Office for Planning Advocacy , Linda Kellner, who has to make way for Scharfenberger.

As an anonymous poster stated on a previous post when the learned about Scharfy’s new gig:


“Scharfy is now exposed and deceptive as usual. All along only interested in self promotion. Appointed to a business position.That’s beautiful, can’t even do his own budget. Great choice Christie.”

I couldn’t agree more.

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Filed under Chris Christie, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown, Middletown Township Committee, Office of Planning Advocacy, Trenton

>Democrats Byrnes & Mahoney Lose In Middletown;Township Committee Will Revert Back To 5-0 Super Majority

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It was a somber night as district results started rolling in to the Democratic Headquarters at the Leonardo American Legion, it was evident early on that it wasn’t going to be a good night for Democratic Committeeman Sean Byrnes or his running mate Mary Mahoney. From the moment that the first few districts started reporting in, the numbers didn’t look good. Byrnes and Mahoney only managed to capture 6 out of 46 districts and gave their concession speeches shortly after 9pm.

It was a real disappointment to many in the room after it seemed that so much of what transpired during this election season in Middletown, was leaning in the Democrats favor. From the turf field debacle in Lincroft, to the 13.87% increase to the municipal tax rate, people in town were angry at the leadership of Gerry Scharfenberger and his GOP majority, who seem to take residents for granted.

With their victory yesterday, the Middletown Township Committee will once again revert back to the 5-0 Republican super majority that it had enjoyed for nearly 20 years before Patrick Short was elected in 2006 and then Sean Byrnes in 2007.

What will that mean for residents in Middletown? It will mean less transparency and more decisions being made behind closed doors with little or no public discussion, much like it was previous to Short’s election.

Flooding issues in Port Monmouth and Leonardo will be once again placed on the back burner due to budget and cost concerns which means relief for residents in those areas will have to wait another 20 years for solutions and those that wish to see Township Committee meetings televised on the Township’s public access cable channels are out of luck, it will never happen.

Township engineering and legal fees will continue to increase because the Majority will continue to appoint the same firms to represent the Township without first competitively bidding those services out to lower costs, like Sean Byrnes has advocated for.

The local environment is also at risk. If Gerry Scharfenberger gets his way thousands of metric tons of carcinogenic and arsenic laced spoils will be dredged and from the bottom of Shadow Lake and burried in Stevenson Park against NJDEP wishes, instead of investigating alternative solutions like what may be proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers, which now has as part of their mission, responibilities over the ecosytem.

Middletown residents deserve the type of government that they voted for, unfortunately those that they voted for will not always have the best interests of all the residents in mind. That’s why I and others, will continue to act as watchdogs over those that feel that Middletown is her to serve them as opposed to the other way around.

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Filed under artificial turf fields, Byrnes and Mahoney, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown, NJDEP, Patrick Short, Shadow Lake

>Election Day 2010

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When you go out to the polls today in Middletown remember to

And pull the lever for Sean Byrnes and Mary Mahoney

(And while you’re at it, a vote for Holt, Pallone, Venables, D’Amico and Brophy would be in order also)

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Filed under Byrnes and Mahoney, election day, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown