>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.
Category Archives: Gerry Scharfenberger
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.”…
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.
>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.
>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.
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
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?
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:
I couldn’t agree more.
>Democrats Byrnes & Mahoney Lose In Middletown;Township Committee Will Revert Back To 5-0 Super Majority
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.