Category Archives: layoffs

Available Part Time Position in the Township Clerk’s Office- Middletown Township; Say What??

After threatening massive police layoffs if the members of the Middletown Police Department did not agree to substance health benefit contributions during contract negotiations, while also placing blame for those potential layoffs on the Middletown Library in order to vilify and extort nearly $500k worth of funds from it’s treasury to balance the Township budget this year, then laying off nearly the entire staff of the Middletown Parks and Recreation Department, leaving just it’s Director Gregg Silva siting behind his desk, canceling the Fall Brush Pick-up (only to pick up the brush in record time anyway due to the after effects of Hurricane Irene), sighting the need to sell the Middletown Swimm Club and canceling Middletown Day; how does the Township has the nerve to announce that it is looking to hire a part-time Clerk????

With everything that has transpired this year in Middletown and the mayor telling everyone that Middletown is broke and needs to cut back on expenses how can the Middletown justify spending money by creating a part-time position to help the full-time Township Clerk Heidi Brunt? What’s the matter can’t she handle the job herself, why does she get extra help at the expense of so many others?
It doesn’t make sense. But then again when does anything in Middletown make sense? Below is the posting for the position that was posted on the Middletown Township website Tuesday.

Clerk/Typist- Responsibilities include office filing, scanning records, records destruction, processing license applications and permits. This is a fast paced office with various different procedures and services. The Township Clerks Office administers the Elections for the Township and required presence to work for each election mandatory. Knowledge of MS Word, Excel, and Outlook a must; ability to create mail merges and spreadsheets with formulas is also required. Knowledge of AR/AP would be helpful as well as knowledge of the Imaging/scanning of records. Lifting filing boxes and climbing stairs is also part of the job duties. Resume may be e-mailed to hbrunt@middletownnj.org or mailed to Township of Middletown, One Kings Highway, Middletown, NJ 07748 by October 12, 2011.

This sounds like a great opportunity for the right person, you better apply now!

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Filed under Clerks Office, Heidi Brunt, job opening, layoffs, Middeltown Township, Middletown Day. Middletown Police, part-time work, Township Clerk

>After Receiving $41.1M Tax Subsidy For Economic Development And Job Creation Campbell’s Soup Co. Announces Layoffs

>Nothing like wasting tax payer money on corporate welfare when the money could have been used for other more important things like education, health care, property tax relief, infrastructure….

Once again Governor you definitely have your priorities straight!.

http://www.myfoxphilly.com/video/videoplayer.swf?dppversion=10588

Campbell’s Soup Co. Announces Layoffs: MyFoxPHILLY.com

CAMDEN, N.J. – Campbell’s Soup Co. plans to lay off about 770 people worldwide, Including about 130 people at its Camden headquarters, in an effort to reduce overhead and improve efficiency.


The reductions will be phased in over the next two years and will result in a savings of about $75 million dollars.

The cuts include about 10 percent of the company’s workforce in Camden, its longtime headquarters.

Fox 29’s Steve Keeley has more in this Wednesday morning live report from “Good Day.”

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Filed under Camden NJ, Campbell's Soup, Education, Fox News, Gov. Chris Christie, infrastructure, layoffs, myfoxphilly, property tax relief, tax subsidies

>Public Hearing To Discuss Budget At Tonight’s Middletown Workshop Meeting

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One of the items on the agenda at tonight’s Middletown Township workshop meeting that will be held at Town Hall@ 8PM, will the public hearing on the 2011 proposed Township Budget that was introduced last month.
I am hoping to be at tonight’s meeting but I don’t know if can will make it. I am curious to know exaclty how much the SOA (Superiors Officers’ Association) and PBA union contract settlements have saved Middletown. I would like to know the cost to the Township per individual plan and per family plan of its cadillac employee health plan and then the same for the Township’s HMO employees health care plan, so that it can be figured out approximately how much the Township will be saving based on these settled contracts. It has been reported that if union members wish to remain in the Township’s health plan, members would have to contribute 25% of the cost, whereas if union members opt out of the cadillac plan into the HMO, members would contribute 1.5% of their salaries for health coverage. So it should be easy enough to figure out savings if the numbers are supplied.

Also based on details about the contracts and information released about the layoffs that effect the Department of Parks and Recreation, I believe several people have decided retired instead of being laid off. I am wondering how these retirements have affected the budget? Seeing how the Township is using $3.5M in surplus funds to pay off tax appeals this year instead of bonding for the funds, this budget is only holding $500K in reserve. These retirements are bound to eat into the remaining surplus which would leave the township dangerously close to running out of money by years end.

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Filed under budget hearing, budget meeting, budget surplus, HMO, layoffs, Middletown NJ, Middletown PBA, Middletown Police, Middletown Township Committee

>APP: Middletown deal with police saves jobs; 9 other workers let go

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Below is what the Asbury Park Press is reporting about the deal that was struck between Middletown and it’s Police Unions, it’s pretty much what I had posted last night with a few more detail concerning the PBA agreement and additional information about those who were laid off in Parks & Recreation.

Four police officers won’t have to turn in their badges as a result of a last-minute deal struck Friday between the township and the Superior Officers Association.

However, the township’s savings from a new four-year contract for the 21 members of the association does not help the nine Parks and Recreation Department employees who were laid off Friday, said Anthony Mercantante, township administrator.

Township officials gave the local Policemen’s Benevolent Association until Monday to vote on a separate contract, which could save the jobs of six police officers, Mercantante said.

“This agreement saves jobs,” said Mayor Anthony Fiore, referring to the superior officers’ pact. “This should serve as a model for the Legislature or for other towns that can’t get things done.”

As part of the deal, Superior Officers Association members will get a 1.5 percent raise in the fourth quarter of 2011 and 2 percent raises in each of the contract’s subsequent years, Mercantante said.

Middletown will realize savings by association members either paying a larger percentage of the costs of an existing health plan or choosing to enroll in a new, more restrictive plan that will be cheaper for the township, Mercantante said. Association members who opt for the township’s top health plan will have to pay 25 percent of its cost, as opposed to 1.5 percent of their salaries, Mercantante said. Members can also choose a plan with more restrictions and continue to pay 1.5 percent of their salaries, he said.

The township’s layoff plan had included the demotions of one lieutenant and three sergeants to the patrol division, which would have led to the layoffs of four other officers, said Fred Deickmann, Superior Officers Association president. The agreement means the superior officers will not be demoted, he said.

“This is a fair deal for these trying economic times,” Deickmann said. “We’re glad the collective bargaining system worked.”

Of the 16 non-police employees facing termination, nine were laid off, three retired and four were shifted to different positions, Mercantante said….

read more >>> Here

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, kevin penton, layoffs, Middletown NJ, Middletown Parks and Recreation, Middletown Police

>Middletown Settles With Police SOA Union; PBA Members Vote Tomorrow To Save 6 From Layoff

>I don’t have all the facts but according to a friend that attended this afternoon’s special Middletown Township Committee meeting a contract settlement was reached with the Middletown Police Senior Officers Association (SOA) and a settlement with the Middletown PBA is pending union vote of approval scheduled for tomorrow morning.

Details of the settlement between Middletown and the SOA are as follows according to what I have been told:
  • 4 year contract with salary increase of with 7.5% during length of contract broken down as follows – 1.5% 2% 2% 2%.
  • No demotions or reduced pay for current Senior Officers.
  • No layoffs of Senior Officers (thanks to 2 retirements instead)
  • Members must contribute 25% of the cost of health plan if they stay with Township’s current health care plan, otherwise they must switch to a HMO based plan that members must contribute a percentage of salary to participate in (details of this however are a little sketchy and more clarification is needed.

As for the terms of the contract settlement between the Township and the members of the Middletown PBA, terms were not announced officially because the PBA union will be holding a meeting with it’s members Saturday morning (tomorrow) for ratification (terms are believed to be similar). Once the contract is ratified details will be released at Monday night’s (May 2nd) Township Workshop meeting.

It was stated however, that if this contract between the PBA and the Township is ratified only 4 of the 10 planned police layoffs will take place , saving 6 positions.
More details as they become available over the next few day…

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Filed under layoffs, Middletown NJ, Middletown PBA, Middletown Township Committee, pay giveback, Special Meeting, union contracts

>APP: Middletown’s layoff plan uncertain until today’s deadline

>Kevin Penton of the Asbury Park Press has been all over the Middletown layoff story since word of yesterday and today’s special Middletown Township Committee meetings were announced. Yesterday there were three articles posted online updating the situation.

According to Penton, no deal had been struck between Middletown and it’s Police unions, which was why yestderday’s special meeting was cancelled, however further negotiations seem to be ongoing and the Township is hopeful that it will be able to proceede with today’s special Committee meeting scheduled for 5 pm.

The spectre of layoffs will hang over the township until today’s deadline, as
municipal and police union officials failed to strike a deal on Thursday.

With Middletown’s layoff plan scheduled to take effect on Saturday,
officials from the township, the Policemen’s Benevolent Association and the
Superior Officers Association have been in talks this week on how to reduce
expenditures, Mayor Anthony Fiore said.

To meet the legal notification requirements in case a deal is struck, the Middletown Township Committee scheduled 5 p.m. meetings for Thursday and today.

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, today’s meeting is on, said Cindy Herrschaft, Middletown’s public information officer.

Middletown’s original layoff plan called for the elimination of 26 positions, including 10 police officers and 13 employees in the township’s Parks and Recreation Department.

But with some employees agreeing to retire, the number of positions to be eliminated through layoffs has decreased, Fiore said….


Read more >>> Here

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, kevin penton, labor unions, layoffs, Middletown PBA, Middletown Police

>In The Face Of Tax Increases And Layoffs Middletown’s Mayor Fiore Justifies $20K In Bonuses to Tax Assessors

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It never seizes to amaze me what the news media considers news when it involves Middletown. Case in point; Monday night was Middletown’s monthly Township Committee meeting and the only news coming from the Asbury Park Press, Redbankgreen.com and Middletown Patch about the meeting was that Middletown will be sticking to it’s intention of not exceeding Governor Christie mandated 2% cap on budgets, which is nothing new and has already been reported on numerous times, and that the budget will be introduced on April 4th, which I mentioned over the weekend.

What should have been reported as news by these three is the fact that in the face of a tax increase, employee layoffs and other potential service cuts, Tax Assessor Charles Heck and his assistant will be receiving bonuses worth $20,000 ($15K for Heck, $5K for his assistant).

Mayor Fiore justifies these bonuses because Charles Heck supposedly saved the Township $50,000 while negotiating the price of the recent Township wide reassessment with Reality Appraisal (a former employer of Heck’s) and worked many long hours helping prepare paper work for Reality Appraisal leading up to the reassessment.

When you factor in that Heck is will be receiving a statutory 2.5% raise to his $108,500 salary along with the $15,000 in bonus money, he will be receiving quite a windfall from the Township this year when other will be losing their jobs.
In the audio clip below you can hear Fiore at his best “fibbing” about why the Township Committee is giving Heck his bonus and about how last year, the entire Township Committee was in agreement about providing Heck and his assistant this windfall.
The thing is though, that when I spoke to former Township Committee Sean Byrnes about this he said that he had no recollection of a discussion taking place about Heck saving the Township $50,000. He stated that they wanted to pay him more because of all the tax appeals he had been working on, and that they subsequently approved the $400,000 price tag for reassessment by Reality Appraisal and that they (the Committee) must have worked this deal out later without him. He stated, as I had posted earlier, that last year when he was a Committeeman the Committee attempted to pass a similar resolution to reward Heck but t was dropped when he opposed it.
Fiore really needs to think about this before he opens his mouth again on this subject, I really can’t understand how he or anyone else can justify this when other peoples livelihoods are at stake. How can he look those, about to lose their jobs in the eye and tell them that someone will be receiving a bonus at their expense? If I were in contract negotiating with the Township right now, I wouldn’t cave in and give anything back when something as blatant as this is being waved in my face. I’d play hardball until the end.
It doesn’t make sense to spend $20,000 to save $30,000 when you expect a person to do a job that he is well compensated for already. Middletown tax payers should be benefiting by having the complete $50,000 put towards tax relief, after all it is their money more so than Heck’s.
On a side note, I hope those on the Library Board are paying attention to this. This is a perfect example of what others tried to warn them about before they voted to hand over $500,000 of reserved funds to the Township. The Township Committee can not be trusted to spend OUR money wisely or prudently. It’s OK to give a$15,000 bonus to an already highly compensated tax assessor but it is unconscionable give 1% raises to the lowest paid employees of the library, a raise that would average out to about $1 per week in their paychecks?
Shame on you Kevin Settembrino and the rest of you who sit on the Township Committee for allowing this to move forward.

http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.1.swf

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Filed under bonuses, budget deficit, Charles Heck, layoffs, Middletown Library, Middletown Township Committee, tax increase, taxpayers, Tony Fiore

>Middletown Mayor Holds A Gun To The Head Of Library System In The Attempt To Extort $1.2M; Massive Police Layoffs Threatened

>There is no other word for it other than EXTORTION.

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.

To be honest with you, I think this is just an elaborate, high stakes bluff on the the part of Fiore and his boys. There is no way they would risk the public’s ire and do anything that would threaten the operation of the Middletown Library. It is used by to many people that considered it to be a treasure and the most superior library in the State.
To put it in another way, they don’t have the balls to hand it over to the county!
The Library and those that operate it should stand firm against this criminal act and not succumb to the pressure from those that can’t control their own mismanagement.
Enough is enough with placing blame on others, first it was the teachers and their union, than it was public workers and their unions and now it’s the evil library and their millions that are coming between you and your tax dollars, not the gross mismanagement of Township funds by a bunch of political budgetary know-nothings that think that budgets are put together by osmosis!

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Filed under budget deficit, budget surplus, extortion, layoffs, Middletown Library, Middletown Police, Middletown Township Committee

Scharfenberger’s Green Initiative: Buy 5 New Trucks With SnowPlows While Laying Off 40 Employees

Gerry Scharfenberger likes to think of himself as the father of the Middletown Green Initiative, after all it was his idea even though there isn’t much to show for it except for the promise to turn off some lights and eventually install a few solar panels on the top of the Arts Center.

That was until now.

The Township has just taken possession of 5 brand new,beautiful Chevy Sliverado pick up trucks equipped with snowplows at a cost of $33K each.

Can someone tell me what he and the Township Administrator must be thinking when they purchase over $160K worth of trucks when the Township started the year with a $5M budget deficit? Do they think that the road to fiscal responsibliity must be driven down in trucks that cost the taxpayer $33K each?

How is a purchase like this justified when the Township has plans to layoff about 40 employees? Who is going to be driving these trucks? Maybe the Township will have the laid off employees use them to drive to the unemployment office. I am sure that the Police Department is glad that they agreed to a salary freeze for this year. We need to save every penny possible so that purchases like this can be afforded. At $33K each this totals well over $160K, which is the equivalent of salaries for 4-5 average employees on the Township payroll.

The Mayors’ Green Initiative should be about saving the green not spending it, especially since the Township does not have it to spend.

Cha-Ching!

Instead of parking these new vehicles in the Public Works Yard they are located in the school parking lot at Croydon Hall. They have not been registered yet, either.

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Filed under Chevy Silverado, Green Initiative, layoffs, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown

Middletown Vote “Yes” On The School Budget


Today’s the day; finally it’s time to vote on the school budget and chose those that we feel will represent the best interests of our children and community here in Middletown. I intend to vote in favor of the budget and for those that have shown that they really care about the future in which our kids are heading and I encourage all that read this blog to do likewise.

We will all vote to either approve or disapprove the school budget for our own reasons. I chose to vote “Yes” on the school budget because as a member of a community that values our children’s future it would be irresponsible for me to do otherwise.

Voting “No” today on the current Board of Education budget proposal will only lead to further cuts to the budget that has already been trimmed by $9.6 million. This budget has been cut to the bare bones, there is nothing left to cut without directly affecting the quality of our kids education.

Those that take Gov. Christie’s advice and vote against any school budget that does not include a teacher’s wage freeze and higher contributions to health care are naive to think that it would make a difference in Middletown.

Governor Christie took $11million dollars worth of state aid away from Middletown, a temporary wage freeze and a 1.5% contribution toward benefits by the teachers in no way would make up for that loss.

Christie is making teachers a scape-goat in his fight against unions and is trying to have local municipalities do for him what he wasn’t able to do on the state level, which is break already negotiated contracts with the unions to circumvent their collective bargaining agreements.

It’s a fight that Middletown students cannot afford to participate in; 124 individuals will be losing their jobs come June, 72 of which are teachers, larger class sizes and the loss of individual attention to students needs are looming.

The Asbury Park Press has an editorial today that asks to “Think before you cast your ballot today” it states:

…voters should support budgets where districts have worked hard to economize and vote against those where not enough has been done to control costs.” And “…Some districts have worked hard to save taxpayer money all along and should not be punished for it now…” “…If your district made every effort to excise all the fat from the budget, this year and in the past, support it…

This is the exact case in Middletown; the Board of Education has worked extremely hard over the years to control costs but regardless of those efforts Middletown students are being penalized for other districts excesses.

The editorial concludes with:

“…But bear in mind that a defeated budget will likely amount to little more than a protest vote. The better option may be to take it out on incumbent school board members, replacing them with more fiscally prudent candidates, and putting pressure on state lawmakers to approve reforms that will help contain the salaries and benefits of teachers and all public employees. “

I agree with the first sentence of the above quote, if the Middletown school budget is defeated it will amount to little more than a protest vote due to the fact that the Township Committee will then only make a token effort at spending cuts. But be aware, any more spending cuts to the budget could lead to more teachers being laid off and extracurricular activities being eliminated.

The second part of the quote in general I agree with, however in Middletown that is not the case.

The incumbents on the board of education over the years have done a fine job overseeing the education of our students and they are one of the reasons why Middletown had been voted one of the best places to live in the United States by Forbes Magazine a few years ago.

While I am not officially endorsing candidates for the Board of Education, I believe that you couldn’t vote wrong if you choose all three current members Pat Walsh, Dawn Diorio and Leonora Caminiti for new terms. They have worked extremely hard over the years to ensure our kids receive a quality education while keeping the tax rate one of the lowest in all of Monmouth County. They have continually seen to it that tax rate increases have remained below state mandated caps and have even done a better job at keeping rate increases lower than the Township Committee has done over the past 5 years.

If you decide to use your vote as a protest in order to vote against the budget or for unproven candidates that may have political agendas or ties to Middletown Republican Party and have never even attended a Board of Education meeting than you get what you deserve; a school board that will be crippled by undo political influences and essential services, like after school activities and sports being eliminated.

I don’t want that happening in Middletown, neither should you.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, budget cuts, Gov. Chris Christie, layoffs, Middletown Board of Education, school budgets, Teachers