Category Archives: Melissa Gaffney

Extra Extra Read All About It – The Courier Is Sold To New Owner

Yesterday was a sad day after I read the post on Melissa Gaffney’s blog Sableminded about the April 1st demise of the Courier newspaper.
I have been a fan of the Courier for  a long time, and have been lending this blog to the online version of it for a number of months now. At one point I was considering having MiddletownMike visitors redirected to the Courier version of this blog. I had been hearing for quite awhile that the Courier was in trouble and that it’s future was in question, but I had thought and hope that the paper would somehow survive and live on in some form or another, but due to that uncertainty  the redirect just never seemed to happen.
When the Courier’s publisher Jim Purcell announced that the Courier was only going to publish bi-weekly and that through a partnership with Rutgers University, it was going to attempt to survive on-line as a web based publication, I was at first disheartened.  I became encouraged a few weeks later however when I was told by Jim that it looked like the web based model was going to work out, revenue had already increased over the previous months due to the new venture with Rutgers.
So, when I heard a couple of weeks ago that the Azzolina family had changed their mind and no longer desired to be in the news business it came as a mild shock, if they couldn’t find a buyer they were going to shutdown operations.  I didn’t quite want to believe it, after all the paper seemed to be on track to  profitability once again. Needless to say then, that when I stopped by the office to say hello, it was a rather gloomy place.  
Today though, when I returned home from work and logged onto the blog I noticed  the headline on the Courier widget “The Courier is sold to new owner“, my spirits were lifted.
I don’t know who has brought the Courier or whether or not that they intend to keep the online version up and running, but I am happy that they did. It would have been a real loss to the bayshore if the paper had folded, the Courier after all has been a staple of northern Monmouth County for since 1955. 
As for MiddletownMike’s future with the Courier, I don’t have an answer for that just yet. I need to make a few phone calls to see what the future may hold. I am just glad that the paper did not fade away like so many others have done lately.
I am also happy to think that some of the people at the Courier, who have become my friends, may now not have to worry about losing their jobs and finding employment elsewhere. I hope  

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Filed under Bayshore, blogs, demise of newspapers, Jim Purcell, Joe Azzolina, Melissa Gaffney, Monmouth County, Rutgers University, Sableminded, The Courier, web-based publication

Middletown GOP, Trying to Make an Honest Man out of the "Fibber"?


Melissa Gaffney had a two great posts on her Sableminded blog yesterday about the recent Middletown Gop campaign literature being circulated around town and how the the Republicans are trying to whitewash Tony “the fibber” Fiore’s resume .

“I don’t know what the Middletown Republicans are doing running this guy on such a thin sheet.

Clarification: Just dropping the name “recreation commission” does not give a person any kind of legitimate experience. What did you do while you were on such a commission? List some accomplishments, aside from umpiring baseball games for three months.

Do you know the current budget of your town’s rec department?
Do you know what types of purchases it makes?
Do you know where all the Open Space is located in Middletown?”… 


“Honestly, Tony’s got nothing. Pretty much zero experience with municipal government, an extremely unprofessional resume (30-something and banking jobs based on clubs you were in during college?) . . . You’ve got yourself a “fresh face,” all right.”…

I have to give it to her, I could not have said it any better myself. 
Fiore is a fraud who has questionable credentials at best, he has no practical experience in recreation, has no qualification to be on the township planning board, other than he is a republican who schmoozed his way into the local GOP  by misrepresenting himself as something he is not and he hasn’t attended a single Township Committee meeting.
This is an election that the Middletown GOP can ill afford to lose, and when the “fibber” loses this election, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was kicked off of the planning board then dumped all together from the GOP for his less then honest portrayal himself.
 

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Filed under Melissa Gaffney, Middletown GOP, Sableminded, Tony"the fibber"Fiore

Middletown GOP, Trying to Make an Honest Man out of the "Fibber"?


Melissa Gaffney had a two great posts on her Sableminded blog yesterday about the recent Middletown Gop campaign literature being circulated around town and how the the Republicans are trying to whitewash Tony “the fibber” Fiore’s resume .

“I don’t know what the Middletown Republicans are doing running this guy on such a thin sheet.

Clarification: Just dropping the name “recreation commission” does not give a person any kind of legitimate experience. What did you do while you were on such a commission? List some accomplishments, aside from umpiring baseball games for three months.

Do you know the current budget of your town’s rec department?
Do you know what types of purchases it makes?
Do you know where all the Open Space is located in Middletown?”… 


“Honestly, Tony’s got nothing. Pretty much zero experience with municipal government, an extremely unprofessional resume (30-something and banking jobs based on clubs you were in during college?) . . . You’ve got yourself a “fresh face,” all right.”…

I have to give it to her, I could not have said it any better myself. 
Fiore is a fraud who has questionable credentials at best, he has no practical experience in recreation, has no qualification to be on the township planning board, other than he is a republican who schmoozed his way into the local GOP  by misrepresenting himself as something he is not and he hasn’t attended a single Township Committee meeting.
This is an election that the Middletown GOP can ill afford to lose, and when the “fibber” loses this election, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was kicked off of the planning board then dumped all together from the GOP for his less then honest portrayal himself.
 

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Filed under Melissa Gaffney, Middletown GOP, Sableminded, Tony"the fibber"Fiore

>Legal cost issue should be about capping or in-house counsel

>The following press release from the Middletown Democrats for Twsp. Committee, Patricia Walsh and Jim Grenafege, is in response to the recent articles that appeared in The Courier newpaper last week about the billing practice of Township Attorney Bernard Reilly.

Press Release

Aug. 18, 2008

POC: Democrats for Twsp. Committee
Patricia A. Walsh
Tel: (908) 601-1252/Email: awalsh386@aol.com
Or Jim Grenafege
Tel: (732) 872-0890/Email: j.grenafege@att.net

Legal cost issue should be about capping or in-house counsel

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP (MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ):I have always been an advocate of in-house counsel at the county level, said Middletown Democrat for Township Committee Jim Grenafege. So it makes sense that I am all for it here in Middletown.

Grenafege’s running mate is Patricia A. Walsh. She said,”The school district caps legal expenses in the context of its annual budget. There is no reason to tolerate excessive legal spending on the municipal level from the numerous attorneys the township now employs.

Walsh said she recently saw a published report where Township Attorney Bernard Reilly is paid for 200-hour months and
15-18 hour days. More scrutiny must be given to each of these individual legal bills”, she said.

However, Walsh said she believes a cap may work out better for the township than an in-house counsel, though she is convinced both hers and Mr. Grenafege’s ideas should be discussed publicly once they are elected to the Township Committee and action taken.

Grenafege said a task force should be immediately formed, in January, with the mission of studying all aspects of legal staffing and activity within the township. “Are there any “best practices” that are utilized by other towns that Middletown can learn from?” Grenafege said. “It’s worth a good look”.

Grenafege said he read the county’s study about this, though he characterized that study as “flawed” because it was prepared by one of the county’s attorneys, who was an outside counsel on the county payroll.

“The days of letting attorneys run the show must come to an end. Our taxpayers are facing tough economic times and their tax money should not be wasted in any way,” Walsh said.”It is fiscally responsible for the committee to completely review what has taken place over the last 20 years, following the excesses of previous administrations.”

Walsh said that previous administrations had closed their eyes to legal bill overruns, but it is not a way the township can do business in this century.

Grenafege said he supports an initiative favored by Middletown Committeeman Sean Byrnes whereby a financial professional would be brought in to examine the possibility of saving dollars and find new, constructive ways to save tax money.

Walsh said this measure is one that should be voted on by the committee. But, she said such an initiative would have to be examined closely before that vote, following recommendations by the task force formed for this purpose.

“There should be different ideas that come together with the underlying purpose of cutting spending and putting permanent fiscal controls in place in Middletown,” Walsh concluded.

You can also read all about the billing practices of Mr. Reilly by reading Melissa Gaffney’s blog SableMinded

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Filed under Bernard Reilly, Jim Grenafege, Legal bills, Melissa Gaffney, Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Patricia Walsh, The Courier

Legal cost issue should be about capping or in-house counsel

The following press release from the Middletown Democrats for Twsp. Committee, Patricia Walsh and Jim Grenafege, is in response to the recent articles that appeared in The Courier newpaper last week about the billing practice of Township Attorney Bernard Reilly.

Press Release

Aug. 18, 2008

POC: Democrats for Twsp. Committee
Patricia A. Walsh
Tel: (908) 601-1252/Email: awalsh386@aol.com
Or Jim Grenafege
Tel: (732) 872-0890/Email: j.grenafege@att.net

Legal cost issue should be about capping or in-house counsel

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP (MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ):I have always been an advocate of in-house counsel at the county level, said Middletown Democrat for Township Committee Jim Grenafege. So it makes sense that I am all for it here in Middletown.

Grenafege’s running mate is Patricia A. Walsh. She said,”The school district caps legal expenses in the context of its annual budget. There is no reason to tolerate excessive legal spending on the municipal level from the numerous attorneys the township now employs.

Walsh said she recently saw a published report where Township Attorney Bernard Reilly is paid for 200-hour months and
15-18 hour days. More scrutiny must be given to each of these individual legal bills”, she said.

However, Walsh said she believes a cap may work out better for the township than an in-house counsel, though she is convinced both hers and Mr. Grenafege’s ideas should be discussed publicly once they are elected to the Township Committee and action taken.

Grenafege said a task force should be immediately formed, in January, with the mission of studying all aspects of legal staffing and activity within the township. “Are there any “best practices” that are utilized by other towns that Middletown can learn from?” Grenafege said. “It’s worth a good look”.

Grenafege said he read the county’s study about this, though he characterized that study as “flawed” because it was prepared by one of the county’s attorneys, who was an outside counsel on the county payroll.

“The days of letting attorneys run the show must come to an end. Our taxpayers are facing tough economic times and their tax money should not be wasted in any way,” Walsh said.”It is fiscally responsible for the committee to completely review what has taken place over the last 20 years, following the excesses of previous administrations.”

Walsh said that previous administrations had closed their eyes to legal bill overruns, but it is not a way the township can do business in this century.

Grenafege said he supports an initiative favored by Middletown Committeeman Sean Byrnes whereby a financial professional would be brought in to examine the possibility of saving dollars and find new, constructive ways to save tax money.

Walsh said this measure is one that should be voted on by the committee. But, she said such an initiative would have to be examined closely before that vote, following recommendations by the task force formed for this purpose.

“There should be different ideas that come together with the underlying purpose of cutting spending and putting permanent fiscal controls in place in Middletown,” Walsh concluded.

You can also read all about the billing practices of Mr. Reilly by reading Melissa Gaffney’s blog SableMinded

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Filed under Bernard Reilly, Jim Grenafege, Legal bills, Melissa Gaffney, Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Patricia Walsh, The Courier

>A word about last nights meeting in Middletown

>I was reading Art Gallagher’s  impressions of what transpired last night at the Middletown Township Committee meeting last night and I generally agree with his assessment.

The meeting was very good and it was to seen the six new members of the police department sworn in with there families in attendance. While it was interesting to hear the presentation from the Middletown Health Department and all that they do, I found it a little long.  After all, I was there to see a show and I was getting a bit antsy waiting.
When Art did get up to speak sometime after 10 pm, the Mayor seemed to be waiting for him because he immediately announce that there was going to be a 5 minute time limit on comments. The township clerk then  literally set a time clock that went off after the 5 minutes.  Art then had to rush through his comments to finish.
Art, as he mentioned did not get the great debate that he wanted, largely because no one showed up argue the point with him and because the debate did get sidetracked  over who called for the Middletown Human Rights Commission to meet.
On this point, I have to take exception with  Art Gallagher’s perception on events. While Committeeman Short my have been trying to score political points by blaming Mayor Scharfenberger for the “unnoticed special meeting”, it was Scharfenberger’s denials and the seemingly apparent cover up by the Clerk, Township Administer and Attorney, about asking the commission to meet that lead to that confrontation.
One of the main issues that Committeeman Short takes exception to is “open and transparent government” and Mayor Scharfenberger knows that, so to try and cover up the fact was not the right course of action for him to take.
I was at the hastily called meeting of the MHRC Thursday night, I received the message off my answering machine late that day it.  I am not sure how the person leaving the message found out about the meeting. I arrived late and left after the Commission decided to draft a resolution
against Art Gallagher’s methods.
Now, why have I brought that up? because several times during the special session the Cindy Hoffman of the Human Rights Commission mentioned that the mayor asked her to look into the allegations and to convene a special meeting. When asked if Mayor Scharfenberger knew about the meeting taking place, she said that he was aware of it but she did not know if he would be attending. 
So the only real fireworks that we got last night was the confrontation between Short and Scharfenberger. 
And I really think that the issue for the Township is over, I just don’t see the Human Rights Commission reconvening just to discuss this their resolution against Art and his blog. The meeting was called for after all, as a political ploy by the mayor against the Courier and not because he had concerns over what Art Gallagher wrote on his blog.
You can hear audio clips from the meeting on Melissa Gaffney’s SableMinded blog

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Filed under Art Gallaher, Mayor Scharfenberger, Melissa Gaffney, Middletown Human Rights Commission, MoreMonmouthMusings, Sableminded, The Courier

A word about last nights meeting in Middletown

I was reading Art Gallagher’s  impressions of what transpired last night at the Middletown Township Committee meeting last night and I generally agree with his assessment.

The meeting was very good and it was to seen the six new members of the police department sworn in with there families in attendance. While it was interesting to hear the presentation from the Middletown Health Department and all that they do, I found it a little long.  After all, I was there to see a show and I was getting a bit antsy waiting.
When Art did get up to speak sometime after 10 pm, the Mayor seemed to be waiting for him because he immediately announce that there was going to be a 5 minute time limit on comments. The township clerk then  literally set a time clock that went off after the 5 minutes.  Art then had to rush through his comments to finish.
Art, as he mentioned did not get the great debate that he wanted, largely because no one showed up argue the point with him and because the debate did get sidetracked  over who called for the Middletown Human Rights Commission to meet.
On this point, I have to take exception with  Art Gallagher’s perception on events. While Committeeman Short my have been trying to score political points by blaming Mayor Scharfenberger for the “unnoticed special meeting”, it was Scharfenberger’s denials and the seemingly apparent cover up by the Clerk, Township Administer and Attorney, about asking the commission to meet that lead to that confrontation.
One of the main issues that Committeeman Short takes exception to is “open and transparent government” and Mayor Scharfenberger knows that, so to try and cover up the fact was not the right course of action for him to take.
I was at the hastily called meeting of the MHRC Thursday night, I received the message off my answering machine late that day it.  I am not sure how the person leaving the message found out about the meeting. I arrived late and left after the Commission decided to draft a resolution
against Art Gallagher’s methods.
Now, why have I brought that up? because several times during the special session the Cindy Hoffman of the Human Rights Commission mentioned that the mayor asked her to look into the allegations and to convene a special meeting. When asked if Mayor Scharfenberger knew about the meeting taking place, she said that he was aware of it but she did not know if he would be attending. 
So the only real fireworks that we got last night was the confrontation between Short and Scharfenberger. 
And I really think that the issue for the Township is over, I just don’t see the Human Rights Commission reconvening just to discuss this their resolution against Art and his blog. The meeting was called for after all, as a political ploy by the mayor against the Courier and not because he had concerns over what Art Gallagher wrote on his blog.
You can hear audio clips from the meeting on Melissa Gaffney’s SableMinded blog

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Filed under Art Gallaher, Mayor Scharfenberger, Melissa Gaffney, Middletown Human Rights Commission, MoreMonmouthMusings, Sableminded, The Courier