Category Archives: Middletown GOP

Middletown Planning Board Member Who Receives Lucrative Contracts From The Township Seems Unethical To Me

When Middletown helps its own, it’s not in reference to helping needy families get through the holidays. It’s in reference to taking care of those most politically connected to the local Republican Party.

Tim Sodon, who was a candidate for Township Committee in 2007 but lost the election to Patrick Short, has for the past few of years been a member of the Middletown Planning Board. Sodon came under heavy fire in 2007 for being a contractor for the Township while also being a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. As a member of the advisory board, among other things, he would recommend what Township Parks needed electrical maintenance or upgrades performed. Tim Sodon is the owner of Sodon Electric Inc., he was the contractor that would get the work and perform the work.
During the campaign Sodon and the Republican Party couldn’t or wouldn’t explain why this wasn’t a conflict of interest and clearly unethical. Sodon never came out and said that if elected he would give up the contracts he had with the Township.
Now fast forward to more recent times, as an appointed member of the planning board, Sodon is a public official and currently has a very lucrative contract with Middletown to provide electrical repairs and maintenance needed throughout the Township’s Municipal buildings and parks that pays him $75K a year according to Township Resolution 12-061.
This to me is clearly a conflict of interest and unethical. He shouldn’t be allowed to do work for the town while he sits on the Planning Board. A contractor for the town should not be in any appointed positions.
Tim Sodon shouldn’t be doing electrical projects for the town, those projects should be bid out and basic electrical maintenance should be done in-house by someone who has a license.
As the Mayor’s Designee to the Planning Board is Tim Sodon making decisions based on the on the merits of the presentations that are brought in front of the Planning Board, or is he making decisions based on what is expected of him by the Mayor or higher ups in the Middletown GOP in order to keep his tax payer funded contracts?
Before looking at the Library Board for inappropriate and unethical behavior of one of its members, I think Tony Fiore and the Township Committee should be looking a little closer to home at one of their own before casting the first stone. Unfortunately though that will never happen, Middletown Republicans by nature are arrogant and never look into the mirror at themselves beforehand. They are only interested in protecting their own.

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Filed under conflict of interest, Middletown GOP, Middletown Planning Board, Parks and Recreation, public contracts, resolution 12-061, Sodon Electric, Tony Fiore, unethical behavior

The Independent’s Election 2011 Middletown Profile : Independent runs for Mid’twn Township Committee seat

For those that are unaware there is a Middletown Republican turned Independent who is running for a seat on the Middletown Township Committee this year, his name is Richard Morrill.

After last night’s Meet the Candidates forum sponsored by the Oak Hill Association, which turned raucous at times over some of Morrill’s responses, it was a clear case of room-packing and planting adversaries against a former Middletown GOP insider.

Below is his Q&A that appears in this week’s Election 2011 Candidate profile published in this weeks edition of the Independent.

Q. What do you believe is the main issue facing Middletown? If elected to the Township Committee what specific steps would you take to tackle this issue?

MORRILL: Taxes. I would like to look to re-engineer how the township operates by analyzing all departments one at a time. I would bring a fresh pair of eyes and ears with experience in re-engineering departments.

Q. What are your qualifications to serve on the Middletown Township Committee?

MORRILL: I feel I am qualified to serve on the Middletown Township Committee due to my success in re-engineering numerous departments at Barclays Bank, saving in excess of $10 million per year. I also managed multiple construction projects in multiple buildings and multiple states, including one valued at $27 million. All came in on time and under budget. I managed an average of 150 people at a time.

Q. Are there any issues facing Middletown that you specifically want to address?

MORRILL: The other issues that I want to specifically address are the spending in Middletown, the supervision of employees, the pricing for professional services and the appointments of individuals to committees and boards in Middletown so that all residents are represented. I would like to encourage new businesses to come to Middletown by assisting and courting them to create jobs in the township.

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Filed under candidate Q and A, Independent Candidate, Middletown GOP, Richard Morrill, the Independent

Subject of Latest Robo-Call From Concerned Citizens Deals With AVAYA and COAH

Earlier today I received yet another robo-call from the group calling themselves Concerned Citizens of Middletown.

The content of this robo- call that was left on my answering machine ~1:30 pm, seems to be geared towards what is going on in Lincroft concerning the redevelopment of the AVAYA sight that will consist of 342 units of high density housing if built.

The timing of this latest robo-call seems to have been planned to correspond with the next Middletown Planning Board meeting scheduled for tomorrow night, where according to the agenda for the meeting, approval of the project may be finalized.

I’m sure that this call (the 5th) will be just as controversial as the others that have gone out in the past by the group Concerned Citizens of Middletown.
Tony Fiore and others associated with the Middletown GOP swear that Concerned Citizens of Middletown is nothing more than the a front name used by the Middletown Democrats to stir up trouble and controversy, which as far as I know, is not the case.
I am sure that one day soon the mystery of who is behind the group will be answered, but until then I’m going to sit back and enjoy the speculation. It’s fun to see Fiore and the others squirm a bit and point fingers while trying to explain that the messages being left on answering machines all around town have no merit and shouldn’t be paid attention to.

Below is the message that I recorded again off of my answering machine followed by a transcript of the call:

Have you heard? Because The Middletown Township Committee failed to fulfill it’s COAH obligations, the Township had to solicit bids to develop housing projects throughout Middletown?

As a result the AVAYA site in Lincroft will become a multi-family housing project that will impact the residents of Lincroft and the Township.

The influx of new residents will have an adverse affect; roads will need to be widened, sewer and water lines will need to be installed and over crowding of local schools will take place, all at a cost to our quality of life.

Paid for by
Concerned Citizens of Middletown.

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Filed under Avaya, COAH, Concerned Citizens of Middletown, Four Ponds Housing Development, Lincroft NJ, Middletown GOP, Middletown Planning Board, Middletown Township Committee, Robo-calls, Tony Fiore

>Speaking of Signs; Has Halloween Tricks All Ready Started In Middletown With The Taking Of Byrnes and Mahoney Signs ?

>In the 5 days that I had been away attending my grandfathers funeral in Utah, I noticed in my return that here have been a number of Byrnes & Mahoney signs missing from the roadsides that had been there previously.

I know periodically that signs are taken by kids as pranks or are removed by Township, County or State employees if the signs are thought to be on land that is owned by either entity,but when only the signs of one group of candidates are being taken away and the others remain that raises the red flag.
Such is the case with Middletown Committeeman Sean Byrnes and his running mate Mary Mahoney, their signs seem to be disappearing and not just from the roadside but from private property and resident homes as well, while their republican opponents signs are still visible on lawns and on roadways.
As confirmation of what I have been witnessing, I have been sent an email and found a letter to the editor posted at the Independent’s website that discusses exactly what I had been feeling since my return:

“Boo! Once again, Halloween (dirty?) tricks are in evidence in Middletown. On Palmer Avenue, Leonardville Road by the Navy underpass, and other Middletown locations there is a pattern of Scharfenberger-Settembrino election signs being placed very close in front of Byrnes-Mahoney signs, blocking their visibility. Gremlins have also placed some Little signs to block the other side of Byrnes signs.

In the pre-Halloween spirit of generosity, I choose to believe that the disrespectful sign positioning is due to the fearful over-zealousness of campaign workers, like the young goblin caught in the act late at night. Perhaps Mayor Scharfenberger is not aware of the tactics. I call upon the mayor to take responsibility, order the situation corrected at once, and not sanction repetition of the tactic.”

And the Letter from the Independent:
Taking political signs impedes political process

The Middletown Democrats have been experiencing an appreciable loss of political signs. Perhaps you have noticed where they are missing. Those are the signs that have the names of Sean Byrnes and Mary Mahoney on them. They seem to be disappearing from various parts of the township.

I have been trying to police them, and I have concluded that some of our signs are actually stolen in broad daylight. The situation has been studied, and I have given it a great deal of attention.

I have concluded that it is not the local raccoons that are attracted to our signs, but it may be the rats. The attraction for Democratic signs has been so great that whenever Democratic signs make an appearance with other signs, it is ours that are taken. Once they are taken, they are never to be seen again. I am not trying to call this kidnapping, but it may be close to the same thing.

Whatever you want to call this, there is one thing for certain. The perpetrators are impeding the political process, which is the basis of our democracy.

Preston Gillam


Do adults really need to play these silly games? If so, it could only lead to one conclusion in peoples minds and that is, Gerry Scharfenberger and the rest of the Middletown GOP are deathly afraid of losing this election, after a 5 year record of raising taxes by 45%, I would be afraid of losing also. Even still, to have members of your party taking down or block your opponents signs with your own, is childish. It’s time to grow up!


Filed under Byrnes and Mahoney, campaign signs, Gerry Scharfenberger, Halloween, Middletown GOP

>Letter: What Planet Do They Live On ?

>Here is the first offical post that makes it up onto the blog after my return. It is a letter from Barbara Thorpe who asked the question “what planet do they live on? “, which references a letter written by Tristan Nelsen, the failed former running mate of Gerry Scharfenberger, from his last re-election bid.

It should be pointed out that Tristan owes much to the local GOP establishment, she sits on many boards and commissions in Middletown and is herself part of the problem. Anyone that can justify an increase of 45% to the local municipal tax rate over the past 5 years, must be living on another planet, that goes for Ms. Nelsen as well as all the other supporters of the Middletown GOP, who burry their heads in the sand and refuse to see the truth:

I read with a sense of disgust the repeated letters supporting the mayor of Middletown by his party’s faithful cronies. The most recent one from the failed candidate who ran with Scharfenberger three years ago. Can’t imagine what planet she has inhabited in recent years because there is no denying the mismanagement of this township. The near forty five percent increase in the municipal tax levy in the last five years tells the whole story. No denying those figures ….no way at all.

The repeated lies and deception that this man engages in is beyond comprehension except it is explained by this man’s obsessive desire for re-election. He will do or say anything to achieve that goal. To hell with the people paying the bills in this township. He could not care less. He cannot be trusted to serve the people of Middletown. Far too engrossed in party politics !

It will take legislative action to ever remove supporting the schools from the property tax bill in New Jersey and to find a secure funding for the most important job the citizens of this community and this state have to do… the education of our youth. To think otherwise is delusional and selfish. It is incomprehensible to try and understand just when Mr.Scharfenberger thinks he could ever accomplish such a change in school funding without some extensive legal support for that kind of a change. But I guess I just forget that this man has never shown any regard for the rights of the people or respect for what is and is not legal. He never has had any reservation about what or who he tramples on to serve his own agenda.

COAH is the law in New Jersey. It has recently been reaffirmed and this state has been given five months to get back on track providing affordable housing. Only Sunday the Asbury Park Press printed an article regarding this very information There may be changes to COAH but it is not going away. Again this mayor is blowing in the wind !! Get real for a change !

The disregard for the residents of this community can be seen in the proposals for turf fields in locations nobody wants and at a time when we cannot afford them. Just grandstanding in hope of deceiving the people about his motives.He needs something to try and look good for re-election. Fix the problems of the flooding in the Bayshore that have been neglected for more than twenty years. The sneaky, underhanded actions and the neglect that has surrounded those efforts tells it all !

Try an honest effort to contain expenses and make the hard decisions to reduce the workforce,reduce bond expenses,and institute the necessary measures to properly plan municipal financial obligations. Can’t blame all the problems here on someone else so stop trying . Whatever plans this mayor claimed he had have never materialized . He never had any plan and the result is the exorbitant municipal tax increase this year.

Middletown will be a better community to live in when this man is gone from government here.

Barbara R. Thorpe
Middletown, NJ


Filed under COAH, Gerry Scharfenberger, letter to the editor, Middletown GOP, tax increase, Tristan Nelsen

You Can Fool Some Of The People Some of The Time, But…

Two more local media members have chimed in on the the smoke and mirror attempt by the Middletown Republicans lead by Gerry Scharfenberger, his fellow GOP members on the Township Committee and new CFO Nick Trasente, to whitewash, sugarcoat and flat out mislead the public with Monday night’s budget introduction.

As I said earlier, Trasente did a great job at towing the proverbial company line,making it seem the local tax burden was only going increase by 2.8% when in actuality the municipal tax rate will skyrocket by more than 13% once this budget is adopted.

The reporters for both the Independent and, Andrew Davidson and Dustin Racioppi with their articles Township proposes tax increase of 13 percent and BUDGET INCREASES, BUT BY HOW MUCH? did a great job at seeing through the rouse and I recommend that both articles be read.

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Filed under budget introduction, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown GOP, Middletown Township, Nick Trasente,, tax increase, the Independent

Sewer Authority Slush Fund ??

One of the more interesting line items that I found in the proposed Middletown Municipal budget that will be introduced at tonight’s special budget meeting is the $365K transfer of surplus funds from the Middletown Sewer Authority to the Township.

Under the heading of General Revenues on sheet 10 of the budget, the line item titled Miscellaneous Revenues shows a contribution of Sewer Authority Surplus of $356K to the municipal budget.
So the questions are, if the Sewer Authority has this much money sitting around to give to the Township, are they charging us too much for their services? And, if this $365k is over their surplus allotment what were they planning to do with this money if they did not “give” it to the Township?
Its been a well known fact that the Middletown GOP uses the Sewer Authority as a dumping ground for party loyalist and cronies, each commissioner of the authority is entitled to a yearly stipend, township health benefits and pension credits. Obviously, the Sewerage Authority is like a slush fund where favored professionals get paid, people get jobs, no one watches what’s going on and is a nice way for the majority party to reward those who tow the line.

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Filed under budget deficit, budget surplus, Middletown GOP, Middletown Sewerage Authority, Middletown Township Committee, slush fund

All Candidates For Middeltown Board Of Education Urge Approval of School Budget At Friday’s Forum And Other Observations

Friday morning I attended the Middletown Board of Education’s Candidate Forum at Panera Bread in Middletown. This last of three forums was hosted by Stephanie Murray of the Middletown Mornings organization. When I got there Friday morning I didn’t quiet know what to expect in the respect of turn out, but I was pleasantly surprised to see over thirty people in attendance.

Ms. Murray opened the forum by having each candidate take a minute and a half to introduce themselves and explain why they felt they should be elected to the BOE this year.

Six of the seven candidates were in attendance and in order of their opening remarks are:

Patricia Walsh
Dawn Diorio
Gerry Wexelberg
Michael Mascone
Vincent Brand
Leonora Caminiti

Chris Aveta, who is running on the same ticket as Mascone and Brand was not in attendance Friday morning.

I recorded the meeting in its entirety and was going to break it all down into individual questions and answers, but because I have been hit with some kind of “Bug” that attacked me late Friday night and have been in bed since, I have decided just to post the whole recording.

It runs for 46 minutes but seems to play faster than that. The meeting was fast paced and kept all of those there engaged.

For me the only real news that came out of the forum was that each candidate agreed that the this years school budget should be passed by voters on Tuesday. Failure to pass the budget would only mean more drastic cuts that would penalize students and teachers alike.

After the forum was over I mingled amongst the crowd and spoke to a few candidates. I had a very nice conversation with Mike Mascone and Vinnie Brand, both of whom were polite and cordial but who took exception with me for my earlier blog post that accused them and their running mate Chris Aveta of being lap dogs for Middletown Deputy Mayor Tony Fiore and the Middletown GOP.

Each profess that they had only met Fiore no more than three times and wouldn’t even recognize him if the saw him in the street, which I took with a grain of salt put didn’t pursue.

I told each of them that my problem wasn’t with them as individuals but with the perceived endorsement of Fiore, who signed Brand’s and Aveta’s school board petitions.
Brand thought that it wasn’t a problem and that Tony Fiore (or anyone else for that matter) should be able to openly endorse his candidacy if they so chose.
I disagreed with that statement and I let them know that for years the Middletown GOP has tried to gain influence over the Middletown BOE to varying degrees of success. And when they did gain control several years ago with their “Back To Basics” slate of candidates it was a disaster. The expansion and upgrades to Bayshore, Thorne and Thompson Middle Schools were over budget and wrought with problems, and contract negotiations ended when over 200 teachers were sent to jail.
In my opinion, there is no room for partisan politics on the school board and just having the Deputy Mayor’s signature on both Brand’s and Aveta’s petitions is enough to raise doubts in my mind and others.
Fiore’s signature on those petitions poison Brand’s, Mascone’s and Aveta’s candidacy for the board of ed no matter how sincere Vinnie Brand’s and Mike Mascone’s insistence to me that they are there own men and that they would not be influenced in any way by Fiore or other members of the Middletown GOP.
With that being said, listen to the audio and make up your own mind, but most importantly vote “YES” for the budget and vote for the candidates that you think will be the best representative for your and your child’s best interests on Tuesday April 20th


Filed under Candidate Forum, Middletown Board of Education, Middletown GOP, Middletown Mornings, Panera Breads, Patricia Walsh, Stephanie Murray

Sign Of The Times: Dump Scharfy

Have you seen these signs? They’re popping up all over town. This one is located at the intersection of Newman Springs Rd and Swimming River Rd in Lincroft.

As of right now, no one is taking responsibility for them ( I know for a fact it’s not the Dems) ,but word has it that they are being put out by a group of disgruntled members of the Middletown GOP who are fete up with Gerry Scharfenberger and the current Republican members of the Township Committee over the handling (or lack there of) of the Lincroft turf complex issue and other concerns.
So upset in fact, that Scharfenberger will not be running unopposed during the Republican primary in June. Word has it that Tony Avalone, the Director of the Lincroft Village Green Association has decided to challenge Scharfenberger for the party nomination.


Filed under Dump Scharfy signs, Gerry Scharfenberger, Lincroft, lincroft village green association, Middletown GOP

Christie Tells Local Officials to Expect Pain

Does this mean that Middletown’s Gerry Scharfenberger and his fellow Republicans will now stop blaming Trenton Democrats for their own failures and tax increases in Middletown and now point their finger at one of their own in the future? Some how I doubt it.

N.J. Governor-elect Christie tells local officials to expect ‘a continued period of pain’

Gov.-elect Chris Christie sent a strong message to an audience of municipal politicians and workers gathered at the luncheon at the annual League of Municipalities convention in Atlantic City today: Stop thinking about yourselves, or you’ll will be voted out. (Video by Brian Donohue / The Star-Ledger)


Filed under Chris Christie, Middletown, Middletown GOP, New Jersey, the Star-Ledger