Category Archives: OPRA requests

Middletown Issues iPads To "The governing body and township managers"

Last week Middletown Township issued a press release extolling the virtues of issuing Apple iPads to members of “The governing body and township managers have been using Apple IPads to review meeting documents prepared by the Office of the Township Clerk since November 2011”.

Since this press release has been posted on the Township website many readers have left comments posted here questioning the need to purchase these iPads and distribute they to township personnel. Middletown is in dire financial shape and is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Services, both essential and non-essential, are being cut back are being eliminated to try and balance the budget. So why spend thousands of dollars purchasing iPads?

The press release states that the iPads are justified because the Township is now saving over $5,000 a year in paper costs because monthly meeting “packets” are now being electronically processed and made available to governing body.

Tony Fiore is quoted as saying, “The switch to IPads for meeting documents is a win-win. We’re saving money and reducing Middletown’s carbon footprint since we’re using less paper and energy. This is a great example of how township staff is thinking outside the box to find innovative ways to make everyday tasks and processes more efficient and effective.”


But is it really? The average bottom line price of an iPad is $499 if purchased through it’s maker Apple. You can buy iPads elsewhere but if you’ve ever shopped for an Apple product you know that prices are not significantly discounted, generally only a few dollars.
If all the packet documents are now available electronically to those that run the township, what is the need to purchase iPads, can’t this documents be sent to the governing members through normal emails? Don’t these people have access to their own PC’s, laptops, netbooks or other type of smart devices to view these documents at home or during township meetings?
Yesterday I emailed a list of questions to the powers that be to see if I could get a few answers.

I would like to know:

  1. How many iPads have been purchased by the township and who specifically has been issued them?
  2. What was the purchase price of these iPads?
  3. Was the purchase price for these iPads discounted in anyway, if so by how much?
  4. Who were these iPads purchased from; Did they come directly from Apple Inc. or an authorized Apple vendor (please name)?
  5. Are these iPads considered township property ?
  6. Can they to be used by individuals for personal use (take and store photos, download music or games, ect…)?
  7. What happens to these iPads if Township Committee members step down from office or not relected or if a town manager leaves the employment of the township?
  8. Did the Township purchase any kind of internet access plan over and above the purchase price of the iPads that would enable idividuals to access the internet if WiFi access is not availible to the users?
  9. Is Town Hall wired for WiFi? If so, does the public have access to the WiFi network at Town Hall if they bring their own laptops, iPads or other type of smart device to a meeting at Town Hall?

I was emailed by back by Assistant Township Administrator Jim VanNest who stated that he would forward my questions to others that could better answer them for me and that I should have a response within a reasonable amount of time.

I assume that means a few day, which is fine, I can wait. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if on some of the questions I asked, I am stonewalled and told that I would need to fill out an OPRA request before receiving answers.
I hope that is not the case, as a citizen of Middletown, I think I and others have a right to know about this. I think the questions are straight forward and residents shouldn’t having to jump through hopes to get this information.
Stay tuned…

Leave a comment

Filed under Apple Inc., iPad, Middletown Township, Middletown Township Committee, OPRA requests, press release

Secret Public Hearing at the Middletown Sewerage Authority (TOMSA) Board meeting of December 7, 2011

by guest blogger Linda Baum

This was the second TOMSA Board meeting I’ve attended, and like last month, I was the only member of the public there.

The meeting started promptly at 7:30 p.m. — I made it there just in time — and the first thing on the agenda was a public hearing on TOMSA’s 2012 budget. Huh?? I knew nothing about it and hadn’t even had a chance to read the words “Public Hearing” on the agenda sheet when Executive Director Pat Parkinson asked if there were public comments. He never announced that it was a public hearing, so I didn’t know. He just awkwardly asked if there were comments. How am I supposed to comment on a budget I haven’t seen at a hearing I didn’t know about? I was caught by surprise and said nothing – a free pass they won’t get next time – and the Board quickly moved to adopt the budget by unanimous vote while I was still scratching my head.

I wondered why nobody told me about the public hearing since I know a few people who regularly check the public notices in the paper. In fact, hat tip to ‘B’ for letting me know about a Dec. 2nd notice in the APP changing the TOMSA Board meeting date from Dec. 8th to Dec. 7th. That notice said nothing about the public hearing. I did an online search for a notice that did, and found none.

Because the public wasn’t notified of the hearing in line with statutory requirements, the budget is subject to legal challenge. I intend to press this issue in order to get another hearing scheduled. I want the opportunity to review the budget (and, oh yeah, obtain it) and to prepare prior to the hearing. You may be wondering why I don’t just use the public comments period at the end of the next Board meeting to discuss the budget. Because hearings are a better forum for obtaining information – different rules apply to them. For one, there’s no time limit, so you will get all of your questions in, while public comments following a meeting may be limited to just a few minutes. Of course, even at hearings there’s no guarantee you’ll get any answers.

If you’re behind on your sewer bills, now’s the time to pay up. There will be an accelerated tax lien sale on December 20th for sewer fees that were due by the end of June 2011. Between 300 and 400 households (or businesses) will be affected.

This is the second year that TOMSA, which operates on a calendar year budget, has done an accelerated tax lien sale. December 2010 was the first one. Prior to that, sales were held each April, including a sale in April 2010. So there were two such sales in 2010, which coincidentally is the first year that TOMSA transferred surplus revenue to the Township – transfers were $365K in 2010 followed by $368K in 2011, per the Township’s 2011 adopted budget. TOMSA’s switch to an accelerated sale schedule in 2010 gave them a one-time boost in extra revenue for that budget year that made up for some of the Authority’s forfeited revenue that year.

One other observation. Late payers caught unaware by the accelerated sale schedule in 2010 may have found themselves with an unexpected lien on their properties and owing far more than they anticipated.

If you read my post on the November 10th meeting of the TOMSA Board, you may recall that there was a lot of discussion about the excessive fees TOMSA was charging for OPRA requests. Well, there’s news. Since then, TOMSA’s OPRA request form has been revised to list the correct fees per the 2010 amendment to the OPRA law, which lowered fees to just 5 cents for letter-size copies and 7 cents for legal, effective 7/1/10.

I mentioned at the December 7th meeting that TOMSA may owe a refund to people who have submitted OPRA requests since 7/1/10. Executive Director Pat Parkinson quickly replied that there haven’t been any requests. No OPRA requests in a year and a half??? I said that seemed unlikely, and some guy at the table actually had the nerve to mock me as if Parkinson’s word is law and I should believe what I’m told. (It was that Brian Nelson-esque fellow I mentioned in my last post. I’ll have to get his name next time.) Well, I’ve done some checking around, and I now know of at least 2 OPRA requests submitted to TOMSA in that timeframe.

A couple of days after the Board meeting, I submitted my own OPRA request to TOMSA. One of the things I asked for is a list of persons who have submitted an OPRA request since 7/1/10. I figure those folks might like to know they have a holiday bonus coming. Mr. Parkinson handles all OPRA requests personally, so it will be interesting to see what I get.

I’m learning that Parkinson has almost complete control over all public communication outside of regular customer service. I’m not sure, but I don’t think the clerical staff even records when an OPRA request comes in – stuff just gets passed right along to Parkinson. If you call and ask for anything more than the most basic information, you will be referred to Parkinson. Other people either don’t know the answers or appear to be under a gag order. Surely, professionals such as the manager or staff accountant have knowledge enough to respond to many questions, but they won’t, and the clerical staff will tell you as much. “You’ll have to speak to Mr. Parkinson,” they say.

One of the capital projects discussed at the meeting had to do with “digging out” manhole covers that had been buried under dirt, tar, or other material over the years. Some were covered during construction operations, some just by the accumulation of foliage. I asked if TOMSA was going to seek reimbursement from any parties whose work projects caused the manholes to be covered in the first place, like the County, the Township, or private contractors. I was thinking, in part, that there might be insurance liability coverage available. Parkinson replied that the projects were done 15 years ago and that TOMSA has no plans to seek recovery. He said that TOMSA now has its people stationed at work sites to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Fifteen years doesn’t strike me as all that long ago. TOMSA was formed in the 1960s, so they’ve been around long enough to have had procedures in place in the 1990s to ensure that manholes weren’t buried during construction projects and, if they were, to be informed and to remediate in a timely manner.

Because TOMSA won’t be seeking possible recovery from the at-fault parties, rate-payers will bear the cost. Even if this is a relatively small project for which TOMSA has money in its budget, it means there is less money for other projects or less surplus to offer the Township for tax relief.

More on manholes: An interesting revelation was made at the Planning Board meeting just this past Wednesday, December 14th. An engineer was making a presentation about infrastructure in and around the Bamm Hollow site, where 190 homes are to be built. He mentioned that the sewer system currently in place is overloaded to the point where sewerage is leaking out of manholes, and that TOMSA is currently sealing manholes to prevent the leakage.

I have to wonder, now, if some of the manholes to be uncovered as part of TOMSA’s “access recovery” project were sealed by TOMSA itself.

There was an update at the TOMSA Board meeting on the Monmouth County Improvement Authority’s solar project, in which TOMSA, the Township, and the Board of Education are participating. The MCIA received only one bid for 16.9 cents per kilowatt hour and the bid was rejected by the MCIA as too high. No word yet on the next move by the MCIA or any of the participants.

2 Comments

Filed under Bamm Hollow redevelopment, blog post, budget adoption, Linda Baum, manhole covers, Middletown Planning Board, Middletown Sewerage Authority, OPRA requests, Patrick Parkinson, public hearing, TOMSA

Highlights From The Sewerage Authority Board Meeting Of November 10, 2011.

by guest blogger Linda Baum

I attended my first Township of Middletown Sewerage Authority (TOMSA) board meeting on Thursday night, November 10th. I got there about ten minutes early. There was a conversation going on that promptly ended. The moment I walked in, Pat Parkinson jumped up to introduce himself and get my name. I felt set upon. I shook his hand because he caught me off guard, but gave him only my first name. It took him about a minute to run out of the room to inquire, and I heard my full name mentioned in the hall by someone I didn’t see, and who didn’t see me, when I walked in. So I had to wonder how that person knew who I was. The front gate took a long time to open when I arrived, so it appears someone is watching. In fact, the gate remained closed for so long that I thought I had come to the wrong place and had begun to back up to leave when it finally opened.

Chairperson Chantal Bouw also came over to introduce herself and get my name — she wasn’t there for the Parkinson maneuver. At that point I was annoyed and admit I was impolite.

When it was time for public comments at the end of the meeting, I said that never before had I attended a public meeting and had so many people in a tizzy to know who I was. I said that it was a public meeting and I was a member of the public and expected to just come in and sit down. Ms. Bouw said they rarely had visitors and wanted to make the public feel welcome and part of the process. I said a better way to do that (besides leaving the gate open!) is to make more information accessible easily and at no cost, and mentioned all the information they could be providing via email and on their website like the Town does — financial documents, agendas, resolutions, etc. (And by the way, even the documents the town offers are just the tip of the iceberg.) Parkinson said that people are welcome to come in during office hours and review documents, and I said no they aren’t because not everyone is free during the day and some people are disabled and can’t easily make the trip.

I also said TOMSA’s copy fees are unreasonably high and further deter people from obtaining the information. (Per their OPRA form, the first 10 pages will cost you a hefty $7.50, and 100 pages will cost you $32.50. Compare that to the Town’s charges for paper copies, for which 100 pages would cost you $5 for letter size or $7 for legal. However the Town typically emails material at no charge. TOMSA does not.)

Parkinson said that they are a small operation and that copy fees are to offset their costs. I can’t recall if I mentioned the $750K surplus gifted to the town over the last two years, which shows TOMSA doesn’t need the additional source of revenue. Parkinson said that most people are not interested in financial documents, anyway. The fact is he has no way of knowing that — maybe they just don’t want to pay the $50 bucks for them! I said it didn’t matter how many people were interested in the information, that TOMSA is a public entity and should be providing it. Then someone whom I believe may be their attorney stated they are in full compliance with the Open Public Records Act. (A very Brian Nelson-esque comment.) I said the Act didn’t preclude them from providing information and wasn’t meant to be a guide as to what they should be providing.

There was no notebook with copies of resolutions and ordinances for me to look through like there is at Town Committee meetings. There should be that at least since TOMSA doesn’t list the documents on their website. This is something else they could do to make “the public feel welcome and part of the process”, as Ms. Bouw put it.

They were all pleasant at first but started to steel themselves during my comments. Parkinson finally launched into talking points that reminded me of what we hear at Town Committee meetings. He offered familiar comparisons about operating at lower cost than other towns. I let it slide but next time may point out the $750K surplus and excess benefits, without which operating costs would be much less. He also said something about providing services they don’t charge for, like timely response when a resident is having a problem. I said those aren’t free services, that residents already pay fees for that.

There was mention that the solar bids are due December 1st from the County. Currently, TOMSA is paying about 12.5 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity, which includes the delivery charge.

Aside from the professionals in attendance, board members there were Chantal Bouw, Emil Wrede, Tom Stokes, and Charles Rogers. Absent were Joan Smith and James Hinckley.

I learned that Emil Wrede and Joan Smith are actually alternate members, even though Joan Smith is listed as Secretary/Treasurer on the TOMSA website and Emil Wrede is listed as Commissioner. There is no mention of their “alternate” status. According to Ms. Bouw, the TOMSA board is actually a five-member board that currently has one empty seat that was vacated by Cliff Raisch earlier this year.

It will be interesting to see if that empty seat is filled because any new board appointee would not receive pension and medical benefits, which were stripped per a 2009 Town ordinance. That ordinance also “grandfathered in” those benefits for existing board members, whose compensation was never meant to include them.

When I had no more comments, Ms. Bouw stated that business was concluded and that there would be no executive session. No one said otherwise. Yet, with the exception of two staffers, no one was leaving and they were clearly waiting for me to leave. I did, only to realize afterwards that there was no formal vote to close the public meeting in line with Robert’s Rules of Order. And today I noticed that the last page of the meeting agenda does list an executive session as the last item.

I was in my car but hadn’t left yet when I realized I should pick up a copy of the OPRA form before going because it’s not on the TOMSA website. I went back in to find the conference room door closed. So, was that an executive session or a continuation of the public meeting, which was never formally closed? And will there be minutes for that non-public discussion, I wonder?

A woman was in the office when I came back in and she provided me the OPRA form. Per quick glance at it, I saw no information for submitting it other than a street address, so asked for the fax number. I asked a few other questions about the process, but the woman said she didn’t know and that Mr. Parkinson was the person to ask. She then went into the conference room to let them know I was there.

Parkinson came running out, happy to help. As long as I had the opportunity, I pointed out to him that the fees listed on the OPRA form were much higher than what he quoted during the meeting – the starting price is 75 cents per page, not the 25 cents he quoted. He said he didn’t know those details exactly. That struck me as insincere. The policy has been the same for years, and there has been plenty of criticism of TOMSA’s fees and overly burdensome records request process, enough that he should be well familiar with all the rules. He’s the executive director, so he set the policy, didn’t he?

What’s interesting to note is that Mr. Parkinson made a habit that evening of rushing over to help. In one instance, as two TOMSA staffers were leaving at the end of the public portion of the meeting, I stopped them to ask their names. In a flash, Parkinson was between us, offering to help. It was ridiculous. He was clearly running interference. I think the question is, why did he feel the need to?

Leave a comment

Filed under guest blogger, Linda Baum, Meeting Minutes, OPRA requests, TOMSA

>NJPP: In the end-game for the NJ state budget, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

>

June 20th 2011,

Dear Supporters,

Over the next two weeks – as the Legislature rushes to produce a budget that won’t drown in the ink from the line-item veto pen – we’re all too likely to fully realize the “new normal” that Governor Christie talked about when he proposed his budget four months ago.

It goes something like this:

Rich people and corporations get tax breaks.

The middle class will pay more.

We will all have to make do with less.

Instead of a balanced approach that includes revenues – like the courageous governor of Connecticut proposed – New Jersey’s budget relies only on cuts in services.

Instead of finding ways to invest in building blocks of a strong economy – schools, police, libraries, health care, parks, roads and bridges – the governor has dug in even further, promising to veto any tax increase, including a tax on millionaires’ incomes that has overwhelming public support. Even as state revenues start to rise a bit in the recession’s wake, the administration in Trenton insists we can’t afford:

Health care for working parents if they earn more than $115 a week.

Women’s health care at family planning clinics, even though it means missing out on federal matching funds, an increase in unintended pregnancies and higher costs to treat uninsured patients.

Maintaining the state Earned Income Tax Credit for working poor families, who have seen their taxes increase by $300 a year – the equivalent of a week’s wages – while the wealthiest got a tax cut.

Meanwhile, the state has found more than enough money to hand out $1 billion in subsidies and tax breaks for developers and corporations, including some of the most profitable businesses in the state. Extensive research and plain old common sense show that these giveaways don’t create jobs.

That’s where we come in.

As we have for 14 years, NJPP is shining a spotlight on important policy decisions with the goal of having a state government that promotes broadly shared prosperity for all New Jerseyans instead of picking winners and losers.

We’re proud to be a leading voice for fairness in New Jersey, using solid research and strategic communications to strongly advocate for those who have the smallest voices in the public arena – the poor, working families, the disabled and other vulnerable people in our society.

And we couldn’t do it without you.

NJPP’s generous supporters understand why our work is so important to the vision of New Jersey they want for themselves and their children.

You’ve received several emails from us in the past week highlighting our work.

Now, we are asking for your help.

Please click on the “donate” button below and give to NJPP today.

By contributing you will enable NJPP to keep digging deeper into tough policy issues and widely share our findings to make a difference in people’s lives. Every donation counts, whether it’s $1,000 to print and publish one of our reports or $50 to cover the cost of copying documents requested through the Open Public Records Act.

As you follow what’s going on in Trenton with the budget and other issues over the next couple of weeks, I ask that you keep in mind the work New Jersey Policy Perspective is doing and the role that you can play.

Together, we can create a “new normal” that lifts up every one of us, not just the privileged few.

Thanks so much for your support – past and future.

Sincerely,

Deborah Howlett, President

DONATE

Leave a comment

Filed under Gov. Chris Christie, line item veto, Middle Class, New Jersey Policy Perspective, NJ State Budget, OPRA requests, tax breaks for the rich, Uncategorized, women's health issues

>Ordinance 2011-3027 And When Is A Salary Freeze, Not A Salary Freeze Explained: UPDATE

>Earlier today I was contacted by Middletown Township Clerk Heidi Brunt in reference to yesterdays’ blog post, I wasn’t available when first contacted, but I called her back around 4:30 this afternoon.

Ms. Brunt, after reading about my experience trying to get information pertaining to the proposed salary ordinance 2011-3027 (that was to be re-introduced at tonight’s Township Committee meeting) via an OPRA request. She wanted to apologise and clear the air about any misunderstanding that may have arisen from it. Clerk Brunt informed me that there was indeed a list of employees with job title and salaries available to me for the year 2009. She stated that if she had been in the office when I stopped by on Friday she would have presented me with what I requested.

After speaking with her and telling her exactly what I was after she said it was no problem, she requested me to send her an email so that she would have a record of my request. As soon as I sent her the email, with in minutes, she sent me a list for all township employees, their job positions and salaries for the year 2009 (even though I requested 2010). Ms. Brunt stated that to her knowledge, the salaries contained in this document had not changed.

While on the phone with Clerk Brunt, she did volunteer a small bit of information to me. Ms. Brunt mentioned that Tax Assessor Charles Heck and herself were due a 2.5% statutory salary increase for 2011. She informed me that, she, herself, had no intention accepting the raise and as a matter of fact had already turned it down. Her feelings were such that she in good conscience could not accept a raise while others were losing their jobs. She could not say the same of Tax Assessor Heck, who, she believes has not turned down the raise and is planning on accepting it.

Aftyer hanging up with Clerk Brunt it accured to me that I did not follow-up with her about Heck’s $15,000 “bonus” that was part of the ordinance. That is something that needs to be cleared up.

Heck received a salary of $108,572 from Middletown in 2009 which means he is due for an increase of $2714 in base pay increase if he accepts the 2.5% raise. A far cry less than the $15K “bonus” proposed in the ordinance, but which is no less disturbing.

Thank you Clerk Brunt for contacting me and clearing this up!

BTW – as a side note, it accured to me while looking at the list of employees and salaries, that this list doesn’t reflect the employees that retired or were laid off last year (2010), which isn’t a problem. Where the problem lays (and it really isn’t a problem, I just want to point it out) is that last year members of the Police Department were given a retro-active raise of 8% to cover salary increase for 2008 & 2009 in exchange for a 0% raise in 2010 (Gerry Scharfenberger was very proud of this), so I need to add 8% to the base of all members of the Police Department to get an accurate gage for 2011 salaries, which should not be misconstrued to be a jab at the Police.

I believe that the police have a very difficult job and at anytime during the day or night are putting their life on the line to protect other and uphold the law. One never knows when their next traffic stop or domestic dispute call will be their last.

12 Comments

Filed under bonuses, Charles Heck, Heidi Brunt, OPRA requests, resolutions and ordinances, salary and compensation, salary freeze, Township Clerk, update

>Ordinance 2011-3027 And When Is A Salary Freeze, Not A Salary Freeze Explained

>I had some spare time on Friday so I thought that I would do a little research into the new salary ordinance being proposed by the Middletown Township Committee. I went down to Town Hall to request some information about it, but before I explain to you what I found out, here is a little rundown on what the new ordinance is about and what it is replacing.

Ordinance 2011-3027 Amending Management Salaries and Non-Union Employees, which can be found on the township website under the Clerk’s tab, is an attempt by the Township to be more transparent (TC Attorney Brian Nelson’s words) when it comes to non-union employees salaries. The ordinance list about 50 non-union job titles broken down into 5 sections titled:
Management
Statutory Employees(N.J.S.A. 40A:9-165)
Officers
Elected Officials
and
Special Assignments (Expiring 12/31/2011)
Accompanying each job titled is a single salary figure with no further explanation, which leads one to believe that those salaries are the current employee salaries or will be once the ordinance is approved. It is very misleading.
This proposed ordinance will replace existing Ordinance 2009-2996 , which instead of providing a single salary per job title, contained salary ranges per job title. Employee salaries could fall anywhere within a range that would reflect position (title and description) value in the broad market place; the regional market place; specific industry, as well as allow comparison across industries.
As I said, I went down to Town Hall thinking that I could get some information via an OPRA request on employees that currently fill positions and their current salaries as outlined in Ordinance 2011-3027, but I was wrong. It seems that you can only OPRA actual document that contain information, you can’t request that a list or document be generated to provide you with information.
Be that as it may, while I was discussing what I wanted to know, I kept being told that all the information that I wanted to know was listed in the ordinance and that NO employee would be receiving any raises in the ordinance due to a salary freeze which was in effect.
When I stated that the information I wanted wasn’t there, that I questioned current salaries as opposed to salaries list in the ordinance and that current salaries for a handful of employees that I found on the APP’s Data Universe where listed higher, sometime much higher, than those in the proposed new ordinance, it was suggested that I speak to Township Administrator Tony Mercantante.
Tony Mercantante explained that what I was trying to do was not possible because lists like the one I was asking for didn’t exist. When I told him that I now understood that, that I questioned the salaries listed in the new ordinance and whether they were accurate, he stated hat the ordinance language will be rewritten before it is reintroduced Monday night because he had concerns that the language was misleading . Mercantante stated that the salaries listed in ordinance 2011-3027 are for starting base pay only and are not reflective of what individuals in those positions are currently earning. But the assured me that no one was getting a salary raise because there was a pay freeze in effect.
He said that many are making more money annually than what the ordinance calls for due to longevity and merit pay. When I asked him for a list of salaries of current non union employees so that I could compare anyway, he said some of those numbers may change between now and the time the numbers would be provided. I asked him how that could be when there is a “salary freeze” in effect? Mercantante became a little wishy-washysaying that the salary freeze is only for actual raises to the base pay rate; step raises, longevity, merit or promotional type raises are not affected by the freeze.

I asked how could that be when you are dealing with non-union employees? He said it is in the contracts. What contracts I said, since when did non-union workers and department heads have contracts? He said whatever contracts are in effect for union employees, the same terms of those contracts hold for non-union Township employees.

I left there shaking my head because it didn’t make sense, but then again when did anything that the people who run Middletown do make sense?

So the bottom line for those asking questions or leaving comments on this blog is, proposed ordinance 2011-3027 salaries are starting base only and are not reflective of what individuals in those positions are currently earning. These salaries would be for new employees only, no current non-union employees will have money taking away from them based on the figures in this ordinance.

Also as far as I’m concerned,there is no true salary freeze happening. If a merit, longevity or other type of employment milestone is met by an employees of the township, they will be receiving a salary increase. So if you happen to one of the lucky ones who will enjoy a bump in your pay sometime this year congratulations! All others, piss off as they say.
On a side note, I asked Mercantante when the budget would be introduced. He said tentatively April 4th as part of the workshop meeting. He does not expect at this time to hold a special presentation meeting to introduce the budget, but that may or may not change just as the April 4th date might.

When I asked him about having to submit the budget to the state by March 16th, he said that date keeps changing because the state isn’t ready. So as usual the budget introduction is a floating target, but when it is introduced, we will be able to see that planned salaries for all those listed in the ordinance without and Opra request YEAAHH !

Leave a comment

Filed under merit pay, Middletown NJ, OPRA requests, resolutions and ordinances, salary freeze, step raises, Tony Mercantante, Township Administrator

>The First Issue of "It’s Your Town" Newsletter for The 2011 Is Now Available For Reading

>Volume 3, issue 1 of “It’s Your Town” newsletter has been published and available online for all that wish to read it. This is the first issue of the newsletter for 2011 and as always is very informative.

The first meeting of the year for the Township Committee was Reorganization day and took place on January 2,2011. Candidates that won the election in November were sworn in and the Committee elected the new mayor and deputy mayor. All political appointees were voted on also, although many of them were not in attendance for thier swearing in.

As always it should be noted the newsletter is not an official transcript of Township meetings, it is written by Don Watson who takes notes and writes as much as he can while the
meeting is taking place. It is extremely accurate and is the next best thing to being there in person (that is of course until the Township decides to broadcast their meetings on public access TV).

Another alternative to the newsletter that is available to residents, are the actual Township recordings of the meetings. In order to receive a copy of the recording, an OPRA request must be submitted to the Township Clerk and individuals must pay an accompanying fees that are associated with the request.
So seeing that filing OPRA requests after each township meeting my not be your thing to do, reading the newsletter is the only true way of staying informed about what is going on down at Middletown’s Town Hall.
You can read the newsletter >>>> Here

Leave a comment

Filed under committee meeting, Its Your Town, Middletown NJ, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, OPRA requests