The following letter written by a Mr. Warren Houck, appeared in the printed version of the Asbury Park Press last week but for some strange and unknown reason it failed to make the online addition, which has forced me to painstakingly reproduce it here for all to read an comment on:
Category Archives: pay freeze
Another Example Of mayor Gerry Not Telling The Whole Truth For Political Gain, Middletown PBA Given 7.7% Pay Raise
During committee comments that evening, Gerry couldn’t wait to tell everyone what a wonderful accomplishment he had been able to pull off. It seems that during the executive session meeting which was held before the open public portion of the meeting, Gerry and his fellow committee members received the heads up that 2 out of the 4 or 5 unions that service the township had excepted a zero percent pay increase for FY 2010. To Gerry this was great news and an opportunity to score some cheap political points with those that were in attendance for the public portion of the meeting by letting them know that this was a great accomplishment that would go a long way in helping the township balance it’s budget that has a deficit of $5 million.
(Here’s Gerry making the announcement)
Out of the two unions that settled their contracts with the Township I was able to get the details behind one of them, PBA Local 124, which represent the officers of the Middletown Police Department. To their credit, the police accepted a zero percent increase for 2010 and agreed to contribute 1.5% of “pensionable base salary” toward their health benefits effective on July 1,2010 (which thanks to Gov. Christie they would have had to have done anyway), and they gave up 96 hours worth of holiday pay provisions.
What did Middletown have to give up in return?
The Township settled with PBA Local 124 by agreeing to a retro active pay increase of 3.85% for FY 2008 and an additional 3.85% retro active increase for FY 2009 for a total of a 7.7% pay increase that members of the PBA would see in their next paychecks.
Don’t get me wrong,I don’t begrudge the fine men and women of the Middletown Police Department anything here, they do a fine job and should be rewarded. The purpose of pointing out their settlment is strickly to show that mayor Gerry Scharfenberger has a problem with presenting the whole truth when the whole truth may not be politically advantagous for him to do so.
In our current economic crisis it is safe to say that everyone is suffering right now with tens of thousands of job losses and pay freezes nationwide. When times are tough, our elected representatives must make difficult decisions by taking the finances of our town seriously and helping those that need the most help. The taxpayer. What better way to lead in these trying times than by setting a good example and taking charge of what they were elected to do.
Therefore I would like to applaud the Middletown Township Committee for deciding to forgo their pay. They should go one step further by eliminating the stipend and health benefits of all Committee appointees, namely the sewer authority. A request should go out to ask the appointed professionals, like lawyers and engineers, to accept a reduction in the contracts that were negotiated in December. This is the example that should be set and is being suggested by Committeemen Patrick Short and Sean Byrnes,
There are some that report that Committeemen Short and Byrnes criticize insignificant savings, when in reality, they are looking to find significant savings in items that are not self-funded so that those that need the most help are not subject to the town helping themselves to your hard earned dollars. As homeowners and taxpayers, we deserve a Township Committee that is going to set the tone for a township budget. This is not what is happening and over 20% of this years budget has already been spent. Committeemen Short and Byrnes are the kind of positive and creative thinkers that are required to lead our town. They are putting the taxpayer first by looking for ways to allow the taxpayer to keep more of what they earn.
I applaud the work that Committeemen Short and Byrnes are doing to drive this budget process. Even the other Committee members recognize the effort and have adopted some of their Ideas. Hopefully, our town can come out of this process on a positive note.
Paul J Jansen