By Joe Caliendo
The Republican Majority on the Middletown Committee hasn’t told the truth about what it is doing to township residents, their trust or their money for quite some time.
In Middletown, Republican Chairman Peter Carton sits in the back of the committee chambers sometimes and holds court while the show that is the committee meeting goes on in the front of the room. Peter Carton picks the candidates that become elected officials in town, he then turns around and works for those people when they appoint his Newark Law firm as the bond counsel for the township. How can that be a good thing? It can’t.
He must find it quite humorous, how the township Republicans dupe people into believing they are voting for candidates from a political party when they are, in fact, voting for a law firm.
Deputy Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger would tell you that Middletown represents the best in government in this state. I suppose that would be true, if someone counted cronyism, backroom dealing, financial mismanagement, and a lack of transparency as good things.
Emboldened by their recent election win in November, the Republican Majority practically doubled the township’s legal budget. While there is a new township attorney, Brian Nelson, the committee decided it would keep the old township attorney, Bernard Reilly, around for awhile, and pay him about what they paid him when he was the township attorney last year. It’s being said that Mr. Reilly is cleaning up cases. Well, he sure can buy a big mop.
Brian Nelson isn’t a new face for people in politics. He was the Republican Party executive director for the state organization under Sen. Joe Kyrillos when he was state chairman. Then Mr. Nelson went to Mr. Carton’s Newark law firm, and worked there while he was an oft-used campaign staffer for Monmouth County Republicans. Mr. Nelson was even involved with Middletown Republican campaigns. It’s funny how I’ve always thought about lawyers – it was always my view that lawyers are supposed to get jobs by being good at practicing law. I don’t see how Mr. Nelson had time for such a thing with all of his political work.
The PolitickerNJ.com, this political website, has even given Mr. Nelson the title “Republican insider.” As a resident and taxpayer of Middletown, I would prefer to have a good lawyer representing the township rather than some ridiculous political “insider.”
Middletown voters pulling the lever for Peter Carton’s Republican Party are being used. But they don’t have to take my word for it – they could always go to a meeting of their committee for themselves once and see what they put into office. They might even catch an appearance by the great man himself, Mr. Carton, while he swaggers in the back of the committee chambers mocking the township foolish enough to buy his election season scam.