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.
Category Archives: Tony Fiore
Middletown Planning Board Member Who Receives Lucrative Contracts From The Township Seems Unethical To Me
Middletown’s acting Mayor Tony Fiore has asked the President of the Middletown Library Board to resign his position as Board President according to an article posted on Middletown-Patch this morning.
According to Middletown-Patch, a letter was sent to Library Board President Randal Gabrielan last Wednesday requesting his resignation for questionable inappropriate and unethical behavior pertaining to books purchased by the Middletown Library that were penned by Gabrielan.
Randal Gabrielan is the Monmouth County historian and writes books about the history of Monmouth County and its towns. The books are available at many book sellers throughout NJ.
Where the supposed ethical violations come into play in this case is that as Library Board President, Randal Gabrielan signs all the purchase vouchers for the library, including the vouchers that pertain to the books that he has written.
FOUR LITTLE WORDS THAT SAY A LOT ABOUT HOW THE TOWNSHIP DOLES OUT APPOINTMENTS: “When they asked me.”
by guest blogger Linda Baum
Quote of the day goes to Brock Siebert, who, when asked when he knew he’d been appointed as a Library trustee by the Township Committee, replied, “When they asked me.” I think that confirms that the Township does not require the submission of a board membership application as a pre-requisite for appointment. In fact, I checked. There is no application for Mr. Siebert on file with the Township.
In Kevin Penton’s 1/2/12 APP article “Advocate is not reappointed” about the dwindling membership on the Middletown Human Rights Commission (MHRC), Mayor Tony Fiore is quoted as saying he is unaware of any other Township resident who had expressed an interest in serving on the Commission, besides Dr. Schwebel, whose term expired at the end of 2011. Fiore is implying that a lack of willing candidates is the reason no appointments were made. However, as Brock Siebert’s appointment to the Library Board demonstrates, the Township will seek out candidates who haven’t necessarily expressed an interest in appointment. So Mr. Fiore’s excuse about the MHRC vacancies doesn’t fly. In fact, Dr. Schwebel knows at least one other person who applied but never received a response.
If you would like to see the MHRC survive and are interested in serving, you can find the board membership application….. Here
Rumors have been circulating for a number of weeks now concerning the future of the Middletown Swim Club.
Some have said that the Swim Club was in the process of being sold to a developer who would be building townhouse on site and another said that the Swim Club was to be leased to a third party that would install an olympic sized swimming pool and an ice rink. No rumor that I am aware of mentioned that the facility would be closed completely for 2012.
Notice however, the small glimmer of hope offered by Township Aministrator Tony Mercantante, who stated in the press release that, “We are, however, looking at options that would allow the club to re-open with a different operator…”, which seem to confirm the one of the rumors listed above.
Below is the announcement posted on the Middletown Township website concerning the closing of the Middletown Swim Club:
The Middletown Swim and Tennis Club will not be operated by the Township in 2012 as program fees have not covered its operating budget in recent years. Accordingly, Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante is recommending that the facility remain closed for the 2012 season, unless another entity can soon be identified to operate the club.
“Unfortunately, rising costs, declining membership, declining revenues, an aging facility, and staff reductions mean that it is no longer economically viable for the Township to continue to operate the facility,” Mercantante said. “The Township has been obligated to cover revenue shortfalls from its regular operating budget,” Mercantante explained, “and it cannot afford to do so any longer.”
“It is unrealistic to expect the Township Committee to ask taxpayers to help support a membership-driven facility, hoping that it will become self-sustaining again,” Mayor Tony Fiore continued.
The Township purchased the 10-acre aquatic facility from a private owner in 1997 for $1.225 million. The facility, located at the corner of Harmony and Old Country Road, has 4 swimming pools, 55 cabanas, 330 bathhouses, five tennis courts, a playground, snack bar and basketball, shuffleboard, bocce and handball courts.
The club, which is funded through membership and program fees, is managed through a utility that allows the facility to operate outside of the municipal budget. Revenues were to cover the purchase, operating costs and improvements. In the early years, the club largely paid for itself as anticipated. Since the national recession began in 2008, membership has declined and revenues are not covering operating and debt costs.
“No decision has been reached as to what to do with the facility in the long-term,” Mercantante said.
He added that the facility’s age is another factor in its fate. The club, which is more than 50 years old, will continue to need repairs and capital upgrades in the years to come. There are not sufficient revenues to support major improvement projects, Mercantante said.
“We realize that if the club does not open it will be a sad day for many families in the Township. We also realize it will be disruptive to some people’s summer plans, but the Township cannot afford to run the club in the red for another season,” Mercantante said. “We are, however, looking at options that would allow the club to re-open with a different operator and we are also looking at options to allow the main pool to be opened so that the award-winning swim team can stay together for another season,” he said.
“During these tough economic times everything must always be on the table. The decision not operate the swim club is one that we take very seriously. However, our obligation to provide core and essential governmental services cannot be compromised,” Mayor Fiore said.
Middletown Patch: Middletown mayor explains status of the township department and Gregg Silva, its longtime director
For those interested in the “official” version of Gregg Silva’s retirement/termination (Middletown’s longtime Director of Parks and Recreation), Middletown Patch did a good job of following up my story about his departure.
Our second quote of the day comes from newly reappointed Middletown Mayor Tony Fiore, from statements made to reporter Kevin Penton in todays Asbury Park Press concerning the appointments of members to (or lack thereof) the Middletown Human Rights Commission and its former Chairperson Carolyn Scwhebel.
“You can say it’s political, you can say it’s personal choice,” Fiore said. “She doesn’t work well with the town.”
Mrs. Scwhebel recently sent a letter to the editor, Middletown Human Rights Commission Being Abolished by Attrition, to local publication (this blog included) that expressed her concerns at not being reappointed to the commission.