Category Archives: Two River Times

Middletown Director of Parks & Recreation Placed on Administrative Leave By Township

Early last week I received an email from someone that wanted to know if I had heard or knew anything about Middletown’s Director of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs, Gregg Silva, being investigated by the Township of Middletown for some wrong doing and as a result of the investigation has been placed on indefinite administrative leave(fired?) by his bosses at Town Hall.

This person also informed me that as a result of Silva being placed on indefinite leave, rumors were running rampant that Middletown’s former mayor/deputy mayor, the soon to be departing Township Committeewoman Pamela Brightbill, be will replacing Silva as the new Director of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs.

I responded by saying I hadn’t heard anything about Silva’s current troubles or the rumor about Brightbill, but I would make a few inquiries and get to the bottom of it as best I could. So I sent out a few emails and made a couple of phone calls to some people that I know to see if they had heard anything themselves.

It didn’t take long to get a response.

From what I have gathered, it seems that Gregg Silva is most definitely on administrative leave and has been for over two weeks. The leave has been technically without pay (he is being allowed to use accumulated sick time) while he is under investigation by the Township.

What did he do wrong that has caused the Township to place him on leave? If you know anything about Gregg Silva, it could be just about anything, he has a long history of engaging in questionable practices. But what seems to have been the last straw was the building of a private memorial, on Township property, on the grounds of Croydon Hall in Leonardo.

A few months back a Township teenager, who grew up in the Leonardo section of Middletown, passed away as a result of a car accident while traveling down Chapel Hill Rd. The teenager, Daniel Piano, by all accounts was a great kid who had a lot of friends and a very loving family.

As a result of his passing, his friends built a makeshift memorial at the site of the accident but it wasn’t a place that Daniel’s mother wanted to go or thought that others should go to either because of the nature of the road, Chapel Hill Road is very busy and is dangerous for people to stand on the side of. So she had the idea to ask the “Township” for permission to build a memorial for Daniel on the grounds of Croydon Hall, seeing how it was a place that her son spent many happy hours of his life playing and hanging out there.

After receiving permission from Gregg Silva to build the memorial, Mrs. Piano went about the business of arranging for the construction of Daniel’s memorial, the building of which was covered by private donations and volunteer labor.

You can read all about it in an article that was posted online at the Two Rivers Times.

So then, why would Gregg Silva be placed on indefinite leave of absence with his job in jeopardy if he received permission from the Township, to allow the construction of the Daniel Piano Memorial on the grounds of Croydon Hall? Well, evidently he never asked his superiors if it was alright for the memorial to be built. He took it upon himself to OK it without the consultation of others and that is where the trouble now lays.

If Gregg Silva would have first spoken to Township Administrator Tony Mercantante first, I am sure that the memorial would not have been allowed to be built. But now that it has been built the Township has to deal with any potential repercussions that might be a result of the memorial being built, namely others that may want to build similar memorials to loved ones that have passed.

As unlikely as that may seem, by giving the go ahead to the Piano family to built the memorial, Gregg Silva inadvertently set a precedent within Middletown that would allow for these types of memorials to be built in other parks throughout the Township. If the Township denies other the right to privately construct such memorials it could lead to lawsuits that would be costly to Middletown taxpayers.

As for the Brightbill taking over for Silva rumor, at this time from what I have been able to gather, it is still just a rumor but could have legs for a variety of reason, which I will save for another post.
In an effort at full disclosure on my part, everything that I have written here I have heard from others. I just want it to be known that I sent Township Administrator Tony Mercantante an email last week seeking comment but I haven’t heard back from him as of yet. From what I understand, I was not the first to try and contact him last week on this subject. Two real, non-blogging journalist (I don’t consider myself a journalist) have either spoken to Tony directly ( I was told the conversation was short, curt and ended with Mercantante stating that Silva was under investigation and the investigation was being handled in-house) or sent him, like myself, and email. If I hear back from Mr. Mercantante later on this subject, I’ll post an update.

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Filed under administrative leave, Chapel Hill Rd, Croydon Hall, Daniel Piano, Gregg Silva, Leonardo NJ, Memorial, Middletown Parks and Recreation, Pamela Brightbill, Two River Times

>TRT Chimes In on Monday Night’s Middletown Township Meeting

>In today’s edition of the Diane Gooch owned Two River Times, appears an article written by Ryan Fennell that does a good job at reporting what actually went on durning the Township Committee meeting in Middletown this past Monday night, November 15th.

After being duped by Scharfenberger into believing that he gave up his yearly $4000 stipen as a committee member in January and is now serving as a “volunteer” Mayor after questions arose, when it came to light that Scharfenberger had been appointed to a lucrative position in the Christie administration his last article.
Here Fennell reports, “…The initial controversy developed when a politically conservative local blog revealed shortly after the election that Scharfenberger had been appointed as the director of the Office for Planning Advocacy within the New Jersey Department of State. The office was formerly known as the Office of Smart Growth and fell within the jurisdiction of the Department of Community Affairs.

Scharfenberger was appointed to the position on August 16, and while Scharfenberger claims that his appointment was not kept secret from his constituents or campaign opponents, he also said he did not want to use the news of his appointment to the state position as an advantage for him in the campaign.

“It was made public,” Scharfenberger told The Two River Times™ last week. “It’s just that they (his campaign opponents) didn’t know about it. I’ve been out in front of various groups. It was on the (state) web site.”

No formal announcement was made, Scharfenberger said, because “I didn’t want it to appear as if I was using this position to help my re-election.”

During the Township Committee meeting Monday, Nov. 15, the committee members were asked if they knew about Scharfenberger’s appointment and all but one said that they knew about it….

This is classic Scharfenberger bullshit! If 4 out of the 5 members of theTownship Committee knew about the appointment, why the effort to keep it from the 5th member? It’s obvious that the only functions that Scharfenberger attended and made such an announcement were those that were attended by GOP party loyalists and insiders, otherwise the information of his new job would have become common knowledge around town.
After the meeting was over Fennell questioned Scharfenberger about his statement at the Lincroft Village Green Association’s Candidates Night, where Scharfenberger stated that he had given up his stipend for the year and was acting as a volunteer. It was Middletown resident Don Watson, who initially questioned Scharfenberger over this during public comments, Scharfenberger reaction was to deny he said such a thing and to immediately instruct the Clerk to note for the record that Mr. Watson’s comment was incorrect.
Unfortunately for Mr. Scharfenberger an audio recording of his statement from Candidates Night says otherwise.
When Fennel asked Scharfenberger for and explanation, Fennell reported “…Scharfenberger told The Two River Times™ that he stopped receiving his paychecks in July “more out of concern for the budget.”
More Scharfenberger Bullshit! Did he really think that $153 a week would make a that much of a difference in a budget that was already $5.5M in the hole, can he really say with a straight face that $2,000 would make a difference in a 14% municipal tax increase? I very much doubt it, he gave up his stipend because he knew that he was taking the job within the Christie administration and that the Governor had already reversed his opinion of whether elected official could hold dual offices. According to Christie it is now OK to hold dual offices with in the state as long as those who were elected served to so voluntarily. That is why Scharfenberger gave up his remaining $2000, not out of any concerns over the financial well being of the Township or worries over the budget.
The article goes on to address much of what was brought up that night, much of which is on video and posted here previously on the blog. I recommend reading the article for yourselves this way you can determine if my earlier reporting was inaccurate or biased in anyway.
Scharfenberger is the one that brought this onto himself, all he needed to do was to be honest and show a little integrity when questioned earlier by reporters when asked before the election what his current job position was. Instead he failed/refused to reveal his new position as the Director of Planning Advocacy.

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Filed under candidates night, Gerry Scharfenberger, honesty and integrity, LVGA, Office of Planning Advocacy, Ryan Fennell, Two River Times

>How Close To The Line of Fact and Fiction Does Scharfenberger Get When He Calls Himself a Volunteer?

>How close does Gerry Scharfenberger get to crossing to the line between honesty and deception when he discusses his new position as Executive Director of the Office of Planning Advocacy and how it effects his status serving as an elected official in Middletown?

Since it became common knowledge 10 days ago that Scharfenberger was appointed by Governor Christie to a $95,000 a year job, the uproar over his silence (not appointment), doesn’t seem to be going away. If anything it raises more questions after articles in both the Independent and Two River Times did little to silence his critics.

Both articles state that he is a “Volunteer” and doesn’t take a salary from the town. The Two River Times quotes him as saying, “I’m not taking a salary as Mayor. It’s a volunteer position much (like) the Landmark Commission and the Drug and Alcohol Alliance”.
Really, how is that possible? As member of the Township Committee each elected member is entitled to a $4,000 a year stipend (which Scharfenberger announced during the Lincroft Village Green Association sponsored Candidates Night, to our surprise, that he was not taking this salary). Each member of the Township Committee receives this stipend regardless if they are appointed as Mayor or not. There is no extra pay associated with the Mayor’s position and never has been, essentially every person who has served as Mayor in Middletown for the past 5 decades has done it “voluntarily” upon being chosen by others on the Committee to act as such.
To consider any elected official, whether it is as Mayor or Committee member, as a volunteer is a stretch of the word, volunteers are generally appointed and receive no compensation or they serve as a means of helping others with no expectations of reward for their humble service. Those that seek office campaign and are elected to office by voters, many go on to seek higher office or seek special favors from those in higher positions to advance their ambitions or line their pockets, much like Scharfenberger has done. To call them volunteers is a gross exaggeration of the word.
Gerry seems to be playing word games here that come very close to crossing the line between honesty and deceit. Another example of his word games is his pension status, he says he isn’t enrolled in the State pension system known as PERS but contributes to a deferred compensation 401K plan.
This I found out is true, not because he dropped out of the PERS system voluntarily, but because of the fact that as of 2008, all part time elected officials were dropped from the system and given the chance to participate in a state sponsored 401K plan to save costs.
Back in 2007, when Democrat Patrick Short proposed that elected and part-time officials in Middletown give up health and pension benefits, Scharfenberger is on record stating that he was in the township pension system and adamant that he could not get out of it as hard as he tried, he stated at the time, “Once you’re in you are in and can’t get out of it … and I tried”.
Again very close to the line between honesty and deceit, but I think I may have stumbled upon something that just may show that Scharfenberger did in fact cross that line.
In the audio clip below from the Oct. 28, 2010 LVGA Candidates Night, Scharfenberger was asked about the salaries for Township Committee people. At the time I didn’t give it much thought, I just assumed that the questioner was curious about whether or not Committee members were once again collecting stipends in 2010 after giving them up in 2009. When answering Scharfenberger went into his volunteer speech and talked about how he wasn’t taking a salary. He came across as a hero of sorts, looking out for the town with this symbolic gesture of kindness during tough economic times. He didn’t seem to care that by doing so he trashed his fellow Committee members.
In hindsight however, I’ve come to believe that this simple question was nothing more than plant from a supporter that knew Scharfenberger was appointed by Governor Christie to head up the Office of Planning Advocacy. Gerry wanted to go on record that he was in compliance with Christie’s rule that, No elected official could serve dual rolls within the State unless the position that they were elected to would be carried out voluntarily, hence the announcement that he hadn’t taken a salary all year.
In light of the two previously mentioned articles that didn’t delve into the story of Scharfenberger’s appointment like the Asbury Park Press had (the reporters chose not to question Scharfenberger over his volunteer status), I’ve spent the past few days looking over the Township Bill List and from what I’ve determined, this time Gerry just may have crossed the line into outright deception.
Here’s what I have determined:

Committee members took no salaries for most of 2009.

  1. For 2010, each Committee member earns $153.84 per week gross.
  2. The March 2010 Bills List shows $2526.66 as the salary line item. However, at that time, they were including the Mayor’s secretary in that line item. Later in the year, she is broken out separately, and her bi-weekly salary is $1,757.46.
  3. If you go back to the March payment of bills and subtract her salary ($1,757.46) from that line item ($2526.66), you get $769.20.
  4. Drum roll please . . . if you divide $769.20 by Committee members gross weekly pay ($153.84), guess what number you get . . . 5 (How many Township Committee people do we have?).
  5. Conclusion = Gerry was still taking a salary in March.
So, then we go to August. On the 10-206 payment of bills documents there is still a line item for Township Committee salaries of $2526.66, so Gerry was still taking his stipend as of Payroll for 8/6/10. However, the next bill list 10-234 for the 8/20/10 payroll, the line item goes down to $2372.82.
When broken down, remembering there is $1757.46 for the Mayor’s secretary, and you subtract her salary from the new total salary line item ($2372.82), you get $615.36 (which also happens to be the new salary line item on the November bill list where the Township Committee is now listed separately). When you divide $615.36 by that bi-weekly salary of $153.84, you get 4.
Conclusion = Gerry stopped taking his salary after the 8/6/10 payroll,which corresponds with his knowledge of his appointment by Christie to his new State job, NOT in January, as he lead those at the LVGA Candidates night and the reporters from the Independent and the Two River Times to believe and report.
Over the past few years there has been many such instances of Scharfenberger walking the tightrope between honesty and deceit, always choosing his words very carefully to maintain that balancing act. This time however, he may have gone to far by not figuring that someone other than the a reporter, who’s job it is to investigate before reporting, would take the time to do some homework and find that Gerry once again wasn’t being completely honest and crossed the line into deceitfulness.
I wonder if anyone will ask him to explain himself tonight at the Township Committee meeting?

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, bill list, candidates night, deceit, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Chris Christie, honesty and integrity, LVGA, Office of Planning Advocacy, the Independent, Two River Times

>There seems to be NO reason why Middletown can’t televise it’s meetings other than Gerry doesn’t want to.

>An excellent article appears in today’s edition of the Tow River Times titled “Twp. Officials Differ On Wisdom Of Videotaping Meetings“, it is written by reporter John Burton and pretty much counters everything that has been said by Gerry Scharfenberger as to why Township Committee meetings can’t be televised over the local cable access channels.

Burton contacted a spokesman for Verizon, Mr. Duthaler, who explained that “Cable companies take a small portion of the money paid to them by customers, and pay those allotments to the varies towns, what are called franchise fees. Some communities use portions of those funds to tape and broadcast meetings and other community information…

Sometimes municipalities negotiate with the cable providers, which can cover much, possibly all, of the cost of equipment. If Verizon is available in a community, that company, under its state agreement, would make available the necessary equipment and train personnel for any municipality that wants it, that’s the way for them [towns] to get anything they want, all the equipment, all for free”.


The article goes on to say that the cost of televising meeting is only ~$14k-$15k a year, which is a far cry from the $120k figure that Gerry Scharfenberger told residents at Shadow Lake Village last night it would cost when asked.
Burton also contacted representatives from Long Branch and Howell Twsp. to ask their opinions about how well things have worked out with televising meetings and both shared with him the same sentiments. “I think its working out well.”
As to Scharfenberger’s worrying about legal responiblities if something inappropriate is broadcast, David Bonowski, Howell’s director of Management Information Systems, stated that in the six years Howell has been doing it(taping meetings for public broadcast)ed there has been no editing of content. “We haven’t had anything happen at a meeting that would violate the FCC public guidelines and regulations.”
So what is the problem here other than Scharfenberger and the Republicans that have been in control of Middletown for over 30 years, just don’t want to do it.
Committeeman Sean Byrnes is qouted as charging,“opponents are actively trying to keep meetings from being made available for the public.”

“I think if you could pick up the clicker and put on the local equivalent of C-Span and see what’s going on,” he said, “I don’t see how it can hurt.”


I happen to agree with him as do many other residents on this issue. Whenever you can bring more transparency to the process of government it is a good thing, especially when you consider that the costs of recording and broadcasting meeting can be done for little to no costs to the tax payer.

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Filed under Comcast, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown Township Committee, Sean F. Byrnes, Two River Times, Verizon, videotaping meetings

TRT:M’Town School Budget Fails…Blah, Blah, Blah

I have to give another well deserved shoutout to Ryan Fennell, the reporter who covers the Middletown beat for the Two River Times. It seems that out of the 3 or 4 reporters that regularly cover the happenings at Middletown Committee meetings he seems to be the only one interested in reporting the whole story, not just the rantings and diatribes of an appointed mayor.

At Monday night’s Committee meeting when the discussion got around to the defeated school budget, he didn’t simply rely on two previously released press releases and a personal letter issued by mayor Scharfenberger over the last 10 days that were written to chastise Middletown teachers and their union into accepting a wage freeze like others have recently done. He actually reported what was said by another member of the Committee that doesn’t happen to sit in the majority, fanning the flames of residents displeasure by attempting to turn this years defeated school budget into a political campaign issue.

Of course he reported what the mayor and deputy-mayor had to say about the teachers, their union, the potential wage freeze and the effect it would have on the Township and school system if enacted, but their comments really just amounted to a rehash of the earlier press releases and letter.

Blah, blah,blah…wage freeze…blah,blah, blah…layoffs…blah, blah, blah…union…blah, blah,blah…pay freezes….blah blah,blah…voter anger at teachers….

Instead of ending his article there, with a one sided, biased, anti-teacher/union spin designed to make the members of the teachers union look bad and glorify the righteousness of the mayor’s attempt to play hardball, he adds the following passage that included the level headed and practical comments by Committeeman Sean Byrnes, who feels that there are more important long term issues that need to be addressed, that would have a much more significant impact to taxpayers if addressed now instead of squabbling over a temporary wage freeze for teachers:

“…Committeeman Sean Byrnes said that he is in favor of the teacher’s union accepting a wage freeze for the coming year, however, does not believe that a wage freeze will solve the problems of the long term.

“Even if we secure a wage freeze, I haven’t seen a recognition that the budgets problems facing the Board of Education and the town are long term and call for significant structural changes to our budgets and to our organizations in town,” Byrnes said. “A wage freeze will help in 2010. It will not solve the budget problems that we have.”
Byrnes said that he is proposing the formation of a budget review advisory committee that would consist of the Township Committee, the Board of Education, and the Library.
The advisory committee would specifically look for ways to consolidate, share services, and approach the town’s obligations from a “one town” perspective.
“I would prefer that we not approach or discuss things with the MTEA in a political manner,” Byrnes said. “I think it makes sense for the Township Committee, with the assistance of the Board of Education members, to have some discussions with the MTEA. But my preference would be that we not have that exchange through press releases. It doesn’t encourage a resolution to do that.”…


Being a parent with two kids that attend school in Middletown and who have learning disabilities, it angers me that Governor Christie lied to voters throughout this state while on the campaign trail, telling them that he supported and valued the state education system only to turn his back on it once elected by slashing over $800M worth of state aid to local school boards and declaring war on the teachers and their union.
It’s unfortunate that Middletown’s ruling party, lead by mayor Scharfenberger and his cronies, have decided to follow in Christie’s footsteps by demonizing teachers instead of looking for long term, common sense solutions on how to deal with rising property tax rates.
Level headiness with a keen eye towards the future is what is needed by elected officials in the state, as well as here in Middletown.
Instead of politicising the school board and the school budget for short term gains and political advantages, Scharfenberger and Co. should listen to Sean Brynes for once. He is the lone voice on the committee with practical budget experience and common sense enough to make proper decisions in regards to restructuring how government operates in Middletown.
He has very valid ideas that should be listened to, not ignored and then taken, like so many are by the mayor and his republican friends.

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Filed under budget cuts, Gov. Chris Christie, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown, Middletown Board of Education, MTEA, Ryan Fennell, school budgets, Sean F. Byrnes, Two River Times

Middletown Township Still ‘Crunching The Numbers’ As Budget Gap Widens

Excellent article written by Ryan Fennell of the TRT, the kid reports it straight with no spin and consistantly reports on important aspects of the Township Committee meetings without having to resort to press releases issued after the meetings are over.

By Ryan Fennell
The Two River Times

MIDDLETOWN – While no specifics have been released regarding the 2010 budget, the Middletown Township Committee intimated on Monday night that layoffs were imminent in order to bridge the estimated $4 million shortfall in revenue.

The Middletown Township Committee entered this year facing an approximate $4 million shortfall, which Committeeman Sean Byrnes now estimates to be closer to $6 million, in revenue for the 2010 budget. Since that time the Committee has hired a new CFO and consistently pledged to the township’s residents that it was “looking at everything.”

“We are now almost three weeks into April and we know as a Committee that we have a significant shortfall in revenue this year,” Byrnes said. “The news is only getting worse and as of right now I don’t think we’ve really executed on any plans. Our ability to see any kind of savings is hampered by the fact that time is passing.”

Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger said that he has been in contact with Governor Chris Christie’s chief of staff and has been assured that legislation is being crafted that would ease the situation for the township.

“He assured me that the ‘mayor’s toolbox’, so to speak, that will allow us to absorb some of these cuts is still in the process of being formulated. We’re hoping this will provide some relief and extensive policy out of Trenton that will allow us to get back on track.” Middletown resident Jim Grenafege was not satisfied with the explanation and challenged the committee to offer concrete solutions or information regarding the budget. “Its just week after week there is nothing concrete happening,” Grenafege said.

He asked that the committee provide numbers associated with proposals that have been offered by the committee that could potential cut the budget.

“We have a relatively new CFO and he’s still crunching the numbers,” Scharfenberger said. “We can’t quantify anything that’s been proposed when I don’t have the numbers to quantify it against. These are sound proposals. There’s no sense speculating.”

Grenafege charged that the committee was speculating with the proposals. “They’re speculation with no numbers associated with it. It’s disingenuous to make these proposals without saying and here’s what we expect to save.”

Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante said that there are concrete things happening regarding the budget. “We’ve discussed a lot of options for saving money. A lot of them are painful. A lot of them are painful to individual people. It wouldn’t be fair to speculate publicly about some of the things happening.” Resident Jeff Blumengold asked why the committee hasn’t at least started cutting the “low hanging fruit.”

Scharfenberger noted that Middletown operates on a workforce of approximately 340 employees which costs the township $872 per person, a low figure for a municipality it’s size.

“There’s not a lot of low hanging fruit,” Scharfenberger said.

Scharfenberger also pointed out that the Township experienced 15 retirements since January and could see as many as 20 by year’s end. Scharfenberger said that these retirements have affected the budget and eliminated areas to cut.

“We had no idea that was going to happen,” Scharfenberger said of the retirements. However, the Committee had expected and even encouraged its employees to retire in May 2009.

On May 18, 2009 the Committee unanimously adopted an ordinance entitled “Early Retirement Incentive for Eligible Township Employees.”

The ordinance encourages employees eligible to retire under the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) with the offer of health benefits upon retirement after 15 years of service with the township, lowered from 20 years of service.

According to the ordinance any employee who is eligible to retire who has 15 years of service shall have the entire cost of health benefits assumed by the Township of Middletown upon retirement. The ordinance has a “sunset provision” that sets December 31, 2010 as the expiration date.

“The process is the problem,” Byrnes said. “There is no process in place to get ahead of the things we’re talking about. We knew it was going to be bad. It’s very, very frustrating. I can’t fathom how we haven’t planned out for the problems we’re facing.”

“Now we will lay off people and those numbers are probably going to be bigger than they needed because we’re starting later than we should have,” Byrnes added.

“The silver lining in all the bad news we’ve been confronting is that people are starting to engage,” Byrnes said. “People seem to be paying more attention to what’s going on. That’s a good thing. Part of the problem of what we’re in now is people didn’t pay attention and that is the key to getting out of the very dire situation we find ourselves in.”

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Filed under budget cuts, Budget Shortfall, Gov. Chris Christie, Jim Grenafege, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown, Ryan Fennell, Sean F. Byrnes, Two River Times

After A Year’s Search, Middletown Appoints CFO

After all that went on during last weeks Township Committee meeting, lost in the events of the evening was the rather low key and unceremonious announcement of the hiring of the Townships new CFO. It was so low key as a mater of fact, that even I didn’t think twice about making a big deal about it.

Nick Trasente, the former finance director of Hoboken, was sitting quietly at the table in front of the dias with Town Administrator Tony Mercantante, Township Engineer Ted Maloney and Clerk Heidi Brunt. A few people were wondering who the “new guy” was until it was revealed at the beginning by Mayor Scharfenberger that the new guy was indeed the new CFO.

Now maybe we can finally see that plan of Gerry’s, that he likes to tell everyone he has but doesn’t let anyone know about on how to close a $7 million budget shortfall before the end of the month when budgets have to be submitted to the State for review.

So far the only paper to pick-up on Nick Trabsente’s appointment as Middletown’s new CFO is the Two River Times, nice job on there part. Below is the article written by Ryan Fennell just incase you haven’t read it yet:

MIDDLETOWN – ON Monday night, nearly a year after Middletown’s former CFO Richard Wright took a leave of absence citing health concerns, the Township Committee formally appointed Nick Trasente as Middletown Township’s new Chief Financial Officer on Monday night.

Trasente left his position as finance director in Hoboken on March 9, a position he held since January 2009, to accept the Middletown CFO position.

Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger said that the process for finding a new CFO was extensive.

“We had a better response than the last time we were looking for a CFO,” Scharfenberger said.

According to Scharfenberger, the Township received responses from nine individuals, which was narrowed down to three.

After several interviews, Trasente was determined to be the most qualified candidate for the position.

“I thought he was everything we were looking for,” Scharfenberger said. “He’s got the credentials. He’s got great experience. He seems to be very enthusiastic about wanting to do what he’s going to be doing. Also, he seems t know how to keep the town from getting itself into a bind. He understands what we’re up against.”

And what the Township is up against is an approximate $5 million shortfall in the 2010 budget.

Scharfenberger said that he, along with several other area mayors, were briefed on Governor Chris Christie’s budget prior to the governor’s address last Tuesday and he was made aware of potentially significant cuts in state aid.

Scharfenberger said that township department heads have been instructed to cut their budgets as well as several other initiatives that the mayor plans to reveal during upcoming committee meetings.

“We’re looking for ways to cut and save without putting people’s lives or properties in jeopardy. That’s the bottom line,” said Scharfenberger. “Everything’s on the table.”


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Filed under budget planning, Chief Financial Officer, Middletown, Two River Times