Middletown Mayor Stephanie Murray, right, and Committeeman Tony Fiore at Memorical Sloan Kettering’s ground breaking last week.
Monmouth County’s largest municipality, Middletown Township, has yet again been named one of the best places to live in the United States by Money Magazine.
Strong economics, a clean environment, a highly educated and stable population, low crime and an abundance of leisure, cultural and recreational opportunities clinched the honor for the Township that has also been named the best run municipality in New Jersey by MoreMonmouthMusings for eight consecutive years.
Middletown Police Chief Robert Oches. Photo courtesy of Middletown Patch
Middletown Police Chief Robert Oches is getting $249,338 for unused sick and vacation time accumulated over his 40 year career upon his retirement at the end of this month. The payout is at Oches current pay scale, despite the fact that the time accumulated over a 40 year period.
The Township Committee approved the payment, reluctantly because it is required by State Law, at Monday night’s meeting.
Committeeman Tony Fiore said that most Oches’ unused time was accumulated prior to 1996 when the Township Committee passed a 150 day cap on retirement awards.
Linda Baum trying to convince voters to support her last summer. facebook photo
Linda Baum, a past and present Democratic candidate for Middletown Township Committee, presents herself as an advocate of open government and transparency. She even wrote an article on her campaign website about how citizens can made Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests.
Yet, when it comes to her own email correspondence with Middletown Library Director Susan O’Neal, Baum is far from open and transparent. She sued the Library Board of Trustees and Township Clerk Heidi Brunt to prevent her emails from being released under an OPRA request made by Brunt on behalf of Township Committeeman Tony Fiore. Fiore is the Township Committee’s representative on the Library Board.
Judge Lawrence M. Lawson ruled on Monday that Baum’s emails with O’Neal are government records and must be released per the OPRA request. Lawson’s decision can be viewed here.
Baum argued that the emails were private, had nothing to do with Library operations, and could be used against her politically.
Fiore asked Brunt to file OPRA requests for the emails that O’Neal exchanged with Baum and Melanie Elmiger from January 2012 and May 15, 2013 when it became apparent that Baum and Elmiger had information about Library business that had only been discussed in executive sessions and was not yet public.
“I look forward to seeing the emails that Linda Baum attempted to illegally block from the public,” Fiore said, “It is a shame that her frivolous lawsuit will cost the taxpayers of Middletown and the Middletown Public Library thousands of dollars that could have been used for other purposes.”