A rant against Mayor Stephanie Murray and the rest of the Middletown Township Committee was posted anonymously on the business facebook page of the Middletown Township PBA Local 124 yesterday afternoon.
Written by “I am a police officer in Middletown Township,” the post alleges that Murray and the Township Committee are not paying police officers salaries and claims that officers are subjected to sub-standard working conditions. The anonymous officer claims that the Township Committee gave themselves a 20% raise:
A new program by the Middletown Veterans Affairs Committee will add deeper meaning and clarity to the remembrances of the brave men and women who gave their lives for our freedom.
For years, many communities, including Middletown, have named streets after fallen heroes. Now in Middletown there will be a commemorative sign under the official street signs that identifies the hero, their branch of service and the conflict in which they were sacrificed.
Wednesday afternoon in Port Monmouth, Congressman Chris Smith joined Mayor Stephanie Murray and Committeeman Tony Fiore joined Veterans Affairs Committee Members James Guerrieri, and Tom Garretson and William Bouw in honoring the life and heroism of Army Sgt Richard Belicose who died as the result of injuries sustained in Vietnam in May of 1967. Sgt Belicose’s brothers Ron and Robert were on hand for the ceremony.
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.
All five members of the Middletown Township Committee have announced that they are backing Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden in his bid to replace John O. Bennett III as Chairman of the Monmouth County Republican Organization.
Front, Mayor Stephanie Murray and Deputy Mayor Kevin Settembrino. Rear, Committeemen Tony Fiore, Gerry Scharfenberger and Steve Massell. Photo via MiddletownNJ.org
Mayor Stephanie Murray, Deputy Mayor Kevin Settembrino, and Committee Members Gerry Scharfenberger, Stephen Massell and Tony Fiore, all Republicans, issued a statement through Fiore .
“Sheriff Golden will bring a new energy to our Party and make us even stronger in delivering the best and most efficient county and municipal governments in New Jersey to the people of Monmouth County.
“Shaun has demonstrated a commitment to excellence and innovation while improving the performance of the Sheriff’s Office and controlling costs to the taxpayers on both the county and municipal levels. We believe his leadership and executive skills will greatly serve Monmouth County residents in a political capacity as well.
“Shaun will move our party forward and is the best person to heal any fractures that have occurred over the years.
“We appreciate the good job that Chairman Bennett has done during his term, but now, we face new challenges as elected officials and political leaders. We can’t afford to rest on our laurels, but must move forward with fresh eyes and with a renewed commitment to improve our performance for the people we represent and serve.”
Fiore told MMM that the committee members were speaking for themselves, not for the Middletown Republican Organization. Middletown GOP Chairman Peter Carton is aware of their endorsement, but has yet to speak with Golden or Bennett, Fiore said.
Middletown Mayor Stephanie Murray and Committeeman Tony Fiore tour North Middletown with Congressman Frank Pallone and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez last week. photo via facebook
Middletown Mayor Stephanie Murray and Committeeman Tony Fiore, a former mayor, will be the Republican candidates for Township Committee this fall, according to an announcement on the Middletown Township Republican Organization’s facebook page this weekend. If reelected, Murray will serve her second term; Fiore his third.
The Middletown Democrats have yet to announce their candidates. On Sunday, Party Chairman Don Watson told MMM that he would be filing candidates petitions today, the deadline for candidates seeking a partisan nomination, but declined to name the candidates. Watson indicated it was possible he could change candidates overnight.
MIDDLETOWN – Constituents have told Sen. Robert Menendez that the National Flood Insurance Program is feast or famine – high premiums feast on Jersey Shore residents, while low payouts force tough decisions on homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy…
Gerry Scharfenberger is the only member of Middletown’s Township Committee of non-Italian American descent. Gerry did the honors at the ribbon cutting and said the right things.
“The goal is always to fill vacant storefronts, so whenever that happens it is a positive thing,” he said. “And if the star power they have is able to help them and the other businesses here, that’s even better.”
But the expressions on Gerry’s face in the pictures at NJ.com tell another story, which prompted MMM to look further into the situation.
Why wasn’t Mayor Stephanie Murray presiding on the high profile ribbon cutting? She finds the situation offensive.
“While I wish the business success for the sake of the existing businesses in the shopping center, I don’t personally support Mr. Sorrentino as his insensitivity and disrespect toward women (calling women “grenades” for example), is appalling and offensive, Murray said, “Additionally, as an Italian-American who loves and lives at the Jersey shore, the image Mr. Sorrentino projects is equally offensive.”
Committeeman Tony Fiore is also not happy with the situation.
“While Mr. Sorrentino has the right to open a business anywhere he chooses, Mr. Sorrentino has done nothing to help promote a positive image of the Jersey shore or Italians who live or visit the Jersey shore,” Fiore said, “In my view no self respecting Italian who grew up in NJ, lives at or loves the Jersey shore would help promote his business. While I wish him like any other business in Middletown success, he shouldn’t expect Middletown to embrace the circus that he is bringing to the Middletown.”
Dr. Gerry Scharfenberger, PhD, is slated to become Mayor of Middletown Township on Sunday January 6 when the Township Committee reorganized for 2013. Committeewoman Stephanie Murray will be Deputy Mayor.
Scharfenberger, an archaeologist who teaches at Monmouth University, is the Director of the State Office of Planning Advocacy within the Department of State. A Township Committee Member since 2005, he previously served as mayor in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Murray, the owner and co-founder of Crescent Moon Press, is serving her first term on the Township Committee.
Under the Township Committee form of government the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are selected annually by the Committee Members.
Tony Fiore will be elected to serve another year as mayor of Middletown when the township reorganizes on Sunday, January 1.
Committeeman Steve Massell will be Deputy Mayor.
Stephanie Murray will take the oath of office for her first term on the committee. Murray replaces Deputy Mayor Pam Brightbill who is stepping down after two terms.
Fiore said that his top priority in 2012 is to continue to find cost savings and to keep the township’s property taxes stable.
Additionally, Fiore wants to implement the lessons learned in 2011 to improve real time communications with Middletown’s residents. “We learned a lot as a result of the December 2010 blizzard and the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. We will be improving our communications in the coming year.”
Earlier this week the Middletown Democratic Executive Committee reported to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission that they received a $2600 contribution from Bookazine Inc, a Bayone based book wholesaler.
Bookazine specializes in the wholesale distribution of homo-erotica. Their catolog includes such titles and Handjobs Anthology, Volune 22, Tug Harder 2, and Bustin’ a Nut. I’m not going to write the sub-titles.
Reached for comment, Middletown Democratic Chairman Joe Caliendo said, “What’s your problem?” Asked if knows what Bookazine sells, Caliendo said, “No comment on anything,” and hung up.
Democratic Township Committee Candidate Carol Fowler said, “I wouldn’t know about that,” when informed that Bookazine had contributed to the campaign. When informed about what Bookazine sells, Fowler said, “That’s too shocking to even process.”
Fowler’s running mate, Jim Grenefage, could not be reached for comment.
Mayor Tony Fiore, who is being challenged by Grenafege and Fowler said, “The Middletown Democrats should return that donation. If they have any sense of decency and what is right, they will return the money.”
Fiore’s running mate, Stephanie Murray, a book seller herself, said “The Democrats should know where their money is coming from. This contribution shows a lack of judgement and insight.”