Middletown Township Committee Moves to Abandon Strong Pay-to-Play Rules
To the Editor:
On May 21, the Middletown Township Committee introduced Ordinance 2012-3060, which loosens the township’s pay-to-play rules and reinstates the weaker state regulations that were in place prior to Jan. 1, 2008. A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for June 18 at 8 p.m.
The township’s move follows the footsteps of the Monmouth County Freeholders, who voted unanimously on Jan. 26 to adopt the state’s “fair and open” process in place of stronger pay-to-play rules that were put in place in the county after 2008 Operation Bid Rig.
The township ordinance, if adopted, opens the door to rewarding politically connected persons and businesses with municipal contracts, weakens competition, and may have the direct effect of increasing property taxes in line with higher contract costs.
New Jersey State Comptroller Matthew Boxer released a 20-page report in September 2011 entitled “Weaknesses in the Pay-to-Play Law’s ‘Fair and Open’ Contracting System.” It states, “Qualifying for the fair-and-open exception returns the local government entity to the traditional, unregulated system of contracting.
“In effect, no-bid contracts may be awarded to favored local vendors much as they had been prior to the passage of the pay-to-play law, and without regard to issues such as vendor cost.”
Further, in order to receive certain categories of state aid, a municipality is required to have a strong pay-to-play ordinance in place. The state Department of Community Affairs recommends a model pay-to-play ordinance that is similar to the one currently in effect in Middletown.
“The main problem with ‘fair and open’ is that it’s so easy to qualify, that it pretty much allows for business as usual,” said Heather Taylor, communications director for public advocacy organization The Citizens Campaign. She said, ”When we are reading in the paper that stealth PACs are springing up in Middlesex County and other places, now is not the time to be relaxing the rules, but rather the time to make sure we have the strongest laws possible.”
Linda Baum, Middletown
Baum is a Democrat on the ballot in November for Middletown Township Committee.
Red Bank Knights of Columbus Thanks Supporters of Successful Fundraisers
To the Editor:
Red Bank Council 3187 of the Knights of Columbus would like to thank all the community members for all the support and generosity in two important charity fundraisers the council undertook recently in the Red Bank, Fair Haven and Little Silver area. The proceeds from the council’s two most recent events helped two local charities; Arc of Monmouth County and Birthright.
The council sold over $2,300 in 50/50 raffle tickets at Saint James and Church of the Nativity to support Birthright last April. One of the council’s members, Tom Reardon, past grand knight, held the winning ticket. Tom, befitting what the Knights of Columbus stands for, donated his winnings to Birthright. All totaled, the raffle proceeds and Tom’s donation, Birthright realized proceeds in excess of $12,000 which will be used to support their work. Council Pas Grand Knight Patrick Flood was the chair for the 2012 raffle ticket sales effort.
Over the weekend of April 27-29, under the direction of Richard Magovern, past grand knight, nearly 50 brothers donated two hours of their weekend time to collect donations for Arc of Monmouth County to help the developmentally disabled. The brothers collected $4,300 for Arc, one of the highest amounts the council has collected and donated to Arc over the past years.
The council thanks everyone who donated and urges support of the two local businesses, 7-Eleven of Little Silver and Acme of Fair Haven, that allowed the council the opportunity to do good deeds and work’s in God’s name for others who have a greater need.
Jim Booth, Grand Knight
Congratulations to Sen. Kyrillos on His Primary Election Victory
To the Editor:
Congratulations to Senator Joe Kyrillos on winning despite the wannabe fantasies of a few misguided souls.
Joe Kyrillos is a true compassionate, credible, common sense, conservative who has been able to achieve major structural reforms relative to needed changes in state fiscal policy, including public employee benefits. Working with Gov. Christie, this team effort has been successful despite the Legislature’s being controlled by the Democrat opposition.
No, Joe Kyrillos is not an in-your-face type of guy and is not the kind to throw firebombs at his opponents. He is indeed what is required right now in Washington, D.C. to actually accomplish the reforms so desperately needed to right our ship of state and its sinking economy.
This great country can no longer afford the nihilism and nonsense of the narcissistic nabobs who want total annihilation of the opposition at any cost – and this goes for both the extreme far left and extreme far right of the political environment.
This country must be brought together, we have all got to roll up our sleeves to restore our economy, our jobs and our future. Our children, our grandchildren depend upon this.
Electing Joe Kyrillos to the U.S. Senate would be a great start!
Thomas F. Stokes, Middletown
Monmouth County Beach Accessible Beach Guide Now Available
To the Editor:
Just in time for the 2012 summer beach season, the Monmouth County has published the annual Monmouth County Accessible Beach Guide.
“To make summer beach-going easier for individuals with disabilities, this guide provides detailed information about accessible beach walkways and ramps, parking, curb cuts and surf chair availability,” Freeholder Director John P. Curley said. “The information is organized alphabetically by town or beach and has details about this year’s beach fees, lifeguard hours and amenities.
“Barrier-free beach access continues to improve up and down the county’s coastline,” said Michael T. Ruane, director of the county’s Office on Aging, Disabilities and Veterans Services. “Mobile beach mats have been one of the best improvements to help individuals with mobility issues get onto the beach and up to the high watermark.”
Municipal telephone numbers and websites are also included to help beachgoers contact towns or beaches directly for specific information.
Download your copy of the Monmouth County Accessible Beach Guide from the beaches page of the tourism section of the Monmouth County website at www.visitmonmouth.com.
The guide is updated each year by the staff of the county’s Office on Disabilities that is part of the county’s Department of Human Services. The staff also serves as a year-round source for information, referral and advocacy for persons with disabilities and their families and serves as liaison to state and nonprofit agencies that provide assistance to residents who need services.
Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders
Two River Moments