Recently a letter appeared from Chantal Bouw praising Middletown ’s hurricane response effort. Certainly, Town Hall had its hands full at that time, but her letter struck me as being largely self-serving. Ms. Bouw has reason to praise our Republican officials because she has plenty to protect that she failed to mention. She is the recipient of a very sweet patronage deal as a long-standing appointee of the TOMSA Board of Commissioners. Simply put, her letter was a thank you to her benefactors for the free ride. TOMSA commissioners, all well-connected Republicans – many former mayors or town committee members – receive free medical benefits and state pension benefits in addition to salary. And mind you, TOMSA commissioners meet just once a month for less than an hour. TOMSA commissioners medical benefits cost Middletown taxpayers close to $10,000 a year or more on top of their $1,750 annual salary, and there is no telling how much more the pension benefits cost us, but you can bet it is plenty. What’s shocking is that TOMSA Board members were never meant to qualify for compensation other than salary.
The Sewerage Authority is also home to disgraced former mayor Pat Parkinson, who is now earning over $130,000 a year as TOMSA’s executive director, a post he was appointed to by his town committee comrades after a lawsuit against him for sexual harassment proved he was unsuitable for elected office.
If you add up all the perks and salaries going to TOMSA commissioners, administrators and in-house professionals, Middletown could save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by consolidating sewer services under the Department of Public Works. But of course Mayor Fiore won’t even discuss it. And can you blame him? There’s probably a recliner already at the TOMSA premises with his name on it, right under the words “Taxpayers First”.
Middletown , NJ