Dear Editor:

I urge the election of Linda Baum to the Middletown township committee because she is intelligent and possesses sharp, sound financial acumen, while the opposition Republican campaign is morally bankrupt. Mr. Massell has claimed to be eager to find waste in Middletown government spending. Since his party has had unbroken control for a generation, one would believe that the present administration is responsible for remaining waste. He claims to have saved Middletown money by single-stream recycling. However, Middletown was late to adopt this practice which became available through enormous equipment investments by recycling companies, not by municipal action. Massell claims that the township’s sale of the swim club was a win for the taxpayers, but he is part of the same organization that acclaimed the benefit given to Middletown by its purchase some years ago. Obviously, he implies they made a mistake by buying the swim club in the first place.

The worst of the misdeeds of the present administration is the destruction of an independent Middletown Library board of trustees and their replacement by political tools. The new board members are largely drawn from the Middletown Republican County Committee and follow the dictates of the township committee. After the township committee raided the library last year for about $500,000 of its surplus, funds raised almost entirely from non-municipal sources, the new board has continued the depletion of the library’s reserves, monies accumulated for needed repairs and capital improvements, expenses that had been previously paid by township appropriation. In addition, the new library board has acquiesced to inappropriate township charge backs for which they receive either no justification or an inadequate accounting. In an area where I have expertise, property and casualty insurance, the township’s excessive charge back is tantamount to theft by the municipality of funds from an organization where state-mandated funding is designed to remove the library from political manipulation. The township committee has put in place actions that will destroy the standard of library service that Middletown residents have enjoyed for many years.

Ms. Baum’s long experience in finance and her intelligence make her clearly qualified to serve the township. Her willingness to speak out over irregularities in the present administration’s conduct of its affairs demonstrates that her voice will be heard over the self-serving dealings of a one-party machine.

Randall Gabrielan
Middletown, NJ