I read with interest the letter from Mr. Vitkansas attempting to criticize Sean F. Byrnes. Mr. Vitkansas' pitch is one of guilt by association. His logic runs something like this: Mr. Byrnes is a Democrat, therefore he is pro-Union, pro-COAH and ultra-liberal. Before writing his letter, Mr. Vitkansas should have taken the time to review Mr. Byrnes' record. Unlike Mr. Vitkansas, I attend many of the Township meetings. Here are some facts. Mr. Byrnes called for layoffs in early 2009 and deep cuts in benefits spending, but the Republican majority on the Committee did not act on his request until the middle of 2010. Mr. Byrnes favors privatizing much of the Township's leaf and brush pickup and introduced a resolution to save money by consolidating all maintenance operations in the Township, instead of having separate maintenance departments for the school district and the different township departments. He also wants to competitively bid all professional contracts to reduce costs for taxpayers. As for COAH, the all-Republican Township Committee missed a golden opportunity in 2005 to save the Avaya site from inclusion in Middletown's Affordable Housing Plan when the Township failed to follow through on an agreement with Red Bank to purchase housing credits. When they could wait no longer, Red Bank ultimately sold these credits to Manalapan and the residents of Lincroft were dealt the prospect of affordable housing at the Avaya site. For what it's worth, I doubt that the Tea Party would find favor with the tax bills handed by Mayor Scharfenberger to Township residents, especially the 12% increase in the municipal tax levy for 2010. By the way, Mr. Byrnes was the only Committee member to vote against this increase. Mr. Byrnes is not the ultra-liberal Republicans and Tea Party members would like you to believe. I challenge Middletown residents to look at the candidates' records and come to the Township Committee meetings. You'll see that Mr. Byrnes is the kind of leader we want in our local government.


Don Watson

New Monmouth, NJ