Curley Calls For Review Of Brookdale’s Budget

Community college is seeking an 8.2 percent tuition increase

FREEHOLD, NJ – Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Curley today called for a public review of Brookdale Community College’s 2011-12 budget after learning about expensive memberships and a housing allowance for college President Peter F. Burnham.

“While I am appalled at the contract Dr. Burnham was given, I can’t help but wonder what other extravagances are in that budget,” said Curley, liaison to Brookdale. “It’s time we go through Brookdale’s budget line by line to see not just what the president is spending, but the other departments as well. A good hard look at waste in all public colleges and universities is long overdue.”

Last week, Brookdale’s Board of Trustees approved a $99,166,064 budget that contains an 8.2 percent tuition increase. Burnham blamed the need for the increase on a Board of Chosen Freeholders’ decision to reduce funding to Brookdale this year by $6 million. The freeholders had understood that Brookdale would be able to achieve the cut without resorting to a tuition increase.

Brookdale operates on a fiscal-year. Its budget, for 2011-12, must be approved by the freeholders when the Board of School Estimate meets sometime in March.

Burnham receives an annual salary of $216,000, but is allotted another $39,000 for annual  memberships, an $18,000 housing allowance and a $27,000 vehicle.

“I will be voting no on Brookdale’s budget if it contains a tuition increase,” said Curley, who sits on the Brookdale Board of School Estimate. “It is offensive to me that Dr. Burnham is seeking a tuition increase or more county funding when taxpayers are subsidizing his housing costs and private club memberships. I don’t know how he can look students in the eyes and ask for more money.”

Curley noted that the freeholders are trying to get the county budget down to a point where there will be no tax increase this year. The county budget is separate from Brookdale’s budget.

“Freeholders and staff have been squeezing savings out of budgets in each of the last three years, and we are always looking for new revenue sources or alternate methods of paying for county services,” Curley said. “Brookdale, however, has chosen to raise tuition and blame the county for cutting its funding when the college is sitting on $13.8 million in surplus. It’s disgraceful.”

Posted: February 16th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Brookdale Community College, Monmouth County | Tags: , , | 39 Comments »

39 Comments on “Curley Calls For Review Of Brookdale’s Budget”

  1. Jim Sage, Marlboro said at 8:19 pm on February 16th, 2011:

    You can always count and depend on John to scrutinize and question dubious practices i.e. housing and memberships. By the way, where are these memberships to and at what price tag??

    Go John!!

  2. Governor's salary said at 9:29 pm on February 16th, 2011:

    …Chris Christie has made a good point on a number of occasions by comparing various public salaries to that established for the Governor who is in charge of the ENTIRE STATE ! EXCESS!!!! A President of a COUNTY Community College making $216,000 PLUS housing PLUS car PLUS “Memberships” ???? Ridiculous.

  3. Charles M said at 10:27 pm on February 16th, 2011:

    I am the president of the Brookdale College Republicans. Brookdale since January of this year has been trying to take away are club funding! It took over three months for are club advisor to be reimbursed for several events that we hosted, that are advisor had to pay for out of his own pocket!

  4. Marbrez4 said at 10:35 pm on February 16th, 2011:

    Please use the word “our” and not “are”.

  5. Mike said at 11:37 pm on February 16th, 2011:

    It’s been known for some time that Brookdale has been an unaccountable renegade with taxpayer cash . I wonder how long it will be before Peter Burnham and Jim Palumbo get hauled out in handcuffs…

  6. Let's not lose sight said at 1:12 am on February 17th, 2011:

    of the fact that Brookdale has become the most foward-looking, modern, and academically-leading county college in the state, with thousands who have benefitted from a good, less- expensive college experience, and necessary career credentials, to improve their lives..it has always received tremendous support from all the Freeholder boards, (led,by both parties), in the 40-odd years since it was established, supplementing with county dollars the continually-reduced amounts the state has taken from what I think was the original 80% they were originally supposed to contribute, to the 19 NJ county colleges that wound up being formed… if people want more facts and accountability from the school, just as with your local Board of Ed, you are free to attend and question the school’s Board of Trustees, and their employees, at their meetings.. most polling done of county voters has shown positive public support for, and satisfaction with, the overall job Brookdale does.. nothing’s wrong with asking the questions and requiring answers for the rationales used, in running an ever-growing institution, either..

  7. David said at 12:20 pm on February 17th, 2011:

    This is another case of arrogant educators who believe they’re god’s gift to the world. This college President should resign.

  8. Wendy said at 10:44 pm on February 17th, 2011:

    The club membership is Navesink. Enough said?

  9. TR said at 11:57 am on February 18th, 2011:

    Ok, I don’t mind someone being paid a decent salary for a good job but a club membership for a person working in the public sector. Are you kidding me?

    The Freeholders appointed the people who cut that deal.

    Obviously they should all be removed and replaced with more fiscally responsible trustees.

  10. Lets check the Sheriff's books too said at 9:55 pm on February 18th, 2011:

    While we are checking books, lets check the books of Shaun Golden’s Sheriff’s Dept.

    On the February 15th, Chief Warrant Officer Donovan was lateraled over to become the Undersheriff in charge of the Law Enforcement Division.

    Funny, on 9/16/08, then-sheriff Guadagno eliminated the position of CWO. So what position and title did Mr. Donovan have??? Now, we have a new undersheriff in charge of the Law Enforcement Division–Never had that either–it was always the Sheriff’s Chief in command there. What is going on?????

  11. vpoiv said at 10:03 pm on February 18th, 2011:

    This is really a shame. Taxpayer money being robbed by the old boys club. Does Brookdale and Monmouth County think that his car allowance and country club expenses are for a Wall St exec. or a so called “public servant” ? I give alot of credit to Curley ! You know why John Curley will be successful ? Because he is not only smart but has the GUTS to stand up and fight for the taxpayers (much like Christie). This is rare and this man deserves credit. He is a leader. As far as Brookdale, they should be ashamed of themselves and whoever agreed to this waste shoule be exposed.

  12. JW said at 11:51 am on February 19th, 2011:

    Go Johnny g0…you marvelous Irish bastard!

  13. Good Lord, said at 8:38 pm on February 19th, 2011:

    all this angst:if one actually reads the student newspaper done at Brookdale, it says this increase amounts to about another $10.00 per credit!.. in this insane, inflationary time, it is still an unelievable bargain, to pay approx. $1,500. per semester, for a really modern,decent education- and, with so many satellite locations all over the county, it even saves on gas!..ok, if you want to cut a few of the President’s “perks,” fine, but why not go on over their one day,and see all the seniors paying like$30. bucks to use the exercise facilities, the public being able to go and see a reasonably- priced expo or show,and many other community-outreach capabilities and programs this gem supplies: I think Brookdale is WAY worth the dollars spent, and fully deserves the reputation of “best” community college in NJ!!

  14. Harry L said at 5:28 pm on February 20th, 2011:

    Dear Peter Burnham,
    Please stop posting comments trying to save your sorry ass. The problem isn’t the quality of education – it’s the amount of cash you’re peeling off.

    You are the #1 County College in New Jersey – for Executive Corruption.

    How many reservations for your table at the Navesink Country Club tonight?

    Hope you’ll be spending more than a weekend at Uncle Bernie’s for this one – Uncle Bernie Madoff’s new house that is. Or you could do the honorable thing for you and Vicky and resign now.

  15. Stonewalled said at 6:32 pm on February 20th, 2011:

    If we think this is the most egregious “giveaway” in county government, we should wake up. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe we should analyze the budget that is being presented this week and see which departments’ budgets are increasing and by how much. We should then hold the freeholder(s) in charge of that department accountable to explain the increase and what he/she is doing to reduce that dept’s budget.

  16. Harry L said at 6:46 pm on February 20th, 2011:

    The issue is Brookdale, Peter. Quit trying to deflect it to someone else.

    You’re in the hotseat, the taxpayers will be covering ALL your housing expenses from now on (and food, etc).

    The party is over buddy. Accept it you’re screwed.

  17. Harry L said at 7:31 pm on February 20th, 2011:

    Hey Pete – buddy,
    No more comments? I guess you drove your taxpayer funded Ford Expedition over to the Navesink Country Club where you and your cohorts are clinking glasses on the taxpayer’s dime trying to assure yourselves that you’ll continue to rip off the taxpayers and weasel out of this.

    Is Solomon Dwek heading over to your taxpayer funded residence in Colts Neck to help your wife pick out new furniture on a county credit card?

  18. We get.. said at 8:07 pm on February 20th, 2011:

    taxpayer hostility and negativity, but your personal and rather irrational anger needs to be better directed at the ridiculous giveaway programs that are draining us on every level, federal, state and local, which do nothing but create more dependency, and which NO one seems willing to reduce!. isn’t there anyone else out there who has actally benefitted form a Brookdale class or degree??. . stop with the hatin’ on the personalities, visit the campus, and go to a few trustee meetings, express your concerns, and find out what students and taxpayers do get for their money!

  19. Harry L said at 8:19 pm on February 20th, 2011:

    Oh that’s rich, Peter. The issue at hand is not what the school provides, but the fact YOU ARE SCAMMING BOTH THE TAXPAYERS AND YOUR STUDENTS!






  20. Harry L said at 8:47 pm on February 20th, 2011:

    Hey Peter aka the Navesink-Country-Clubber,
    How was that imported scotch and
    caviar dinner you just enjoyed on the taxpayer dime over at the Navesink Country Club (with your $39,000 taxpayer funded membership plus additional costs such as meals – I assume they don’t do early bird specials there like in Florida)?

    I was an accountant for the last 15 years and just retired. At no point would I nor anyone else who I worked with have ever considered committing such an OUTRAGEOUS CRIME AGAINST THE TAXPAYERS like you have!

    I’m puzzled why you continue to try to defend your criminal actions. Are you that out of touch with reality?

    If you aren’t sure about resigning talk to Bernie Madoff. Do you believe you’re above everyone else? You’re a public employee, you answer to the taxpayer.


  21. Harry L said at 9:04 pm on February 20th, 2011:

    Guess Peter Burnham is busy having dessert and after dinner drinks on the TAXPAYER dime at the Navesink Country Club where the membership costs TAXPAYERS $39,000 a year.


  22. Just my 2 cents said at 11:43 pm on February 20th, 2011:

    Budget hearings are right around the corner—seems as though the Parks and Recreations Department, Brookdale College and the Sheriff’s Department are under the microscope–and right fully so.

    Parks and Rec: Housing arrangements that are way too cheap for those living there;
    Brookdale: Lavish lifestyles of the executive staff while calling for tuition increases;

    Sheriff’s Department: Putting people in non-existent jobs to collect pensions and salaries.
    Hiring buddies

    Freeholders!!! wake up, people are following these much more closely than they did in the past. Republicans ran on promises of fiscal austerity–time to forget the lip service and get going!

  23. Harry L said at 10:10 am on February 21st, 2011:

    Peter, again the issue is the fact that you’re using taxpayer money to fund a

    $39,000/per year Private Club Membership at the Navesink Country Club for yourself, Peter Burnham.

    Spending $27,000/per year of taxpayer money on a brand new SUV for yourself, Peter Burnham.

    And peeling of $18,000/per year of taxpayer money for your own personal housing costs.




  24. Jim Sage, Marlboro said at 10:27 am on February 21st, 2011:

    There’s a Freeholder’s Budget Meeting at the Manalapan Library, Tuesday February 22, regarding budget matters. The public is invited to speak.

    All of the above issues must be addressed

    Bring the popcorn folks, this will be an entertaining night!

  25. Jim Sage, Marlboro said at 10:29 am on February 21st, 2011:

    Time for the event is 7pm -9pm

  26. hey, Art, said at 10:59 am on February 21st, 2011:

    can you confirm whether Peter Burnham is and/or has ever, answered any of your postings?.. someone seems to have really gone over the edge: hope its not some D pretending to be “Harry”?. not so clever!

  27. FRANK cotton said at 12:24 pm on February 21st, 2011:

    The high paid folks at Brookdale community college operate on a 100,000,000 million dollar budget that saw a 6 percent cut of 6 million. Yet when you do the math, the tuition needed to overcome that amount would have to be increased 8.2%. So basically $6,000,0000 is 8% or the total tuition making tuition revenue approximately 6,000,000/.08= $75,000,000. So what the high paid folks at Brookdale are telling us is that their intake of $175,000,000 minimum isn’t cutting it?
    Well why is that? Does it have anything to do with the president’s $216,000 plus salary and in addition he receives benys like a country club allowance, $18,000 for housing, $27,000 for a car. No one pays my living expense! HOW MANY MORE CORNIES ARE ON THE GRAVY TRAIN AT OUR EXPENSE! It is time to audit all the county offices not just Brookdale and funnel this money back to home owners and businesses. If we don’t start pushing the corruption out you will lose your homes to higher taxes because the cronies at Brookdale and elsewhere. Join a tea party, make a phone call, otherwise you will be priced out of your home.
    Frank Cotton, Monmouth County Tea Party Coalition

  28. KJ said at 1:04 pm on February 21st, 2011:

    It’s ironic Burnham gets an $18,000 a year housing allowance when he and his wife have a vacation home down in Sea Isle City as well as owning another condo in Tinton Falls.

  29. TR said at 4:20 pm on February 22nd, 2011:

    I repeat the problem is not Burnham. I can not blame the guy for getting himself a good deal.
    The problem is the Trustees who gave it to him.

    I call on the Freeholders to fire them all each and every one and appoint a Board of Trustees that will be fiscally responsible.

  30. TR said at 5:54 pm on February 22nd, 2011:

    here is the list of Trustees.
    how many political hacks can you find?

    Peter Burnham, Brookdale President and Secretary to the Board
    Mr. Howard C. Birdsall, Chair
    Mr. Jacob S. Elkes, Vice-Chair
    Dr. Lewis G. Anderson
    Dr. Simon M. Bosco
    Father Brian Butch
    Mrs. Sarah Lucille Jones
    Dr. Peter Kapsales
    Mr. Richard M. Maser
    Mrs. Carol Knopp Morris
    Mr. Gene J. Mulroy
    Ms. Joan Raymond
    Mr. John Eagan, Graduate Trustee 2010-2011

    College Counsel: John Cantalupo, Esq., Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer

  31. Jennifer said at 6:52 pm on February 22nd, 2011:

    So let me get this straight, just because some other people signed off on Peter Burnham’s scam against the public that somehow makes him innocent?

    I’ll be sure to remember that the next time a politician gets arrested for taking a bribe, hey they were just getting a good deal for themself, lol. The, “Peter Burnham Defense”.

    Maybe he should take an ethics class. Or do they not have those at Brookdale?

  32. TR said at 9:17 pm on February 22nd, 2011:

    He entered into a contract. There is no scam. It was done publicly. Nothing illegal was done. There is nothing unethical about an employee of the Government negotiating the best deal he can. Just like if he where employed by a private company. Now if he was a public elected official and used his influence as such to negotiate a sweetheart deal that would be unethical. However that is not what was done here.
    If there was some type of underhanded kick back or extortion or something like that to get a good deal then that would be another story also. I have heard no such allegations.
    All we seem to have is a bunch of trustees who seem to have lost sight of their obligation to not only run a good school but to also be good stewards of tax dollars.
    For that they should be replaced.

  33. Rob F said at 11:31 pm on February 22nd, 2011:

    TR, are you by any chance a Private Attorney who has been hired to defend Peter Burnham, at taxpayer expense?

    Have you also represented Jim McGreevy? Or have you taken the “ethics” courses that McGreevy taught at Kean?

    So it’s ok that as long as Peter Burnham can push through a deal on the taxpayers dime even when the school supposedly is broke and is making students pay more tuition its A-ok?

    People like you tarnish the legal profession. You should be disbarred. And shame on you for taking more taxpayer money that should be used for the students.

  34. TR said at 11:48 am on February 23rd, 2011:

    No Rob I am not a private attorney who has been hired to represent Peter Burnham and I have no taxpayer funded jobs. (I wish). Nor will he need a lawyer based on the facts currently known because there is no evidence he has done anything illegal.

    I just didn’t think we lived in a society where people where attacked for negotiating the best contract they can for themselves. I thought that only happened in the old USSR. If the food service company had negotiated an contract overly favorable to them would they also be ethically challenged?

    No because that is not an ethical issue. That is called capitalism.

    When individuals or unions or companies negotiate a really good deal (assuming no coercion or kickbacks or favor trading or abuse of an elected position) Then those individuals, unions or companies are not the ones to blame. There is no ethical obligation for anyone to say Gee this contract is way to generous I should ask for less. Sometimes it is in a persons own self interest to do that but it is not an ethical obligation. So no non-elected government employee should be blamed for what they are paid by the government.

    The ones that should get the blame are the IDIOTS on the other side who gave away the store. In this case your wraith should be aimed at them and the elected officials who appointed them.

  35. Todd said at 12:32 pm on February 23rd, 2011:

    I wonder what else will come out regarding Peter Burnham. It sounds like this stuff might just scratch the surface.

  36. Bayshore Tea Party Group said at 9:57 pm on February 23rd, 2011:

    Yes, it is in fact time to investigate Brookdale…

    Following up on Art Gallagher’s post from a week ago regarding Freehold ……

  37. DS said at 1:52 pm on February 24th, 2011:

    Let’s put this in perspective. There are over 3000 colleges in the US. At $216K plus some perks, his salary probably ranks about 2500th among college presidents, that despite the fact that he’s living and working in the highest income per-capita state in the country. Not to mention that he has presided for years over an excellent college (to which I have no connection).

  38. Da Reality said at 4:26 pm on February 24th, 2011:

    The reality is he’s a county employee, it doesn’t matter what PRIVATE college presidents he’s an OVERPAID PUBLIC EMPLOYEE ON THE NJEA GRAVY TRAIN! DUMP HIM!

  39. MoreMonmouthMusings » Blog Archive » MMM Year in Review - February said at 10:40 am on December 27th, 2011:

    […] Freeholder Deputy Director John Curley called for a public review of Brookdale Community College’s budget and spending after learning of expensive country club memberships and a housing allowance for college President Dr. Peter Burnham.¬† Burnham had drafted a budget that called for a 8.2% tuition increase and blamed the need for the increase on the Freeholder Board reducing the county subsidy for the college. […]