Burnham Quits. Burry Blasts Him

By Art Gallagher

Peter Burnham resigned the presidency of Brookdale Community College yesterday in a defiant letter to the college board of trustees that touted his accomplishments.  His said his resignation should not be construed as an admission of wrong doing, according to a report in the Asbury Park Press. Burnham said he was confident that his good reputation would be preserved.

Freeholder Lillian Burry blasted Burnham with the strongest language that any official has yet to use to condemn the disgraced college president’s excessive compensation and spending irregularities:

“He disgraced himself in the eyes of his students, in the eyes of his peers, in the eyes of everyone who believed in his vision for Brookdale and every Monmouth County taxpayer,” Burry said. “He has to be held accountable for his actions.”

Burry also backed off her previous support of the college board.

“They did allow this to happen,” she said. “They created the environment that allowed Peter Burnham to become untouchable. Everyone believed in what he was doing and there was no oversight.”

Freeholder Deputy Director John Curley called upon the Board of Trustees to resign, saying that they are policing themselves which is unacceptable.  Freeholder Director Rob Clifton said that he expected that board members would voluntarily resign.

Across the aisle, Democratic Freeholder Amy Mallet was relatively quiet with the APP, deferring to her potential running mate, former Middletown Committeeman Sean Byrnes who ran for Freeholder against Curley in 2009.

The apparent lack of fiscal oversight at Brookdale is probably not unique to the college, Byrnes said Tuesday.

“Hopefully, the county will take this example and, perhaps, consider doing audits and investigations into some of the (other) boards they have ? library, parks,” he said.

Burry met with approximately 45 members of the Bayshore Tea Party Group last evening where she was very well received.  Charles Measley, a GOP county committee member from Rumson and active BTPG member who attends Brookdale was particularly pleased with Burry.  “I went into the meeting thinking Burry was a RINO, but came away impressed by how conservative she really is,” Measley said,  “regarding Brookdale, she told us of Burnham’s departure and assured us that there would be additional house cleaning.”

Barbara Gonzalez, BTPG founder, said that Burry was extremely impressive and that some of the group’s members thought she should run for higher office.

Posted: March 9th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Bayshore Tea Party Group, Brookdale Community College, Monmouth County, Peter Burnham | Tags: , , , , , | 21 Comments »

21 Comments on “Burnham Quits. Burry Blasts Him”

  1. Freespeaker1976 said at 10:56 am on March 9th, 2011:

    With Sean Byrne, the presumptive running mate of Amy Mallet; this is why we need to think very carefully about our choice of a running mate for Burry.

    Byrne has the experience of running once already. I continue to feel that Newberry is too policy wonkish and frumpy when compared to Byrne.

    Rich is a more decisive and better prepared on the issues, from my perspective. And hey, if a candidate puts himself out there THREE times, he apparently wants the job.

  2. TR said at 11:02 am on March 9th, 2011:

    Lillian also said (referring to her membership on the school Board of estimate which approves the Brrokdales budget) that the presentation of Brookdale in the past was “full of very positive statements and accolades from people outside the college”…I guess we all drank the Kool Aid she said with a short sad laugh”
    Herein lies the problem. Mrs. Burry may have good conservative instincts and talk a good game but you need to look at the walk rather then listen to the talk.
    Her career has been one of protecting her friends. In doing so she has developed a following that has helped her political career. This is the approach of many politicians and it is a natural human tendency. In this case she failed to execute her duty. Didn’t rock the boat because that might offend someone. She just drank the Kool Aide. That may make for a nice person but does not make for a good elected official.
    What we need are those rare politicians who put the taxpayers before friendships and principles above their political career
    To the Tea Party I say do not let yourself be taken in by these politicians who all of a sudden are fawning over you and telling you how conservative they are. Stay clear eyed. They are trying to co-opt you. Actions are louder then words. Look at what they have done for the taxpayers.

    As a Freeholder has Lillian worked for the taxpayers or protected special interests? If so I would like to hear the evidence because I have not seen it.

    BTW I am not saying that the Democrat who jumped on the bandwagon a couple of days early is a better choice.
    I am however saying we need to be clear about how we evaluate our own kind.

    Is my evaluation harsh? Probabl., but I beleive that is what these times call for.

  3. brian said at 11:29 am on March 9th, 2011:


    45 people? using what, Obama math? l was at the meeting, you would be lucky to get a full court game among the dozen people there. Don’t exxagerate, it hurts your credibility.

  4. ArtGallagher said at 11:30 am on March 9th, 2011:

    So your saying there was 12 people there brian? Thanks. I reported what I was told. Feel free to report any other info about the meeting.

  5. brian said at 12:09 pm on March 9th, 2011:


    There were about a dozen people, she spoke and answered questions for about an hour. A pleasant exchange and she said what people wanted to hear, and was tough on Brookdale, which fed the crowd.
    Words are great, and now she has a chance to put them into practice, which is the true test as anyone can talk a good game.

  6. Jim Sage, Marlboro said at 12:10 pm on March 9th, 2011:

    To TR: Were not!

  7. Jim Sage, Marlboro said at 1:26 pm on March 9th, 2011:

    Brian, while in the back corner with the computers, I counted 22. There was definitely interest as to what was going on, because I fielded three phone calls from prominent Republicans in Marlboro, who in turn made phone calls themselves.

  8. James Hogan said at 1:32 pm on March 9th, 2011:

    There are two things
    1) Charles – you’ve found the nail and whacked it on the head. I said it recently and I think you’ll find the same — “the establishment” isn’t bad people, most are honest, well-intentioned people who live in the real world and work real jobs and have real families and lives and pay taxes and shop in the same stores as you and I and do everything average folks like us do on a daily basis. They generally don’t have groupies to follow them and support them and most of those who I’ve met are happy to talk to anyone at all who gives them the time of day and shows some reasonable understanding of the issue and doesn’t just yell in their face. Lillian is an example of a good person; I believe she is well intentioned, and she generally seems to work hard, or at least be involved, in many local issues including her role with Ft. Monmouth and Monmouth Park and I think she makes an honest effort to be ahead or on top of the issues, unfortunately, she’s never going to be on top and ahead of every possible issue and she needs the worker bees to help her get the information and stay on top of things.

    2) HOWEVER, as TR notes, Lillian, like others, still need to “walk the walk”. Related story/example: I recently had a very nice and well appreciated breakfast talk with Dave Rible to review some issues I have with him/the laws we have in place. Dave is a great guy – I think he generally works hard for us taxpayers and our party and I generally support most of his actual votes and efforts. HOWEVER, he voted for a bill that I don’t approve of and we talked about it and he tells me the bill stinks. I asked him to take action and prove to me that he’s acknowledging it’s a bad bill that needs to be reviewed, he says he’ll see what he can do to setup some kind of review process. Navigating the system with a D controlled statehouse is surely difficult and I don’t expect the bill to be overturned anytime soon, at least not until the Ds aren’t the majority. Regardless, telling me it’s a bad bill and doing something about it (after he voted for it) are different things. Likewise, Dave agrees that the pension/disability systems we have in place are terrible and broken systems, he knows. I asked him to address the system, I think, hope and expect that he will.

    Point is, Saying and doing are different — sometimes it just takes a second to stop the name calling and yelling, have reasonable and rational talks with people and they’ll come around. Just as Dave is on record with me for certain statements, Lillian is now on record with the BTPG for saying certain things. If its 10 people or 50 people, it’s people who are willing and about to do the work and if Lillian doesn’t come through on her statements, 10, or 50, people, or even one well informed and active person, sure can run a damaging outreach effort.

    Also on Lillian, I’d hope Lillian and the other Freeholders work a little harder and try to push through a flat budget/no increase from past years, that doesn’t increase taxes. If I understand correctly, John Curly is the guy who (rightly) voted “no” on the budget, the others should be looking to trim just a few $s (less than 1%) off of the budget as well before approving it, IMHO.

  9. Charles M said at 6:59 pm on March 9th, 2011:

    @ James: Right on!

    @ Art & Brian: I would say there was about 30 in the room.

  10. anon. said at 8:58 pm on March 9th, 2011:


    I agree but isnt Dave Rible double dippingh himself and drawing a huge pension and working for the state ?

  11. James Hogan said at 9:30 pm on March 9th, 2011:

    He sure is, and I shared my disappointment with this, no secrets and Dave is willing to talk and address your concerns from his perspective, do contact him.

    Related story… I know a guy who donated $1,000 to his church this year, drove his car 200 miles a month for business and and paid all of the sales taxes on his online purchases… at least according to his tax return. The system allows this and if the guy doesn’t abuse (like Burnham) no one really cares as much as they say they do, or even looks to see if the guys claims are 100% legit. Its a sad reality. Many ordinary people take advantage of flawed systems. Our elected leaders shouldn’t game the system, but they are ordinary people at the end of the day.

    Point is that the problem I, and likely you, have is with a terrible system, not with Dave in particular. Dave seems to recognize that the system is broken, he says that if he could, he would change it. If we were really mad at Dave we have to mad at plenty more people too. Easier to advocate for a better system than to get rid of all of the gamers IMO. There are Rs and Ds alike abusing the system. The Ds haven’t fixed the system while running the show, I say let’s give the Rs, and Dave, the chance to get some power and see if they walk the walk where Ds in Trenton have failed.

    As for Lillian, again – she’s involved in more things than most know/give her credit for and I think she tries hard to be informed and on top of things so I give her some benefit of doubts, but hopefully she comes through with John and others on a lower budget, come though with that “smaller/cheaper gov’t” I hear about. 🙂

  12. Jim Sage, Marlboro said at 9:48 pm on March 9th, 2011:


    I certainly posted the fraud that has emanated out of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Department. What do you say about that? I brought that subject up not only to Lillian, but to the Freeholder’s at several meetings.

    Remember the 3 monkeys?? See no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil?? That’s what they looked like.

    I look forward to your answer. If your unfamiliar with the situation, go to: http://newjersey.watchdog.org/2010/11/17/1440/

  13. BR from Marlboro said at 11:04 pm on March 9th, 2011:

    Your right Jim about freeholders, get them to pay attention to fraud under the noses, I wish you spoke againt this same fraud in Marlboro when the passed BusinessAdmin was doing the same thing in cahoots with the Mayor. Collecting state pension and a state salary at same time in a job title created to so she could avoid laws.

  14. TR said at 11:29 pm on March 9th, 2011:

    Jim Sage
    You keep talking about fraud as opposed to legally taking advantage of a flawed system.

    Are you alleging a crime?

    If so have you gone to the Prosecutor? the A.G.?
    The FBI?

  15. TR said at 11:42 pm on March 9th, 2011:

    James you are right. (except that what your friend is doing is illegal and what Rible does is legal).

    Who wouldn’t retire early and then double dip if they couldn’t? Is it Ribles fault that the definition of disability for a police pension is so lax?

    who wouldn’t get a farm deduction for growing xmas trees if they could.

    Who wouldn’t take a high paying part time govt job if they couldn’t get it? Or lifetime tenure with benefits that they don’t have to contribute to?

    Hell most people would do it.

    How about people who give away their assets to their kids so they can get medicaid (read us taxpayers) to pay for their nursing home. Is that any better? I could give a thousand examples.

    I am not talking about anything dishonest or criminal its called working the system to your advantage. Burnham seems to have stepped over the line with his expense reimbursments and that is a problem

    But the real problem is the system. lets not be hypocrites and demonize people just like us. Lets fix the system.

    That being said if I were running against someone working the system I would argue. Who is more likely to fix it. Me or the guy working it.

  16. James Hogan said at 12:04 am on March 10th, 2011:

    Jim, again, it seems that you (rightly) have a problem with the system that is in place; the system that allows retired state workers to continue to work for the same state that they retired from. I have the same complaint, I believe the Jen Beck bill tries to addresses this problem, and does a decent job of it. Let’s see how far those Ds in Trenton allow the bill to go, I suspect it will go nowhere. I personally will work to target Ds this year, put the Rs in control in Trenton and see if they can make the changes that they’ve talked about, and the Ds have blocked.

    Either way, I’m not sure that I buy into your argument just yet that there is or was outright fraud by Kim and others in the department. As a strictly private sector worker, the titles and benefits/compensation that you public worker types are entitled to (and I use the word entitled on purpose because that’s what any/all public jobs offer from my perspective), just because of a title, is strange enough. Ie, the difference between being a “janitor” and a “custodian” means nothing to me, as far as I know, both clean up after me and fix a broken toilet, but I’m sure to you or other past/present state workers, there is some legitimate difference and according to the state there is a different pay scale and benefits package and different education requirement, etc. Again, to me it’s just odd because if you ask me for my job title in any company I’ve ever worked for, I’d just make one up. Some days I’m a Project Manager, some days I’m a Lead Developer, some days I’m a Senior Developer, some days I’m a Software Engineer, some days I’m a Computer Programmer… one time in my just out of college days when the boss wouldn’t give a raise I believe I had earned, to annoy/embarrass a boss in front of a big client I even introduced myself as “Code Custodian”, which was hysterical to me, and the client, not so funny to my boss who wanted me to be a Senior Developer despite being paid almost enough to flip burgers at the time, the boss got over it quickly, I eventually got my raise for doing the work. My point is that in the small business/private sector world I’ve always worked in, the title means little or nothing, it is the end result of your work that is compensated and rewarded, not the title you carry. I’ve seen new hires have the benefit of a company paid cell phone while more senior/long term employees do not, again, in the public sector, something like a cell phone seems to go with the title – in the private world, a cellphone is probably based on real need, not title. Not so unrelated, I also can’t seem to convince my boss to allow me to retire and have him pay for my retirement, so that I can go back to work for him on Monday earning the same salary, which is the public system that you and I and Beck have a problem with. And again, I personally know a few former government employees who “retired” on a Friday, and went back to work on Monday, doing the same exact job, as a “civilian contractor”, making the same or more money, for the same exact government agency or publicly funded company in the same little office or cube. It’s enraging, but don’t forget ordinary people that you and I personally know really double dip and game the system – our elected leaders should not game the system – but they are ordinary people.

    Do feel free to email me/call me/talk to me when you see me next with more info on your issue. With the right amount of facts and information I can be convinced and am always willing to talk about issues, using my real name and all, and if you can convince me I’d be more than happy and willing to talk about your issue with anyone who will listen, but honestly, what I see at this point is someone getting a job with the state (that they retired from) with one title, and maybe it’s the wrong title, or not, with the title used on purpose, or not. Nothing in the link you provided convinces me that Kim did something intentionally malicious, I even read it twice, more info please.

    In the meantime, maybe an easier place to start would be if you can ask the Freeholders when you see them next to support a budget that spends less than last year and makes some cuts to the size/role of government? That whole “smaller government” thing Republicans talk about? Just sayin’ 🙂

    PS. Don’t forget – I’m just an AverageNoOne — I know nothing and am an absolute no one in the big mean world for the short time I’ll exist here. I’m honored that you ask my opinion, but I mostly talk out of my ass like Ace Ventura, and anything I say is just my own (hopefully educated and rational) opinion. 🙂

  17. Jim Sage, Marlboro said at 12:50 am on March 10th, 2011:


    When you announce to the public and county personnel department in a public announcement that your new hire was for a “Chief Warrant Officer,” and then 6 days before the hire, you quietly eliminate the position in an internal department memo–your in essence placing someone in a non-existent, fictitious position. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, well, you know the rest. This was a huge betrayal of public trust.

    As for an investigation: It is being conducted. The New Jersey Treasury Department, Division of Pensions and Benefits will make a full report probably at the end of the month. If they believe criminality exists, they will forward it to the appropriate department for prosecution.

    As for fraud in Marlboro—I answered you before on that matter: I was unaware of it–and I still don’t know if it existed. Do you have any proof? You seem to think or know it existed. Why didn’t you inform the authorities?

    But back to the Guadagno/Golden situation: Lets not make it look like a simple case of “gaming the system.” It’s ethically and morally wrong . Possibly criminally wrong as well. The pension system is in jeopardy for shenanigans of this type along with the state shirking its responsibilities for failing to fund the pension funds.

    Hey, James–like you,I am just an insignificant taxpayer with an opinion.

  18. Jim Sage said at 12:55 am on March 10th, 2011:

    TR–my post was meant (regarding the Marlboro BA) to BR from Marlboro.


  19. GS said at 1:40 pm on March 10th, 2011:

    Yes we need to fix the system but we also need to kick out the bums who exploit it. The excuses of “who wouldn’t do it, given the opportunity?”or “everyone else is doing the same,” are lame. Can we find anyone to serve in a public office that can actually use the office to serve the people intended? We must never settle for these people, like Rible, who “can’t be blamed for taking advantage legally.” That’s garbage and even Rible knows it. All the more reason we don’t need him or anyone knowingly taking advantage of the system in office. Nobody is perfect but blatant disregard for public money should not be tolerated. Quit settling and giving 3rd and 4th chances – it makes fools of us all.

  20. Anonymous said at 1:46 pm on March 10th, 2011:

    We are having NJ Senator Sean Kean (district 11) to our tea party meeting on Monday night at the Ocean Township Rec Ctr. at 6:30 p.m. Some of the Freeholders running for office will also attend if anyone is interested. Please come and bring your questions. It’s a great chance to get to know your representatives in NJ.

  21. MoreMonmouthMusings » Blog Archive » MMM Year In Review - March said at 11:19 pm on December 27th, 2011:

    […] Peter Burnham was suspended as Brookdale College President on March 3.   On March 9 Burnham resigned. […]