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.