Former Brookdale President in Criminal Court

The Asbury Park Press is reporting that former Brookdale Community College President Peter Burnham is appearing before Judge Thomas Scully in Monmouth County Criminal Court this afternoon.

Burnham was suspended and then retired last year after Freeholder John Curley called for a review of Brookdale’s budget which lead to revelations of spending irregularities and lax oversight on the part of the college’s Board of Trustees.  Burnham was charging Brookdale for expenses unrelated to the school and had a country club membership and tuition reimbursement for his children as part of his compensation.  His salary was over $216,000.  Additionally he was paid $39,000 for memberships, an $18,000 housing allowance and $27,000 for a vehicle.


Posted: July 24th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Brookdale Community College | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

MMM Year In Review – March

Governor Christie’s flirtation with the national media and GOP fundraisers over running for president started to build momentum during March.  He told reporters in Washington that he wouldn’t be governor in 2014.  He told the National Review’s Rick Lowry “I already know I could win” the presidency.

The Monmouth County Freeholders suspended three SCAT drivers who had called out sick on February 25 but were caught on camera protesting labor reforms in Trenton.  State Senator Joe Kyrillos praised the Freeholders for their action and stepped up his call for civil service reform.

Anna Little told The Auditor that she was thinking of running for U.S. Senate instead of Congress.

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

Citizen journalist James O’Keefe embarrassed NPR and came to Monmouth County as a Special Guest Speaker at the Bayshore Tea Party Group’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.  O’Keefe ended up being embarrassed himself over the press coverage of the event which included accurate reports that he did not want the event videoed.

Monmouth University Pollster Patrick Murray accurately predicted that Dr. Alan Rosenthal, the tie breaking member of the legislative reapportionment, would choose the Democrats new legislative map.  Murray based his prediction on Rosenthal’s scholarlly work espousing “continuity of representation,” i.e.,  that there is a value to voters being continuously represented by the same legislator after redistricting.

Even though MMM debunked the value of “continuity of representation” and the Bayshore Tea Party Group submitted a constitutional map, Rosenthal did indeed side with the Democrats, thereby assuring Democratic control of the legislature at least until the 2021 election.

After months of reading MMM, former Democratic Assemblyman and triCityNews publisher Dan Jacobson had an epiphany and registered as a Republican.   Jacobson started submitting his weekly columns to MMM and prepared to challenge Senator Sean Kean in old 11th district Republican primary

Spring Lake Councilman Gary Rich received the Monmouth GOP’s endorsement for Freeholder.  Rich received 25 votes from the screening committee.  Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas received 23 votes and Wall Committeeman George Newberry received 22 votes.  Howell Mayor Bob Walsh removed himself from contention prior to the committee vote.

Posted: December 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2011 Year in review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on MMM Year In Review – March

MMM Year in Review – February

Governor Chris Christie signed legislation to designed to revitalize Atlantic City.   The Oceanport Task Force on Monmouth Park stepped up its efforts to save New Jersey’s horse racing industry.

Live Action Video released a tape of a Perth Amboy Planned Parenthood office manager coaching an actor posing as a pimp how to “beat the system” set up to protect underage sex trafficking victims.  Media Matters for America, a liberal media watchdog, called the video a hoax and defended Planned Parenthood for alerting the FBI about a potential multistate sex trafficking ring.  Amy Woodruff, the Planned Parenthood office manager, was firedFrank Pallone was silent on the matter.  The Asbury Park Press issued an inaccurate editorial defending Planned Parenthood.

The U.S. Census Bureau released the results of the 2010 census.  New Jersey lost a congressional district.  Hispanics became the state’s largest minority group. New Jersey’s population shifted from the north to the southern and central regions of the state.

New Jersey’s newpaper industry appealed to Trenton Democrats to maintain their corporate welfare in the form of “legal advertising.”

Congressman Christopher Lee, (R-Buffalo, NY) resigned three hours after gawker.com published shirtless photos of him that he had sent to a woman seeking a date via craigslist.

By-laws, and the lack thereof, for the Monmouth GOP became a hot topic for a week or two.

Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich likened Congressman Chris Smith and American Catholics opposed to abortion to the Arizona shooter.

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.

Red Bank Councilman Michael Dupont and Shrewsbury attorney Brian Nelson  fought over the Sayreville Borough Attorney’s job.

The Republican Association of Princeton was reconstituted as The Lincoln Club of New Jersey under the leadership of Scott Sipprelle.

Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas, Wall Committeeman George Newberry and Spring Lake Councilman Gary Rich launched their campaigns for the GOP nomination for Freeholder.

Posted: December 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2011 Year in review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

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 »

Brookdale President Suspended

By Art Gallagher

Brookdale College President Peter Burnham has been suspended without pay due to a review of expenses that “revealed significant expenses and reimbursements associated with the President’s Office budget that may not be directly connected to Brookdale or are contrary to Brookdale’s adopted policies governing travel, mileage, and other reimbursable expenses,” according to a news release posted on the college’s website.

Dr. William Toms, PhD, a retired State Police investigator,  has been appointed Acting President of the community college.

Additionally, the Board of Trustees hire an independent auditor to investigate all expenditures made from the President’s Office budget, including all expenses and reimbursements.  The audit is due by the end of March and will cost no more than $12,500.

“We are conducting a comprehensive audit of the President’s Office and will release to the public the  findings as soon as we can.  This is a public institution and everyone from our Freeholders to our faculty to our taxpayers deserve answers,” said Howard Birdsall, Chairman of Brookdale’s Board of Trustees.

“Our highest obligation is to the truth and Dr. Toms is going to lead a very open and transparent process that gets us the answers we need.  If something happened that shouldn’t have happened, we want to know what it was, how it happened, and how to prevent it from happening again.  Dr. Toms has built an outstanding record of achievement during his career and has the perfect skill set to lead Brookdale through the challenges we face,” said Birdsall.

Freeholder John Curley first raised the issue of Burnham’s compensation and spending in a statement to MoreMonmouthMusings on February 16th.

”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.”

Way to go John!

Posted: March 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Brookdale Community College, John Curley, Peter Burnham | Tags: , , | 6 Comments »

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 »