It is early on New Years Day 2009. And the air is fresher and just a bit more pure.
When the ball dropped in Times Square, little did the throng of revelers know they were cheering for Barnegat.
Thomas "The Million Dollar" McMahon is gone.
Thomas "Hopeless" Hartman is gone.
The reign of terror and incompetency is over.
Thomas McMahon is a thug. Plain and simple, this executioner-in-educator's clothing frustrated and chased away numerous teachers who refused to kiss his ring or his butt. His sleazy brand of backroom politics caused more controversy in YOUR school district than any ten other events combined.
The Million Dollar McMahon was the Frankenstein monster of a former Board of Education led by Deborah Masol; who resigned because McMahon "had something on her." Succeeded by the now-disgraced Linda Mitchell, these well-intentioned but stupid BOE members gave McMahon a deal that cost YOU almost $6000.00 per week. These imbeciles kept throwing money, bonuses and other perks at McMahon - and for what?
Maybe it was because several of those BOE members got their spouses jobs in the school district. Hell, three mysteriously left the BOE only to get hired into full-time district employment themselves. They call it "motive."
McMahon bailed out because he knows he might be one step ahead of the Sheriff. His questionable accounting and other practices are now being examined by a BOE who understand why they were elected. A BOE that was elected by a huge plurality because YOU were tired of Mitchell, Splendorio, Kostka, Germano, Durow, Inkhen and their costly folly.
Neighbors, the BOE does not exist to make educational decisions. That is best left to those who have the degrees, certifications and experience.
Rather, the BOE is there to provide oversight into the operations of the school district. The BOE is YOUR personal watchdog. They are charged with the critical responsibility of making certain that the Superintendent of Schools and certain other executive level administrators and outside professionals act in the best interests of Barnegat.
Helping to rid YOUR school district of a monster like Thomas McMahon earns the majority of the Houser-Becker BOE an A+ on ET's report card.
To the credit of the Robert Houser - Lisa Becker led BOE currently in office, hundreds of thousands of dollars of YOUR sweat-laden tax money has already been saved. And, most importantly, the quality of education has risen.
The ET consortium offers a hint to Houser, Becker and the responsible members of the current BOE. If you want a school district free of the barroom politics and treachery, then hire a Superintendent who never so much as heard of Barnegat. Please, do not hire from within. The same vermin who slither through the Board office like worms and rats infecting the schools with political hijinx do not deserve another welcome mat.
When you want a fresh apple, don't go to the basket - go to the tree!
In ET's opinion, Thomas McMahon's deplorable legacy centers on three"achievements."
First, The Million Dollar McMahon was directly responsible for hiding the fact that the potentially deadly MRSA virus had been brought into YOUR schools by a student who simply did not know she was ill. Had it not been for the magnanimous courage of this pupil's mother, Barnegat never would have known. McMahon and his press shill, Carrie Stiers, had placed a Pentagon-like information lockdown on the district. MRSA can KILL people on chemotherapy and those with compromised immune systems.
Second, Thomas McMahon's apparent bias against women. YOUR school district has numerous female educators who have proven themselves over the years. A wise and gallant lady named Roslyn Ribaudo was left to retire when she was definitely the most qualified educator who should have succeeded the esteemed Dr. Robert Horbelt as Superintendent. McMahon made her life uncomfortable after he took over.
Ribaudo is far from the only woman who felt McMahon's penis-superiority. No less than five female teachers were brought to their knees emotionally and resigned less they suffer a breakdown or stroke. Former Edwards School Principal Judy Mazzeo brought a meritorious lawsuit against the district. Highly experienced female professionals in the BOE office also left. People who had served YOUR children well for years but were unwilling to kiss The Million Dollar McMahon's feet.
Last on McMajesty's list of accomplishments comes a toss-up. Was it his burning lust to waste $750,000.00 of YOUR tax money to carpet the playing fields with the now proven-to-be-toxic Astroturf? Or was it the undeniable fact that YOUR school district shelled out record amounts of YOUR tax money for litigation costs brought about by McMahon's arrogance and false bravado? Take your pick.
ET will be watching the headlines from Willingboro once McMahon goes to work there. We will wager our Social Security checks that it will not take long before McMahon has that district in chaos as he did with Barnegat and Plumstead. By the way, do you remember McMahon calling YOU and the entire town "jerks" in the media?
Hey McMahon, don't let the door hit you in the caboose on the way out!
In just a few hours, the annual love fest of the township committee will convene. The "love" here lasts about as long as an Elizabeth Taylor - Richard Burton marriage. The Republican machine will re-anoint Jeffrey "The Cigar Store Indian" Melchiondo as YOUR mayor.
Barnegat taxpayers (YOU!) have no voice in who represents their town as the mayor. The sweetheart system has the township committee do that unilaterally. Once the Republicans can count to three - as in majority - another lethargic twelve months of Melchiondo becomes a certainty. It is a system that makes a mockery of democracy.
One year ago today, Melchiondo began his first mayoralty. The Cigar Store Indian proclaimed "the year of cooperation."
ET will not regurgitate Melchiondo's multitude of failures. We do invite all of you to reread our past columns and search the online newspaper morgues. Melchiondo's track record speaks for itself.
The ET Consortium knows Melchiondo to be a pathological coward and liar. Want proof of that harsh characterization? All you need do is compare this year's tax bill (Jeffrey's "Christmas Present") to last year's. Remember, Melchiondo announced no tax increases. And he lied. Once a liar, always a liar.
Pressing forward, the next Thomas to talk about is the failure in lieu of a man. A person who has lost more jobs than Susan Lucci lost Oscars.
Thomas "Hopeless" Hartman.
Twice fired from private employment in less than eighteen months, Hartman sold his soul to the Republican Clubhouse in Toms River. A man whose engineering skills might be equal to a first year draftsman was hired by Ocean County at an exorbitant salary and benefit package.
The Republicans knew Hartman is a loser (takes Gilmore and Dasti awhile to wake up as they are busy counting their $$$). Therefore, they compromised The Hopeless One. They bailed him out with the job they knew he needed. The Republicans gave no consideration to Hartman's likely incompetency. They just seized on a political opportunity.
Once they bought Hartman, they owned Hartman. Knowing Hartman had no chance to be reelected, they ordered him to drop out of the election. Hartman had no choice but to obey or face a third firing.
Hartman had "so much going for him (sarcasm very much intended). Hopeless had enlisted Anthony "Lightfingers" Gorman to be his campaign manager. Birds of a feather they are, Gorman had been recently fired from his long-term employment for stealing his employer's property.
So much for integrity.
Thomas Hartman manifested an air of superiority and indifference. When this year's ballot question of going deeper into debt to build a recreation complex that the Republican machine defaulted on doing was defeated by a landslide, Hartman was quick to ignore the clear will of YOU and spoke about doing it in 2009. "Doing it," as used here, means inflicting (according to prominent Republicans Jerry and Sue Harper) "a tax you will pay till you die."
ET has no respect for the cavalier pomposity of Thomas Hartman. We think he is a hemorrhoid on the backside of Barnegat. Obviously, we are ecstatic to see him go.
Martin Lisella gets sworn onto the TC today. Hating to be pessimists, ET reluctantly confesses that we have little-to-no hope that Lisella will be anything more than the third stooge of the Republican Party in Barnegat.
Lisella is a commercial real estate salesman. ET believes he will protect his hind quarter by voting straight party line.
The first thing Lisella could but will not do is to follow Len Morano's courageous lead. Stop dispensing patronage to the same old lawyers, engineers and others who have milked the good cow of Barnegat till its utters moan in pain.
Go out for competitive bids. There are hundreds of competent professionals available. Republican honcho George Gilmore's firm was reported to have billed more than $9,000,000.00 last year. That is outrageous. Nine million bucks to a law firm???
Next, stand up like a patriot and call for an end to medical, hospitalization, prescription drug, pension and other benefits for township committee members. It is an insult to every taxpayer that committee members receive these costly perks when they "work" less than nine hours per month!
Of course, Lisella won't do that. Will you, Martin?
What the hell, McMahon and Hartman are history. A pitiful and disgraceful chapter in the annals of 08005 is closed.
Happy New Year!