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Opinion: Fact-Checking Mayor Shehady's September

Former Mayor takes issue with Shehady's September Mayor's message, particularly with regards to pension deferral payment.

MOSTLY FALSE

In keeping with his policy of making statements that place blame on others and place himself in a favorable light, Mr. Shehady has once again used his political acumen in writing his .

Anyone who reads the Star-Ledger knows they print a column regarding statements made by New Jersey politicians and rate it on their Truth-O-Meter.  By their definition, a mostly false statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.

If there is something Mr. Shehady is good at, it is making this type of statement. In particular, after stating that the incumbent Republicans up for re-election (does anyone see a campaign plug here?) did a wonderful job in maintaining fiscal prudence, he explains that Springfield has an old pension obligation of $760,000, dating back to 2009, and specifically blaming the previous mayors;  Ken Faigenbaum, Hugh Keffer and me. 

The truthful portion of his statement is that there is $760,000 due for the pension deferral.  The information that he omitted, which makes his statement mostly false, is that when Springfield, as well as every other city/town/municipality in New Jersey was notified that money was needed to properly fund the government pension, we had the choice to pay it all in one lump sum ($760,000) or spread it out over the next 3 years (2009-2012). Any amount paid before the 2012 deadline would not incur a penalty or interest.  So, in essence, it was the state’s way of giving everyone an interest free loan for 3 years. 

If we would have paid the amount in full in 2009, it would have created a municipal tax increase in excess of 15 percent for our residents, on top of the increases both the county and school were requiring. The majority of the township committee voted to defer the payments (Mr. Shehady voted against deferral) and make partial payments over the next 3 years, mitigating the tax burden on our residents.

You may ask how this all came about, so a quick refresher is in order. From 1994-2001 New Jersey’s Republican Governor, Christine Whitman, advised everyone the state pension was overfunded due to the ever increasing stock market, and there was no need for further pension contributions. So, each city/town/municipality began using those funds that had previously been earmarked for pension contributions toward other things needed by their towns. If you remember, a number of years during that period, municipal taxes didn’t increase or increased slightly since money previously used to fund the pension was now being used for operating. 

Since professionally, I work with people planning for their future retirement, my question is, who in Governor Whitman’s cabinet was ridiculous enough to believe the markets would continue to go up without any downward correction?

My other question is why, in 2010, during Mr. Shehady’s first term as mayor, did he fail to make any payment toward the pension debt? He was very quick to take credit for reducing the towns’ health insurance costs when our municipal workers had to start paying for a portion of their health insurance.  But a further look at that situation reveals the change was not of his doing, he was just at the right place at the right time.  Each and every township committee, Republican and Democrat, for at least the past 12 years had tried to do the same thing.  It was not until the change was made in Trenton under Governor Chris Christie did things change. 

Specifically, whenever any previous mayor (mayor’s Katz, Marshall, Mullman, Harelik, Faigenbaum, Keffer, and me) attempted to have our municipal employees pay for health care, the unions took us to arbitration and each and every time the town lost.  It was not until Governor Christie appointed arbitrators who were in line with his thinking that a change occurred. 

So for Mr. Shehady to take credit for it is disingenuous at best.

My question, again, is why he didn’t make a payment toward the pension obligation when the town started saving money with employees having to pay part of their health care costs; he boasted about a savings of approximately $1 million.  In addition, in 2010 Springfield paid the township attorney, appointed by Mr. Shehady, in excess of $240,000 whereas the cost for the previous township attorney (2009) was $92,000.   Simple math tells us that the pension obligation could and should have been paid off by now, as we had planned.

So rather than blaming others for the large pension obligation due this year, maybe Mr. Shehady should have planned for our future instead of constantly campaigning for his political future.

One last point. If you have not noticed, whenever Mr. Shehady posts something on the Patch he does it without allowing the readers to respond.  This is done intentionally by him, in order to avoid opinions that differ from his.  I personally don’t think that’s fair, but besides the fairness of it, it doesn’t allow anyone with knowledge of the actual facts to dispute his claims.  But then again, for anyone who has attended a Township Committee meeting or viewed it online, they can see that Mr. Shehady does not like it when people disagree with him.  So much for "open government.

annoy nymous September 21, 2012 at 01:57 AM
How come my question has not been answered? B Freeman, Anthony D, and now should we add save springfield to the list of the mayor's false identities? it just seems so obvious how he keeps complimenting himself. I also noticed how Freeman's tone changed after his identity was exposed. Someone should really take away Shehady's computer as damage control for the Republican Party. I would also suggest he erase all of Anthony D's previous posts now that people know who he is. It's really disturbing to think the Mayor of our town would write this stuff. Again, I am not Bart Frankel, just forced to be anonymous to protect myself.
B Freeman September 21, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Mr. Nymous, it was really cruel of your parents to name you Annoy, however fitting it may be. How is my tone now Bart. If you are not Bart than Anthony D, Save Springfield, and the rest are not Shehday, we are just forced to protect ourselves as well. What lame statement to make and accusing everyone else. Just lame, really lame.
B Freeman September 21, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Mr. Nymous, it was really cruel of your parents to name you Annoy, however fitting it may be. How is my tone now Bart. If you are not Bart than Anthony D, Save Springfield, and the rest are not Shehday, we are just forced to protect ourselves as well. What lame statement to make and accusing everyone else. Just lame, really lame.
B Freeman September 21, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Former Mayor Fraenkel you were the mayor in 2009. That does not absolve you of any responisblility for paying off the deferral in 2010. You were the deputy mayor. As you like to point out. You claim no sinle accomplishment during your tenure on the committee and that everything was doen as a committee, but when it is convienent for you. You single out Shehady. Last I remember you and Mr Keffer were on the 2010 committee as well. neither of you insisted on paying off the deferal. No need to get upset and type in caps and yell. Is everyone getting to you. Remember Hellhounds are on your trail following you now.
annoy nymous September 21, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Thank you for confirming what we have all thought. Now that we know who Anthony D is- I would encourage the public to read the previous posts before the Mayor erases them. Click on anthony D's name and then in the upper left click on Anthony on the patch- then click on comments. You will see all the extremely disturbing , derogatory comments written by the Mayor under the fake name of Anthony D. Keep in mind they were written by Mayor Shehady. Your mayor. Really pathetic. Again, this is not Bart. Believe what you want. I do not lie.
BART FRAENKEL September 21, 2012 at 03:22 AM
I often refer to Anthony Z, so now should I also say Z Freeman and Zafe Zpringfield, too? Freeman, how do you know that in 2010 it wasn't mentioned to repay the deferral? Where you there? When you don't pay the deferral and pass it on to the next group, you don't have to increase taxes, so you look great. But there was a slight increase in 2010, so where did the money that was saved from the health insurance go? I know where $240,000+ went, to the township attorney's firm. And about $60,000+ to the public safety director. Those 2 alone were $200,000 more of expenses then we had in 2009, so that's where some of the money went. But where did the rest go? Come on, you know the answer, so as the late Sam Kennison once said "SAY IT, SAY IT".
B Freeman September 21, 2012 at 03:52 AM
It is very simple to know you didn't mention in 2010. You haven't bragged about doing so. therefore, you never mentioned it. You are first person to state what you did. Since you made no claim to it in your article or in any of the above 70+ responses you didn't. Too late to claim you did. Not credible at this point. The old Bart Bait and Switch. Go write another opinion piece about how great the PD and FD were under you mayoralship and what you did to fix each department on your own. If I recall the Chief of Police and Deputy were long gone when public safety director came on board. It's in the Patch. Those salaries were a savings in themselve. Boo hoo Bart.
MJ September 21, 2012 at 01:51 PM
B Freeman thanks for the info. I tend to believe in things that i can see and what i see is the town is finally doing some paving, which i think is well over due, great job on that. but i dont SEE much more than that. There is nothing going on downtown, it is really a ghost town and it is sad to see. I dont count the turf field because that was for a very small group of people that all of us are going to pay for with property taxes that went up (that was nice). As for the TC being visuale thats a good thing for them to be seen by the town but then again thats there job right? I am speaking for myself but i think there are others that want to see things change. then again maybe not. But i know this is New Jersey but we need to take on Missouri's motto, the show me state and show some changes. until that happens, none of them are going to get my vote for anything
BART FRAENKEL September 21, 2012 at 04:38 PM
I'm sorry to rain on the parade but the paving projects are based on lists in the engineers office that are a few years in the making. Infrastructure funding was increased in 2007 when Ken Faigenbaum was mayor and pushed through by Steven Grau. The funding was increased by almost double and has remained at that rate since.
B Freeman September 21, 2012 at 06:58 PM
MJ - Mr. Fernandez has championed downtown redevelopment. The Business Improvement District ( http://www.springfieldbid.com/ )is up and running for about a year. Mr. Fernandez mentioned that the BID ordinance was on the books for 20 years. (Again former mayor Fraenkel did nothing with it when he had the opportunity). It was updated and the BID was formed. Change doesn't happen overnight but if you read the Patriot you know what they are doing as well. MJ - you also mentioned the turf field. The field isn't just for the students at JDHS. Our local businesses will benefit from it as well because visiting teams and their fans will come to Springfield and patronize our establishments and see what Springfield has to offer. The Mountain Ave and Morris Ave stores should see an upswing in business. Visitors may also see an opportunity to open businesses. So actually the turf field and downtown redevelopment are indirectly connected in making Springfield a better a place. "Build it and they will come" That's my Field of Dreams analogy. Have to look at the bigger picture to see how the whole town will benefit.
BART FRAENKEL September 21, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Z Freeman, you sure do sound like the Z man with your half truths. Everyone should understand that the single reason there's a charter study referendum question on the ballot this year is because Shehady doesn't play nicely under the township committee form of government. Every TC member has equal authority and the mayor is the chair of public meetings and authorized signatory for the township. Unfortunately, Krauss and Fernandez never did understand that and bought into the exclusionary methods he uses. The referendum question will answer whether or not the public wants a directly elected mayor, but until then anything you like or dislike about Springfield should be shared equally among all the TC members in terms of responsibility. Even when TC members aren't in favor of a particular issue, once its voted on, its the responsibility of all the members to work toward its completion and success. The reason I bring that up is because I'd still like to know why the money that was saved from health insurance wasn't used to pay off the pension deferral. It was the governing body's responsibility to make payments in 2010-11-12. And yes I was on the TC in 2010, so while I couldn't make the payments myself, I also have to take responsibility as having been a TC member. Its just too bad that the majority did what they wanted instead of what was needed. Oh, by the way, during my term we met with all the property owners but because the economy went south so did our plans.
B Freeman September 22, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Bart - you're too funny..so insecure about your own comments that you keep accusing me of being Shehady. I'm sure he has better things to do than respond to you. I on the other hand enjoy yanking your chain and exposing you for the pig-headed blowhard that you are. You are so desperate to start an argument you are trying to spin the charter study against Shehady. Keep trying. And there you go misleading the public again with your half truths. The referendum question is not about directly electing a mayor. It's about exploring other forms government for Springfield. You can read about in the patch http://springfield.patch.com/articles/november-ballot-will-feature-charter-commission-question. I think everyone would like to know why you didn't pay pension referral in 2009 and passed the debt. Please don't insult the public with it would of increased taxes 15% as you stated. It would of taken millions of dollars to raise taxes that high.
BART FRAENKEL September 22, 2012 at 04:50 AM
I'm glad to make you smile, since I'm enjoying myself too. It's nice to know the more people I run into around town, who approach me and have read these posts, agree and understand who you are and what you are all about. I don't even know some of the people, but it's nice to know that the November election is going to be a wipeout. Then we can see if I'm right in my guess that Shehady resigns in 2013 instead of being the only Republican on the TC.
MJ September 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM
B Freeman, Your funny also, You build it they will come, from a fictional movie about dead baseball players. Well we have no corn field to build in the first place and second, what businesses will benifit, there are only a few in sprinfield to start with. So someone that comes to the turf field to watch a sporting event will get there oil changed and the express lub and go down a little further and get a slice of pizza while in town. I think not. i am looking at the big picture trust me and the big picture still has over 90 % of springfield residents going out of town to buy most of what they need and want. I do the fluffy Patriot, there are some good things in there and then there are some things in there just to fill up the pages. I also want you to know that I am not picking on any one person or any one party, IMHO they ALL have sucked lately. We can do this back and forth like a lot of others in here do a lot of the time and that is not my intention but i will leave it at this. As of right now there is nobody that deserves my vote for anything. But am hoping that will change some year. Our TC worries and argues over silly shit like fireworks in july. But someday it may change.
concernedspfldresident September 22, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Mayor Shehady, can you pleases clarify what you mean by "Mr. Fernandez championed downtown redevelopment". No sarcasm intended.
B Freeman September 23, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Bart - I'm glad to make you smile as well, since I'm enjoying myself too. It's nice to know the more people I run into around town, who I talk to and have read these posts, agree and understand what the real Bart Fraenkel is all about. I don't even know some of the people, but it's nice to know that the November election is going to be a Democrat wipeout. Then we can see if I'm right in my guess that Fraenkel runs in 2013 against Huber and Amlen just because your arrogant and pig-headed enough do so. (BTW, see how easy it is to write empty statements like you) I've spoken to some die-hard Democrats, some of them once believed in you, and they are just annoyed and disgusted by your comments and personal attacks on Shehady and everything you write about. You've completely alienated them to the point that anything you say and write here is considered a lie or complete fabrication. Good going too bad everything is going to backfire on you. You see Bart, you're just jealous of Shehady because he has done more for Springfield than you ever did or dreamed of. You are great a criticizing everyone else's efforts and accomplishments, but have none of your own. What did you do for Springfield Bart much?
B Freeman September 23, 2012 at 03:43 AM
I'm not Mayor Shehady - No sarcasm intended
B Freeman September 23, 2012 at 03:53 AM
MJ - I repsectfully disagree. First of all 90% sounds nice but you really don't what percentage of Springfielders shop outside of town. no one does, not even the great Bart Fraenkel. Even, I shop out of town, but I try to keep my dollars in town when possible and redevelopment has to start somewhere. Change of this magnitude doesn't happen overnight. It's a slow process. I suggest if you really want to know something about what's going on in town get it straight from the horse's mouth (Fernandez & Krauss) and not the horse's a$$ (Fraenkel). Thank you for the honest dialogue. This will be the last time I respond to you here.
concernedspfldresident September 23, 2012 at 10:40 AM
I'm sorry, mr Fernandez I'm still confused by the statement " Mr Fernandez championed downtown redevelopment". Did I miss something here? can you elaborate please.
B Freeman September 23, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Concernedspfdresidents...I find it very strange that you first address me as Mr. Shehady and now Mr. Fernandez. Hmmmm, you sound like a Foolish Fraenkel Friend and Bart put you up to this or Bart his himself. Another childish act either way.
concernedspfldresident September 23, 2012 at 09:42 PM
U r incorrect. I m not Bart fraenkle or one of his pals just because I question such a ridiculous comment. I think most people who have ever driven down morris ave would question that comment. So whoever was the mastermind behind the comment, " mr Fernandez championed downtown redevelopment"- please explain. I'm not trying to blame mr Fernandez for the state of the downtown, but to say he"championed" downtown redevelopment seems a bit delusional.
annoy nymous September 23, 2012 at 11:09 PM
The only reason B Freeman thinks everyone is Bart is because B Freeman is Mayor Shehady. It is so obvious and the more he writes the more clear it is. See how he uses .... just like Mayor Shehady. So I encourage everyone to read the disturbing past posts of Anthony D and the new ones of B Freeman (before they are mysteriously erased) Save Springfield is most likely him too. Take a look. Notice the similarities. You can search Mayor Shehady's old posts too to compare. You can also notice how B Freeman and Anthony D never talk at the same time. Thats because they are the same person. He thinks we are all fools! such a disgrace.
B Freeman September 24, 2012 at 12:52 AM
The only reason annoy nymous thinks everyone is Shehady is because annoy nymous is Bart Fraenkel. It is so obvious and the more he writes the more clear it is. So I encourage everyone to read the disturbing past posts of annoy nymous, Anonymous, and A non E mus (before they are mysteriously erased) concernedspfdresident. is most likely him too. Take a look. Notice the similarities. You can search Bart Fraenkel's old posts to compare. You can also notice how Bart Fraenkel and annoy nymous never write at the same time. Thats because they are the same person. He thinks we are all fools! such a disgrace. First of all no one is going to bother looking up and comparing past posts. Second as long as you post as annoy nymous. No one is going to take you seriously. Go ahead, rant and rave make moronic comments. They are empty as you can see when I can easily substitute Fraenkel and his cyber cult of personalities.
BART FRAENKEL September 24, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Anonymous, remember what I said? "You can't fix stupid" and Z Freeman is confirming it. It's not worth the argument because it looks like all Z will do is repeat what you or I write. Hey, isn't that plagurism?
B Freeman September 24, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Repeating what you write points out what little or of no value it has. Making empty statements, half-truths and spinning everything in your favor, and pitting neighbor against neighbor is the Fraenkel way.You are more interest in being right than doing the right thing. I look forward to your postings, responses, and letters to the editor because the more you write the less people believe you. Keep it coming. The ranks of the Former Fraenkel Followers is growing. This is my last posting on this article. I'm bored with it.
BART FRAENKEL September 24, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Repeating what you write points out what little or of no value it has. Making empty statements, half-truths and spinning everything in your favor, and pitting neighbor against neighbor is the Shehady way. I thought your words worked much better when it reflects a more accurrate description of Z (you?). Why haven't you or anyone else talked about the debacle that occurred at last weeks BOH meeting? One of the new members, appointed by the 3 Republicans as an alternate, wanted to ask a question and was told by Mr. Krauss that he couldn't. Open government at its finest! Control over every aspect of the local government is all this administration is about. They don't want anyone asking questions or offering differing opinions and that is why they the November election will see them lose. People know what's going on and are absolutely fed up and will use their vote to express that displeasure.
Jordan Odette September 24, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Gentlemen, before I say what I intend to say, let me start by assuring all of you that I am NOT Mayor Shehady, and this is in fact me speaking (a mid-twenty's Springfield resident). Whoever posted above that Mr. Fernandez Championed the downtown area in Springfield is a fool. Clearly that person does not drive down Morris Avenue much. I was just having this conversation with someone - that survey that was sent out about what we all would like to see in our downtown that we see similarly in neighboring towns - what happened to that exactly? There isn't a more disgusting place that I can think of in a 15 mile radius than our downtown area. The sad thing is that the area by 22 is getting more popular retail than anywhere else in town! I don't know anyone here on a personal level, but man I am completely embarassed for all of you. If this is what local / municipal politics is like, than I can't even imagine what it must be like to be a politician at a higher level; thank god I do private-sector work. This back and forth is disgusting. I suppose I'm adding to it right now, but I just had to respond to that ridiculous comment about the downtown area being "championed". Of all words, that one could not be farther away from reality. GET US A STARBUCKS! L'shanah Tovah.
Tony September 26, 2012 at 12:15 PM
http://springfield.patch.com/blog_posts/springfield-takes-another-step-towards-downtown-redevelopment
annoy nymous September 28, 2012 at 01:38 AM
I noticed this article was written by the mayor. Now that we have discovered all the Mayor's Patch identities (Freeman, Anthony D, Save Springfield), perhaps Tony should also be added to the list. Anyway, thanks for the attempt at explaining how Jerry Fernandez "championed" downtown redevelopment. It still makes me laugh. It was at least another nice photo op for the Mayor. I just left the township meeting that is now in executive session -so if by chance any of you (Anthony D, Freeman, Save Springfield, Tony) are not the Mayor and you are not busy right now (in executive session)- feel free to respond now.
Bart Simpson October 02, 2012 at 09:35 PM
I thought downtown Springfield was on Mountain avenue by Oakland....Bagel shop, Tom's Pizza, Ice Hut, Smoke shop, Bagel Chateu, Szechian restaurant, Dry Cleaner, Terry's Shell Station, St. James School and Church, Both Synagogues, Dance studio, SpeedyMart/Welsh Farms, 7 minute oil change, Fired Department, Police Department...and ...oh yeah, isn't that where they have those one sided "town hall" committee meetings?? Springfield Center is a small City center with No local or small town feeling. (just another Bus stop)

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