The expressed opinions or views of this letter does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MiddletownMike blog:
It is outrageous that Brookdale Community College is proposing to eliminate 210 educators and staff, to balance a budget that was subject to theft by College President Peter F. Burnham and mismanaged by Chairman Howard Birdsall, who is under indictment for political corruption.
When the Parole Board considers Mr. Burnham's case, they will not be allowed to release him early if they believe he is likely to re offend. I believe he is likely to re offend because he already misused an executive position of public trust to defraud the public. Even after he was under investigation, Burnham embezzled federal financial aid funds using his son's information. Burnham could still be prosecuted by federal authorities for the financial aid funds theft, and it would be in the public interest for federal prosecutors to do so.
Burnham simply should not be paroled. His crimes were not victimless. The students, faculty and staff are paying the price for his crimes.
I believe the best way to fix Brookdale would be to terminate every executive employee and make the institution a northern branch of Ocean County College. OCC President Jon Larson is a decorated military commander with strong ethics and he has proven himself as a true visionary with efficient, goal-oriented executive leadership that shows results. It would also be sensible for Monmouth County taxpayers to share a community college with Ocean County.
The people of Ocean County would be honored to welcome our friends and family in Monmouth to join our county's relentless pursuit of quality higher education, that is both affordable and accessible to all by expanding Ocean County College northbound.
Shared services agreements have a track record of saving money and maximizing the quality of government services offered. It would be a disservice to the people of Monmouth County to continue attempting to salvage what is clearly a broken institution, especially given it's dark criminal past.
I truly hope the Monmouth County and Ocean County Freeholders will work together to make a shared community college system a reality, to help assist our residents seeking to expand their academic horizons and employment opportunities, especially given the challenges of living in a post-Sandy environment with an unemployment rate above the national average.
ERIC HAFNER IS A TOMS RIVER RESIDENT AND LONG-TIME NEW JERSEY POLITICAL OPERATIVE. MR. HAFNER PREVIOUSLY SERVED AS MEDICAL CANNABIS POLICY ADVISOR TO MANALAPAN TOWNSHIP.