Middletown officials hope there’ll be a new addition at Town Hall soon: a chief financial officer. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger says he has a to-do list with three items on it.
First, hire a chief financial officer. Second, hire a chief financial officer. And the third? Yes, hire a chief financial officer. Soon.
“We have to get one before the budget,” he told redbankgreen. “We need one yesterday.”
It’s a void that’s been filled by the assistant financial officer Debbie Ball since the departure of former CFO, Richard Wright, who left about two months ago, Scharfenberger said. Ball was offered the position, he said, but is content in her role as assistant. When Wright was hired, in 2007, he was given a salary of $115,000, according to the township website.
The township has been interviewing candidates in the time since Wright left, but Scharfenberger said given the size of Middletown and the complexity of its budget, it’s hard to find a good fit.
“Middletown is so huge that it’s not the kind of place you can cut your teeth on,” he said. “You really need somebody to come in and an assistant to help.”
The herd has thinned down to three, though, and Scharfenberger said more interviews with those people are set for later this week. He’s confident a hire will happen soon.
“We have three very, very capable individuals we’re looking at. I feel pretty good that we’ll be able to get somebody very soon and very capable of stepping in here,” he said.
Although the township has been working on its budget, the formal process hasn’t started. Scharfenberger said Middletown faces many of the same problems other New Jersey towns do, with a question mark concerning state aid and trying to find ways to cut spending without sending somebody to the unemployment office.
He’s asked department heads to cut certain percentages from their respective budgets, he said, but “everything’s on the table.”
“Once a CFO comes in, then you get a real clear picture of where you have to be,” he said. “Things will happen very rapidly once you have that in place.”