New Monmouth County Freeholder Fired From State Positions

MONMOUTH COUNTY – Freeholder Gerry Scharfenberger was let go from his positions with the state after missing Gov. Phil Murphy’s press conference in Marlboro last week.

Scharfenberger noted that previously when he met with the new governor, it “looked like I was going to stay,” in his state positions, calling the turn of events “abrupt.”

“Naturally, I am disappointed,” he said.

Scharfenberger is a Republican in a new Democratic administration under Governor Murphy. Murphy’s press conference was meant to demonstrate bi-partisan support for his changes to property taxes. In a press release dated Feb. 12, Sheriff Shaun Golden of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office noted his disapproval of the tax scheme.

“Governor Murphy’s scheme to classify property taxes as voluntary charitable contributions is a shell game that, in the unlikely event it is ruled legal, will further complicate a tax system that badly needs to be simplified. Governor Murphy’s scheme will not solve New Jersey’s tax burden,” Golden stated in the release.

Scharfenberger noted that he felt uneasy about Murphy’s proposal and this factor played into his decision to not attend the press conference.

“I felt it was best if I didn’t attend,” he said. “I was just unsure about the legality of the proposal.”

Feeling he didn’t know enough about it, he opted to stay out of the spotlight on the matter.

Scharfenberger received the news on Feb. 12 from Jay Boone, the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of State, that he was being let go from his positions as Executive Director of NJ’s Business Action Center and Director of the State Office for Planning Advocacy. “It’s a shock, but not a surprise,” he said.

He noted that he was only told that the reason for his termination was due to missing the press conference, and is not aware of any other factors in the decision.

A representative from Gov. Murphy’s office noted, however, that Scharfenberger was let go due to personnel changes typical in the undertaking of a new administration. It was also noted that he was an at will employee on a one month holdover from the Christie administration that has since expired.

After nearly eight years with the state, Scharfenberger will continue on now in his new position as Monmouth County Freeholder.

“I did a lot of good work, and I’m proud of that,” he said. Although he noted his love for his staff and the companies he worked with along the way, he noted that it’s never easy when something like this happens.

Despite this turn of events, Scharfenberger said that he intends to remain positive and look on the bright side.