Republican leaders slapped Gov. Phil Murphy today for the firing of Gerry Scharfenberger, a Monmouth County Freeholder who was terminated on Monday after refusing to attend a Murphy press conference.
But Democrats sources have a different take. They say Scharfenberger had agreed to speak at the press conference, but backed out under pressure from the Monmouth GOP Chairman, Shaun Golden.
Murphy was in Marlboro last Friday to push for a plan that would allow New Jersey residents to pay property taxes as charitable contributions to their municipalities as a way of preserving a deduction capped at $10,000 by Trump last year.
Scharfenberger had served as executive director of the state Business Action Center and Director of the State Office for Planning Advocacy.
“Scharfenberger’s firing proves that Governor Murphy has completed his evolution into a hollow politician,” said Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt. “Out of one side of his mouth, Murphy makes empty promise on empty promise, pledging to bring this state together, while out of the other side he fires a well-qualified public employee, husband and father of two adult children, for partisan politics and because he would not fall in line with a fake solution to New Jersey’s property tax crisis.”
Mary Pat Angelini, a former Assemblywoman and the Monmouth County Republican State Committeewoman, said that Gov. Christie hired Scharfenberger because of his qualifications.
“His removal is collateral damage created by an increasingly partisan political environment that I hope will improve so that we can all focus on the things that are truly important,” Angelini said. “My priorities include improving New Jersey’s economic environment and ensuring that our underprivileged populations are served well, regardless of what party is in power. I call on Governor Murphy to join me in focusing on those same issues instead of picking petty fights with state employees.”
Steinhardt says Murphy “has shown a pattern of disregard for Republicans, Independents and anyone who doesn’t conform to his extreme left agenda.”
“It should come as no surprise that similar discrimination has trickled into the workplace,” said Steinhardt. “Blind partisan loyalty should not come at the expense of the first amendment.”