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Curley Calls for Resignations From Brookdale Board of Trustees

Freeholder director repeated call for resignations after former Brookdale Community College President Peter Burnham pleaded guilty to official misconduct charges.

Tuesday's guilty plea from former Brookdale Community College President Peter Burnham has some calling for more financial accountability from the college's board of trustees.

. Prosecutors say Burnham used credit cards issued to him by Brookdale to purchase more than $10,000 worth of items.

According to News 12, Burnham made $216,000 in his position at Brookdale.

Freeholder Director John Curley, who became the community college's liaison in January, 2011, said he was the one to call attention to personal spending with college money from Burnham's office. .

"I tore through that budget and I was able to get a copy of the president's contract," Curley said. "I realized the Board of Trustees had been really lax."

Curley said he was the whistleblower, and he believes his comments and call for an investigation prompted the prosecutors to act.

Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni said, "I am not going to comment on how the case was referred to us or how it became apparent to us, but we are always listening, let's put it that way."

Curley said accountability does not stop at Burnham.

"I'm also calling again to the Board of Trustees who I feel have really shortchanged the taxpayers and the tuition payers at Brookdale," Curley said. "I am still calling for the board of trustees' resignation. Obviously except for the two new board members, who were just appointed a few months ago."

The Brookdale Community College Board of Trustees is made up of 12 board members, eight of whom are appointed by county freeholders and two by the governor's office. Currently, two trustees are up for reappointment.

Dr. Maureen Murphy, Jacob S. Elkes, Father Brian Butch, Dr. Lewis G. Anderson, Charles A. Karcher, Lora U. Campbell, David Flaherty, Tim Hart, S. Lucille Jones, Dr. Peter Kapsales, Richard M. Maser, Joan Raymond and Graduate Trustee Timothy Hart make up the current board.

Maureen Murphy was as president of the college. were appointed in May to replace board members Howard Birdsall, who stepped down in May 2011, and Simon Bosco, who resigned in November 2011. Hart is a student, appointed by his peers to serve a one-year term.

"I have no idea whether they knew what was going on, but again that goes back to the country club attitude that everyone's a friend to everyone else," Curley said. "The moral and fiduciary responsibility has been shrugged by the trustees. They should have followed Burnham's activities much closer."

Gramiccioni did not comment on Tuesday about current or future targets of state investigation. However, he said Burnham is continuing to cooperate with the Prosecutor's Office.

"Hopefully with a new Board of Trustees there will be a far greater accountability for the moral and fiduciary responsibility," Curley said.

ASimon July 26, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Curley seems to be very adept at complaining about open barn doors after the horse bolts out. His endless grandstanding is getting tiresome and just reminds us that he is the prototypical politician.
Fred M July 26, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Herky, Curley found out about Brookdale during his first term...Very Early in his first term...This was happening before he became a Freeholder, many years before he became a Freeholder..How in the world do you hold Curley accountable when he wasn't a Freeholder ? I am curious about how and who does the auditing of Brookdales Financial records annually
Herky July 26, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Fred M: I am sure , the accounting firm that does the auditing gets paid BIG money, and Missed all this??? Trust in Government, at its lowest !!
Fred M July 26, 2012 at 09:45 AM
Auditors will do checks and balances,,,Trustees in General approve the dispursements and supervise the General Funds....This is what the Trustes are suppose to do..They watch the Finances,,They are suppose to look where the money goes and if the purchases are legit...Sounds like Trustees forgot to supervise....It's obvious they didn't ask any questions on where the money went,, Auditor will see if all monies are accounted for, not to see if a purchase was acceptable,,,
J. Markowitz, Ph.D. November 14, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Now - Get Lillian Burry's big bum out of the Fort Monmouth redevelopment project! That's a CONFLICT OF INTEREST! SO was the fact that BCC Board Member Birdsall's WIFE is her CAMPAIGN MANAGER - If it walks like a little, ugly phoney duck - it's a little, ugly, phoney duck...

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