RED BANK: PRESSED, ATTORNEY APOLOGIZES

Borough Attorney Greg Cannon at Wednesday’s council meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s borough attorney apologized Wednesday night for a bizarre episode last month in which he redirected a video camera belonging to former Councilwoman Cindy Burnham.

Attorney Greg Cannon offered the mea culpa after being pressed for it by Locust Avenue resident Ben Forest.
In the midst of the council’s semimonthly meeting on March 22, Cannon walked to the front row of the audience and re-aimed Burnham’s tripod-mounted camera before returning to his seat on the dais. Burnham was not seated with the camera at the time.

Burnham told redbankgreen that Cannon had informed her before the meeting that Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer felt “intimidated” by the camera, which she believed was zoomed in on her.

Burnham insisted that the camera was “always pointed at all” members of the governing body, capturing the full width of the dais. She called the claim that she was singling out Schwabenbauer for harassment “bull.”

Referring to the episode as a “cameragate” during the comment session Wednesday, Forest called it “a bad night for our attorney.”

“I think he owes Cindy an apology,” Forest said. “You had no business going over there to touch the stuff.”

“It’s my job to protect my clients,” Cannon responded. “One of my clients felt uncomfortable, I felt the need to say something. Could I have handled it better? Clearly in the aftermath, I think that I could have.”

Cannon apologized to Forest for having been “short” with him during the public comments session three weeks ago.

“If Ms. Burnham felt offended, I still maintain that she was doing the wrong thing, but  perhaps I could have handled it better and in that way if I offended her, I apologize to her as well,” he continued. “I’d rather just get past the whole thing.”

“I’m sure you would,” Forest said, but “you shouldn’t qualify it by as ‘if’ it offended her. It was offensive.”

Cannon then apologized directly to Burnham for touching her camera.

The exchange came after Burnham elicited from Cannon an acknowledgement that he had managed the campaign for Erik Yngstrom, the Democrat who displaced her after one term in November.

Cannon, a 33-year-old third-term councilman in Aberdeen, was appointed borough attorney in January, when Yngstrom’s arrival gave the Democrats 3-3 parity with the Republicans after one year as the minority party.

Cannon, who also serves as borough attorney in Allentown, won unanimous approval as part of a slate of appointments.

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