MORE CURLEY v. McKENNA

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The acrimony between departing Mayor Ed McKenna and mayoral candidate John Curley spilled over into the business of the Monmouth County Freeholders last night.

Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that Curley and other Republicans were, um, displeased with the Freeholders’ hiring of law firms.

McKenna’s firm—McKenna, Dupont, Higgins & Stone—was named as a special counsel. The Freeholders also re-appointed, by a 3-2 vote, Malcolm V. Carton as county counsel, re-upping Carton in a post he’s held since 1985.

Carton’s lock on the job had appeared in danger amid rising concern about the size of his bills and his naked fundraising for Republican candidates.

But under new rules adopted by the Freeholders, the county counsel will be prohibited from making any political contributions to candidates for county office, and is now barred from hosting fundraisers for the freeholders, sheriff, county clerk or county surrogate.

The Freeholders also brought in six new law firms, including McKenna’s, with both Democratic and Republican affiliations.

Not good enough, according to Curley and other critics who took a throw-the-bums-out approach.

From the story:

“It is a night of shame for the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders,” Curley said. “The county is not moving to clean itself up. They appoint the same cronies…the same old boys club.”

OK, so that was arguably a broad-brush attack not necessarily aimed solely at McKenna. But it makes for a tidy entry in the back-and-forth between McKenna, who ran on the same ticket as Curley in 2002, and Curley, who later switched parties, from Democratic to Republican.

A week ago, McKenna blamed Curley for the 4-cents-per-$100-assessment increase approved by the borough council.

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