CHIN UP, LOVE! THERE MUST BE A SPACE!

Red Bank officials past and present would be well advised to scope out the excruciatingly limited parking options in downtown Freehold, because they could be spending a lot of time in the county seat, thanks to former Red Bank parking director Neil Burnip.

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This week’s Hub reports that Burnip, perhaps the thinnest-skinned Brit ever to leave that scepter’d isle, has followed through on his threat to file suit against the borough. He’s seeking $11.5 million in damages and compensation for what he says was discrimination based on his nationality.

In addition to prosecuting his lawsuit—he’s acting as his own attorney at the moment—Burnip may have to defend himself against allegations of sexual assault and harassment raised by a Red Bank employee. The woman’s attorney recently put the borough on notice of a coming $5 million lawsuit that will allege Burnip stalked, improperly touched and otherwise harassed her between May and August of this year.

Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels is also expected to be named a defendant in that suit for his alleged failure to properly supervise Burnip.

Meanwhile, Burnip’s suit, filed earlier this month in state Superior Court in Freehold, accuses Councilman John Curley and former Councilwoman (now Assemblywoman) Jennifer Beck of discriminating against him based on his country of birth when they questioned Burnip’s hiring in 2002 and afterward.

From the Hub article, by Layli Whyte:

“Curley and Beck,” the complaint states, “objected to my ‘reappointment’ at the council reorganization meeting of January 2004—notwithstanding the fact that I am not an appointed employee. The effect, if successful, would have led to my termination.”

Burnip’s suit states that he believes the reason Curley and Beck opposed his position at the borough is based on his nationality.

Curley and Beck, however, are not named as defendants; instead, they’re identified as part of the borough’s “upper management,” a claim that Curley supporters must find particularly rich in irony, given Curley’s complaints of having been frozen out by the McKenna administration.

Beck and Curley disputed Burnip’s allegations when they were first made more than a year ago. An investigation by borough labor attorney James Plosia of Burnip’s complaints against Curley and Beck found they were without merit. Burnip says a hearing on the matter was a “travesty.”

Burnip quit his job effective Oct. 6 while on unpaid leave in connection with the sexual harassment allegations, the Hub reports.

Borough officials, though, have remained tight-lipped about a Plosia investigation into the female employee’s allegations that Burnip harassed her for his sexual gratification, saying they are unable to publicly discuss it as a matter of personnel.

The suits, if they proceed, promise a fair amount of trekking back and forth to Freehold by Sickels, Plosia and other members of Red Bank’s “upper management.” And even though they’re not named as defendants, it’s hard not to imagine Beck and Curley being called to testify, if the Burnip complaint gets that far.

Carpooling, anyone?

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