OUSTED BY MATAWAN, MENNA HAS HIS FANS
A month after fellow Democrats showed him the door in Matawan, some residents of are wondering why Pasquale Menna lost his gig as borough attorney there, according to a report in this week’s Independent weekly.
Menna, who is of course Red Bank’s mayor, held the Matawan post for two years, and looked likely to have it for at least another year. Though fellow Dem Mary Aufseeser lost her bid for re-election as mayor in a run-off in January, her successor, Republican Paul Buccellato, re-appointed Menna in March.
But at the April 1 council meeting, four professionals were summarily canned: the borough attorney, the bond attorney, the labor attorney and the planner. Only one vote was cast in favor of retaining Menna, and that came from a Republican.
The Asbury Park Press reported at the time that none of the five councilmembers who voted to boot Menna offered any reason why.
From the Press article of April 3:
“I don’t understand why they rejected Mr. Menna,” said Buccellato in a telephone interview. “Toward the end of 2007, they praised his work product, they commended him on his billing and that it helped saved the borough a substantial amount of money.”
“What I intend to do is reject the whole process,” Buccellato said. “There was intentional interference and manipulation of the process.” He added that, based on comments made by certain council members at the meeting, it seemed as though conversations were held privately with some professionals without the consent of the entire council.
This week’s Independent says the council’s mass firing:
was the subject of a great deal of public comment during the most recent council meeting.
“I would like to ask members of the Democratic council tonight and want an answer as to why they chose to reject him,” said Donna Gould, of Miriam Drive and a former councilwoman. “I am rather shocked and dismayed, and quite frankly, don’t understand why you would not want the residents of Matawan to benefit greatly from this man’s experience, integrity and intelligence and all the good things he has done for our town in a bipartisan way.”
Gould went on with her questions to the council, answering them herself.
“Could it be the fee he would charge the borough of Matawan is too high? Nonsense, the fact is that his quote is the lowest of all applicants.”
Gould mentioned the fact that Menna had lowered his fees to accommodate the borough and that he was an important part of the downtown revitalization in Red Bank, where he is now mayor…
“Matawan is a charity case and Mr. Menna lowered his fees,” said Neil Mendleson, of Broad Street. “His credentials are valid and his price is lower. Why would we go elsewhere?”
Most residents who spoke during the public portion extolled Menna’s performance record. Charlie White, of Daniel Drive, however, was not as quick to praise Menna’s services.
“I support the Democrats on this one,” he said. “A few years ago there was an incident involving one of the fire captains and Mr. Menna advised the borough to go into litigation on the matter, and it was a matter that, I believe, should have stayed in-house.”
redbankgreen asked Menna for his comments. Here’s his email reply:
It would be inappropriate for me to comment on this since I am still the Borough Attorney, at least until Tuesday, when the Democratic majority will appoint my successor. I will not be in attendance. I am grateful for the support of Mayor Paul Buccellato and Councilwoman Clifton as well as former Councilpersons Gould and Buragina as ex Democratic Councilman Mendlesohn.
I have my thoughts on the subject but am constrained to express it since am still at my post.
Menna also serves as Eatontown’s prosecutor (a non-pension appointment), Keyport’s planning board attorny (ditto), Deal’s prosecutor and Asbury Park’s code prosecutor.