CurleyburryDriving Mrs. Burry: John Curley and his running mate, as seen at Red Bank’s Centennial Parade in May.

For years, former Red Bank Councilman John Curley has railed against what he’s called a “good old boys” way in which the Monmouth County Freeholders parcel out legal work, and in particular against the award of work to the firm of his longtime nemesis, former borough Mayor Ed McKenna.

So it must have been particularly nettlesome for Curley last week when McKenna, DuPont, Higgins & Stone was again appointed — this time with Curley’s running mate for Freeholder voting to affirm the work.

Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that incumbent Lillian Burry “broke a promise” to Curley not to renew McKenna’s appointment as assistant county counsel at a rate of $155 an hour.

“I am just deeply disappointed over how the vote played out,” Curley told the Press, according to the report.

From the Press account by reporter Bob Jordan:

Curley attended the board meetings and urged the freeholders to not make the reappointment. He also spoke against the reappointment of the Cleary, Alfieri and Jones law firm because the principal of that firm has been accused of collecting pension and retirement health benefits he was not entitled to receive from a municipal utilities authority and the state.

Burry was part of unanimous votes keeping both McKenna and the Cleary firm on the county payroll through January.

Last Thursday, Burry said she had no comment about Curley’s remarks. Burry could not be reached for comment Monday.

Curley said Burry “had promised multiple times” over the past year not to vote for McKenna. Burry also voted for McKenna in 2007. Curley said Burry apologized for going against his wishes after the earlier vote, then offered assurances she would not back McKenna again, according to Curley.


Curley said he and a current Red Bank councilwoman, Republican Mary Grace Cangemi, “had urged Burry many, many times to go against McKenna. His record has been to make every attempt to destroy any Republican in Red Bank personally and professionally.”

Cangemi could not be reached for comment.

Curley made a number of other recommendations at the freeholders’ meeting last week, with none seeming to gain traction with the Republican-controlled board.

Curley said the hourly wage paid to county attorneys should be reduced to $125, from the current $155 per hour. He also said the chief county counsel’s post, currently held by Malcolm V. Carton in a three-year appointment that expires in 2009, should not be given in consecutive appointments to the same person.

Curley argued that the approximately 20 assistant county counsel jobs should be handed out to those in specific areas of expertise. Those jobs are now largely called general counsel assignments. Curley said the assignments should be, for instance, in environmental, planning or labor specialties.

Burry and Curry face Democrats Amy Mallet and Glenn Mason on the Nov. 4 ballot.

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