MASON OUT, LOVERSIDGE & VALET IN

frank-mason1Frank Mason, soon to be Red Bank’s former CFO, at his final council meeting Wednesday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank council members unloaded their attaboys on Frank Mason Wednesday, bidding a formal farewell to the borough’s outgoing finance chief, whose last day on the job is next Friday.

Mason, who’s taking the same position in Montclair, will be replaced, on an interim basis, by Bruce Loversidge, who held the position for more than 30 years before he retired.

Mason came on board in 2006 — taking the position the already retired Loversidge was temporarily filling — after former CFO Terence Whalen resigned when an audit showed sloppy bookkeeping. Mayor Pasquale Menna said Mason played the mop-up role with professionalism and put the borough back on better financial footing.

“You really brought us back on course. You were the admiral of the ship,” Menna said. “Without your professionalism, we would not be in the place we are today. We’re all sad to see you go, but our loss is Montclair’s gain.”

Mason, who was on a salary of $95,622 a year, took the Montclair job because it offered about $25,000 more, Administrator Stanley Sickels said.

Loversidge will take over next Friday on a part-time basis. He’ll earn $50 an hour, but because he’s retired, cannot earn more than $15,000 for the year, according to a resolution.

Humbled, Mason thanked the council and said Red Bank has “been a great place to be.”

Councilman Mike DuPont, who heads the council’s finance committee, said he wouldn’t mind crossing paths with Mason again if he decides to return.

“You can always come back if you’re willing to take a pay cut,” he said.

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The council also approved a three-month test drive to offer valet parking downtown.

The service, expected to start July 22, will run from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights, and will block off six parking spots on the east side of Broad Street, from Mechanic Street north, to accommodate a valet station and pull-in area. The company providing the service, Citi Park, will take visitors’ cars to the municipal lot on Mechanic Street.

The borough is testing the idea to see if it catches and is well-received. Menna said it’s one of many coming down the pike to “not only to keep us in competition, but also way out in the field.”

The service will end September 30 and then be reviewed to see just how far in the field Red Bank got.