Mayor Dina Long at the annual reorganization of borough government Saturday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)


Though it was an eventful, tumultuous year in this small beachside community, Sea Bright’s 2013 mayor-and-council reorganization meeting brought no major shakeups Saturday.

“We thought it was important at this time to keep things consistent,” Mayor Dina Long told redbankgreen shortly after she began her second year at the helm of local government.

“We definitely didn’t want to create new obstacles at this time,” she said. “We just wanted to help everyone and everything return to normal, or the ‘new normal’ as it should be called, because things will never be quite the same after Sandy.”

State and federal legislators and other local politicians came out to voice their support for Sea Bright, including 6th-district Congressman Frank Pallone, state Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, state Senator Joseph Kyrillos, Monmouth County Freeholder Thomas Arnone. Each addressed the public and council to both commend the mayor and council members for their post-hurricane leadership, as well as to pledge their ongoing support for hard-hit towns like Sea Bright, both in Trenton and in Washington.

“Our local leaders have so much responsibility – sometimes I think it can be too much,” said Kyrillos. “It’s an extraordinary leadership challenge even in the best of times, but of course this cast behind me served in extraordinary times. Their leadership has been recognized across the state and frankly, across America.”

He also added that recovery would be a “slow, but sure and steady process,” before reiterating the commitment the federal and statewide government will have for towns like Sea Bright.

“It will be a special and important partnership,” he said. “And together, we’ll get things back on track, so we can all get back to the beach where I’ve been going my whole life, and so you can get back in your homes.”

“In Washington we’re trying to get the funding legislation through –and we will, I promise you that,” said Pallone, who last week was sharply critical of the House majority GOP’s decisions last week to first delay a vote on funding storm recovery efforts, and later to approve just $10 billion of a pending $60.4 billion package. “We’ll all work together to make an even better Sea Bright for the future.”

In a speech, Councilman Brian Kelly, who retained his position as council president, stressed the importance of patience in ongoing rebuilding process. Long recapped her first year as Sea Bright’s mayor and laid out some groundwork for the future.

“What I knew as normal back when I first took office is unrecognizable now,” Long said. “It seems now the crisis itself wasn’t the hard part. The shock and the adrenaline are over, the answers are slow to come, and the money to help us rebuild hasn’t shown up yet. So now we’re in the hard part.”

Long singled out what she referred to as the “Sea Bright Spirit,” something that has helped keep town morale high and powered the rebuilding process, which she said will lead to better days.

“Sea Brighters know about cold, hard winters, and we know about bitter wind,” she said, “but we get through it every year because we know a glorious summer is coming. If we can just get three these dark days of winter, warm days and light will be here.”