RED BANK: SHAKEUP AT ZONING BOARD

Rosemary Minear was one of two zoning board members who quit in May. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Following two abrupt resignations, some new faces join the Red Bank zoning board when it convenes for its bimonthly meeting Thursday night to decide whether to allow a proposed 7-Eleven on Newman Springs Road.

Alternate members Rosemary Minear and David McGuinness quit May 24 after Mayor Pasquale Menna gave a full membership on the board to Sean Murphy, brother of council President Art Murphy.

Appointing Murphy to fill the vacancy left by Karen Waldman, who resigned to move to Florida, was an “insult” to the time he’d spent as a back-bencher, McGuinness said in his resignation letter.

Alternates attend hearings and participate in the questioning of applicants and debates over the merits of plans. They’re eligible to vote when a quorum of regular members is not available, and their positions are numbered, with priority given to the one with the lowest number.

Minear, a former zoning officer in Middletown, was alternate number one, and McGuinness was number three.

Minear, noted for her dogged advocacy of traditional design and colors, sent Menna a one-sentence resignation email that offered no explanation for her decision and none of the customary formalities:

Dear Pat: As of todays date, I submit my resignation from the Red Bank Zoning Board of
Adjustment. Rosemary Minear

In his letter, McGuinness called his time on the board “great” and “extremely fascinating but thoroughly rewarding.” He continued:

It has been time away from work and my family, time I felt was justified as I was providing voluntary service dedicated to helping the town and community, but I find this process to not only be disrespectful, an insult to my intelligence but also an insult to the two and half years dedicated to attending Zoning Board meetings as an alternate member.

Neither Minear nor McGuinness responded to a redbankgreen request for comment. Menna said he hadn’t spoken to either, though “I heard from others that [Minear] was upset,” he said.

Asked last week if Murphy’s appointment was an example of cronyism, Menna laughed off the suggestion.

“You can’t have cronyism if you don’t get paid,” he said, referring to the volunteer nature of board membership. “It’s more like indentured servitude.”

Menna said both Minear and McGuinness “contributed substantially to the board.

“If either would like to come back, they’re welcome to come back,” he said, adding, “as alternates.”

Sean Murphy, he said, “has had a great deal of involvement with the town since he was a boy growing up here,” and “he has had great experience with construction.”

Murphy was sworn in last month. The new alternates are Chris Ferrigine and Anne Torrey. Alternate Ed Poplawski moves up from alternate 4 to 1.

Here’s the full text of McGuinness’ letter: waldman mcguinness letters

And here’s the agenda: RB Zoning agenda 071813