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RED BANK: LEE BOWS OUT

sharon-lee-121813-500x375-9152390Sharon Lee at her final council meeting Wednesday night, above, and below with her son, Devon Ramsay, on election night. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

sharon-lee-110513-220x165-5072800Sharon Lee was three years old when her family moved from its longtime home in Red Bank to Germany. Six years later, when the family was abuzz with talk about “going home,” she was confused, she said. She couldn’t remember any other home.

“I finally understood when I got here,” the borough native said Wednesday night, in her final session as a borough council member.

Except for that stint as a military brat, Lee has lived her whole life in Red Bank, and was a classmate of Mayor Pasquale Menna at the River Street School and later, Red Bank High.

As other council members praised Lee’s nine years of service Wednesday, Menna claimed to have have known her longest and best, recalling how he played with her and her brother as children on the West Side.

But when Republican Cindy Burnham broke the Democrats’ lock on the governing body in November’s election, the weak link turned out to be Lee, a homeowner on East Westside Avenue who is adept under the hood of a car – she counseled redbankgreen on how to replace the headlamps on a Honda.

Though just 25 votes separated Burnham and Lee, Lee declined to press for a recount, saying in a prepared statement that “it would be disruptive and counterproductive to continue to review the outcome of an election when the real issue is service to my neighbors, not the personal victory of one candidate over another.”

Lee said she would continue to serve the town as a private citizen and wished Burnham well.

Among her final votes was an unusual, if not rare, break with her Democratic colleagues when she voted “no” on a measure to extend a sandwich-board ordinance until June 30, 2015. Lee did not offer a reason for her vote.

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