RED BANK: RESIDENCY AN ISSUE IN RACE

mike clancy 091215 1Red Bank school board candidate Mike Clancy. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03One of six candidates on the ballot in this year’s Red Bank Board of Education election apparently doesn’t belong there.

Mike Clancy acknowledged to redbankgreen that he hasn’t lived in town for a year, as required by law — and said he didn’t know he had to.

Clancy oath 091515Mike Clancy’s signature just above the list of qualifications on the nominating petition dated July 15. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Clancy, along with Irwin Katz and Dick Stout, is on a Republican-backed slate challenging non-partisan incumbents Carrie Ludwikowski, Ann Roseman and Fred Stone for the three seats available in the November 3 election.

Thirty-three-year-old Clancy said he signed a notarized election registration form to get his name on the ballot in July, but didn’t read the qualifications just below the signature line.

Among the criteria for eligibility is that a candidate must have been “a resident of the municipality from which he/she is to be elected for at least one year preceding the date of the election.”

According to his Facebook page, Clancy has lived in the borough since February 21 of this year.

Clancy said he was not aware of an eligibility issue until redbankgreen asked him about it during a photo session on Saturday.

Bertha Sumick, Monmouth County’s special deputy clerk of elections, said the clerk’s office does not investigate or certify the veracity of petitions. Challengers have four days from the date of submission to file a challenge to a petition, with proof, and none was received, she said.

Sumick said she wasn’t sure what the procedure would be if someone were to formally challenge the petition now.

Asked to comment, Fred Stone sent the following by email on behalf of the incumbents:

“Ann, Carrie, and I are disappointed that the candidate and the Red Bank Republicans supporting him have so little respect for the law, for the integrity of the school board, and for the voters of Red Bank to have brought Mr. Clancy’s candidacy forward.”

Clancy’s petition, with signatures of 11 residents beside himself attesting that he is “legally qualified” under state law to be elected, was circulated by local Republican Chairman Sean Di Somma, who on August 10 briefly posted, and then removed, an update on the party’s Facebook page touting Clancy, Katz and Stout as “our official endorsed candidates” for the board.

Promising a “new day for Red Bank schools,” the post declared that “the days of 12% annual tax increases will soon be over.”

Di Somma told redbankgreen afterward that the post had gone up in error.

Di Somma said last week that the GOP is “willing to spend a little money” and dedicate volunteers to the campaigns of Clancy, Katz and Stout if the candidates “are willing to go out and knock on doors.”

He defended the party’s role in what is traditionally a nonpartisan election as common in towns around New Jersey. “It happens everywhere,” he said.