Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna speaking at the the Memorial Day ceremony last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna on Thursday blasted a decision by the Community YMCA to end free memberships for borough schoolchildren and emergency first-responders.
Menna went on the offensive after the Y’s “unilateral” action, which he said was made without any advance notice to or discussion with his administration.
Here’s his initial comment, made early in the morning on his Mayor Pat Menna Facebook page:
6/27/19: YMCA Announcement:
I am concerned that the Red Bank YMCA has made a unilateral announcement of a change in the bilateral relationship which it has had with its host community without any notice or consultation with me or the Borough. That is in my opinion, a serious breach of the relationship which has taken a long time to cultivate. It is unacceptable.
They have announced that they will terminate free membership to our school age children and stop the membership which they provided free to our Fire and First Aid Volunteers and Police Department. This was part of the settlement of their expansion program and site and is a slap in the back to the citizens of Red Bank who subsidize their expensive programs for their mostly out of town clients.
Our PD and FD and FA respond incessantly to calls at the YMCA facility – all paid for by Red Bank Government.
I am asking the Borough Attorney to begin an immediate review of the agreement with the YMCA initiated by the former administrator and we will respond accordingly.
Evidently, the commitments of the YMCA are not permanent.
Menna followed that post an hour later with this one:
The actions as reported by the YMCA are downright condescending and insensitive:
First a right of membership was granted to our Police and FIre/First Aid members since they are constantly responding to every incident at the “facility” which they term as great.
Then they strip the membership but say that anyone who wants a waiver has to submit an “application” which presumably contains financial review.
Insensitive and Gallling. I am not a member!
Menna said he learned of the changes when he read about them on redbankgreen. The lack of consultation with the borough “is really not how an institution is supposed to act, not even discussing it with us,” he told us.
There was no immediate comment from the nonprofit’s executive director, Katie McAdoo. This article will be updated with a response if one is provided.
As reported by redbankgreen, the Y has notified parents of the 211 borough kids that it will end its free ‘Healthy Kids’ complimentary memberships as of September 1 in order to focus on “the individuals and families in our community who need us the most.”
The Maple Avenue institution is also terminating free membership for borough police and volunteer emergency responders.
Individuals in both groups can apply for needs-based discounted family memberships, McAdoo said Wednesday.
The cuts were made to improve the Y’s “accountability” to funders, she said.
“We’re not looking to get rid of the first responders from our building, nor the schoolchildren,” she said. “We just need to be accountable for the assistance that’s awarded.”
Menna’s reference to a settlement concerns a contentious plan by the YMCA to expand its Maple Avenue facility in 2010, a matter that wound up in court. The institution did not follow through with construction of the plan, which would have increased the size of the building by 56 percent.