By JOHN T. WARD
It was another quick night as the Red Bank council held its second regular session of 2020 Wednesday night.
A light agenda saw the governing body wrap up public business in under 30 minutes before going behind closed doors to discuss litigation and a lease.
Here’s a recap.
• The council introduced an ordinance to renew a lease on a South Pearl Street property used as a police impound yard.
• It also passed a resolution commemorating the February 9, 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the United State Constitution, which acknowledged women’s right to vote.
• Marjorie Cavalier, of Bridge Avenue, advocated for the creation of “formalized walking trail” to highlight historic places in town.
The retired history teacher said she’s participated in the borough library’s historic walking tours. But creating markers to denote sites such as the Mechanic Street birthplace of late bandleader and composer William ‘Count’ Basie would also help visitors “embrace the history of Red Bank,” she said.
Mayor Pasquale Menna told Cavalier he’d like to meet with her to discuss the idea, as well as one of his own: ways to honor the Native Americans, “people on whose lands we are now interloping.”
• Menna called for the creation of a Monmouth County Mayor’s Alliance Against Hatred and Bigotry.
“Law enforcement is doing a great job,” though its focus is on investigation and prosecution in the aftermath of bias crimes, he told redbankgreen following the meeting.
“But I think we need to do more. When hatred raises its ugly head in one sector of the county, we politically have to lend support” to those targeted, whether for their gender, race, faith or for other reasons, he said.
Denouncing hatred and bigotry, “is not a Republican-Democratic issue,” he said.
• The council went into closed-door executive session to discuss two matters: a discrimination lawsuit by former parks and rec director Memone Crystian, and the lease on the concession stand at Riverside Gardens Park with an entity identified on the agenda only as “Endeavour Provisions.”
The concession stand was last run by a takeout restaurant called Riverside Park Jam, whose two-year, $10,000 per-year-lease ended in 2019.
Crystian’s lawsuit was filed in Monmouth County Superior Court in 2017, alleging discrimination by former borough Administrator Stanley Sickels and former councilman Art Murphy. The case was briefly moved to federal court, but later returned to Monmouth County.
No formal action was taken on either matter.
• The meeting followed the first ‘Mayor’s Focus Meeting,’ a series of informal pre-council sessions that Menna announced on January 1 as a way to address complaints about protocol restrictions on comments during regular sessions.
Wednesday’s session was announced, however, only on the Mayor Pat Menna Facebook page at 4:32 p.m., less than an hour before it started. Still, it drew six attendees, Menna told redbankgreen.
Menna said he plans to hold the sessions at 5:30 p.m. prior to the second regular council meeting of each month, held on the fourth Wednesday except when there’s a conflict with a holiday.