By JOHN T. WARD
Missing from the agenda for the Red Bank council session scheduled for Wednesday night: clashing demands for investigations.
But the probes – one focused on the source of an email leak, and the other on alleged conduct exposed by the emails – may still get an airing.
Here’s a look-ahead at the agenda for the session.
• On the agenda is a resolution that would authorize the Weiner Law Group to charge the town up to $25,000 to perform “unforeseen…. additional legal services” beyond work it was hired to provide under a $45,000 contract in January.
Business Administrator Ziad Shehady told redbankgreen Tuesday that the additional work is not related to a probe requested by Councilman Ed Zipprich to determine who leaked emails about him to redbankgreen in early August.
The work “is not specific to any one task,” Shehady said, adding:
It’s for general labor-related legal work which has been more frequent due to the pandemic – there are many pandemic-related laws and labor concerns that were not anticipated on January 1 that the firm has to help the Borough navigate. Some examples are the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, handling of various suspected or confirmed COVID-19 exposures, workplace safety, etc. The actual text of the Resolution prevails (at $70,000) as opposed to the title listed ($75,000 is a typo).
The resolution contains a typo, Shehady said: it permits Weiner to bill up to $70,000, as opposed to the $75,000 cited in the title.
• Meantime, a proposed resolution authorizing the probe Zipprich sought was tabled earlier this month when council members Erik Yngstrom and Hazim Yassin sought to have the investigation determine not who leaked the emails, but whether Zipprich had improper contact with a prospective bidder for the trash contract, as the emails suggested.
The resolution does not appear on either the workshop or regular meeting agendas.
“What happens to that Resolution or another may be discussed at the meeting tomorrow,” Shehady said via email. “I am not aware of the plans for that resolution, if any.”
Yngstrom told redbankgreen last week he believes an investigation is necessary to rule out an improper contact with a bidder in order to ensure the “integrity of the bidding process” to future bidders for borough work.
Zipprich has said the emails, between Shehady and other council members and borough Attorney Greg Cannon, smeared his reputation, and that he was “within [his] right as an elected official to review the garbage bid specs.”
• As no bids were received for a new three-year trash and recycling collection, the borough will try again.
In the interim, DeLisa Demolition of Tinton Falls is providing the service on a $10,000-per-month emergency contract, as previously reported.
• The agenda includes expected adoption of an ordinance to extend the hours of metered-parking enforcement to 9 p.m., from the current cutoff of 6 p.m.
The change would not alter the hourly fees for parking.
• A public hearing is slated on a plan to seek $250,000 in matching funds from the Monmouth County Open Spaces grant program for unspecified improvements to Mohawk Pond, located opposite the south entrance to Count Basie Fields.
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