RED BANK: TRASH SURVEY SPLITS COUNCIL

A screengrab of the council’s session Wednesday night. (Zoom screengrab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicA trash-and-recycling survey became the latest wedge between two factions of Red Bank’s one-party council Wednesday night.

The dispute included innuendo that Councilman Ed Zipprich could not be trusted to keep information secret from bidders in the pending award of a trash hauling contract.

The split opened during the council’s monthly workshop session, conducted online, when Councilman Michael Ballard asked when council members could see the results of the survey, conducted starting in late July, to gauge needs and preferences of residents regarding waste collection.

Business Administrator Ziad Shehady said the raw data had not been compiled into a report, but would be presented to the council along with responses to the pending bid solicitation.

“I don’t want the results public,” Shehady said. “That may affect the bidders’ bidding quantities if they know which way there’s a preference” of the council.”

Shehady said the survey would be made public “once the bids are received.”

“It would be a best practice to be as safe as possible, especially given all we’ve discussed here,” said Attorney Greg Cannon.

Ballard and Zipprich, however, pressed for the information to be given to the council sooner.

“I mean, it’s been two months, and we haven’t seen anything,” Ballard said.

“You’ll see it after the bids are received,” said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

Zipprich said he found it “kind of amazing” that tax dollars would be spent on a survey that even the council couldn’t see before they had to make a decision.

“Well, we don’t want any council members allowing bidders to know that information,” said Councilman Erik Yngstrom.

Yngstrom was alluding to another simmering split: whether Zipprich had been “meddling” in and might “sabotage” the then-pending bid process to select a trash hauling firm for a new three-year contract in early August, as Shehady alleged in internal emails.

No bids were received, and emails containing the allegations were leaked to redbankgreen.

“There’s been no interference on anyone’s part as far as I’m aware,” Zipprich said, “and I think the bid stands alone from the survey as far as the trash habits of the borough.”

“We’re going to get them,” Yngstrom said of the survey results. “I just don’t see why we need them right this minute.

“I agree with Z. I don’t want anything, given the history of this whole process, to really do anything to affect any type of bids,” Yngstrom said.

Zipprich said having the information would help the council in making its decision,

“You will have that before you make your decision,” said Menna. “Nobody’s going to keep it from you.”

“Oh, come on, Mayor, it’s being kept from us now,” Zipprich replied.

“It’s on record that¬† you care very deeply about what goes on with trash,” said Triggiano.

“You’ve been given a response,” Councilwoman Kathy Horgan told Zippich and Ballard.

“The information is being withheld,” said Zipprich. “It’s not transparent.”

“We know you care very much,” Triggiano said again.

“Very much so, yes,” said Menna.

“We do care very much, on behalf of the people who just re-elected us,” Zipprich said.

“As do we,” said Triggiano. “Just because you speak louder doesn’t mean you care more. Let’s move on.”

“No, not let’s not move on,” Ballard shot back, as Menna began to discuss the next issue. “Councilwoman, that was rude. I have an opinion…”

“We’re moving on, ” said Menna.

On Tuesday, Zipprich, who is also chair of the local Democratic party, was elected to a fifth term, and Ballard to a second. They ran unopposed. Earlier in the meeting, Menna congratulated Ballard and Zipprich on their re-election.

None of the other council members chimed in, however.  Councilman Hazim Yassin, who has also been at odds with Ballard and Zipprich, was absent.

There was no mention of action on an apparent compromise solution to

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