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RED BANK: CENSURED, GREGORY QUITS RBHA

red-bank-charter-mark-gregory-021820-500x332-4611791Mark Gregory at a Red Bank Charter School meeting in February, 2020. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-220x138-7378486A Red Bank Housing Authority board member resigned this week, one month after the board censured him for “wanton disregard for his fellow commissioners.”

Mark Gregory’s resignation, accepted by the board at its monthly meeting Wednesday night, was the second by a Republican member in less than a year.

red-bank-housing-authority-011520-500x332-6035581Mark Gregory, far right, at a housing authority meeting in January, 2020. Chairman Diem Jones is at far left, next to Michael Clancy, in white shirt. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

In April, the board, which manages the Montgomery Terrace and Evergreen Terrace subsidized housing complexes on the West Side, voted to censure Gregory for a February letter to the mayor and council reporting that three board members had not completed coursework for their duties within the 18 months required by New Jersey law.

Those who fail to do so are “deemed resigned and shall vacate the position,” the law states.

But housing authority Executive Director Bill Snyder said two of the three cited by Gregory – Alecia Wilkerson and Chairman Diem Jones – had completed their courses, in November and December, respectively. The third, former borough recreation director Memone Crystian, had received an extension from the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was on track to meet the requirement by early March.

Gregory did not immediately respond to a redbankgreen request for comment sent Wednesday night. But at the time of his censure, he asked that a statement in which he called the censure “retaliatory” be included in the meeting minutes.

He also requested an investigation, suggesting that the censure was “a violation of the 1989 whistleblower act.”

In his letter of resignation, dated Tuesday, Gregory wrote:

I am disappointed and disheartened by the conduct of the Housing Authority Board.

During our public meetings I repeatedly expressed to my fellow Red Bank Housing Authority Commissioners my concerns that some members of the commission had not completed their required classes within the set 18 month time period.   I learned independently that almost half of the Commissioners had actually forfeited their positions last June and earlier by not completing their courses. They had not notified the Authority, Council, or Mayor and had continued to serve illegitimately.  As required, I was obligated to notify the Council and Mayor.  For this, I was formally censured by the Housing Authority Board, simply for performing my duties. This retaliatory action and attempt to intimidate me is shameful and unacceptable. My lawful action was called “…discourteous…and…in a manner contrary to acceptable standards for a member of the Board…”

Meanwhile, my safety and the safety of my family has been put in jeopardy by a Commissioner who attacked me with false, slanderous and dangerous statements which she read aloud at a March 17th Housing Authority meeting open to the public. This Commissioner falsely accused me of using  profiling to identify criminal and gang activities on Housing Authority properties and made personal accusations against me, my career, select members of the Council and even Red Bank Borough employees. She claimed that she had sent the letter to the press. Unfortunately, the members of the Council implicitly approved of her rant by not objecting, and, ironically, by not Censuring her.

On April 21st, 2021, at a Housing Authority meeting, I raised my concerns about how this scandalous attack threatened my safety and the safety of my family. My concerns were ignored by the board.

Since I was asked to join the Housing Authority, I have endeavored to work with it and other Commissioners to help our community. I have championed installing security cameras to enhance safety for residents, removing unsightly barbed wire fencing, improving landscaping, and even potentially using available Covid 19 funds to provide Wifi for the residents at no cost. Hardly contrary to “acceptable standards” for a member of the Board.

I am proud of the work I have accomplished and honored to have had the opportunity to serve, but I am unable to serve effectively going forward under these toxic conditions.  Nevertheless, I wish the Housing Authority the best of luck in the future.

Last July, then-Red Bank Republican Chairman Michael Clancy drew fire for musing on Facebook about attending a rally and coughing on then-President Trump’s adversaries to “harass” them.

Clancy resigned as GOP chairman that month, in preparation for a move out of town. He resigned the housing authority in August as board members were preparing a measure to remove him from the board over his Facebook posts, emails obtained by redbankgreen indicate.

Three years earlier, Clancy resigned from the borough’s Human Relations committee over a controversial text message that the committee’s chairman called “extremely threatening” to immigrant children.

Gregory, of Bank Street, is married to Allison Gregory, who ran for borough council on the GOP ticket in 2018 and 2019, the second time with Clancy as her running mate.

The Gregorys made news locally last October over a dispute with a neighbor.

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