Mike DuPont, right, riding with law partner and former mayor Ed McKenna in the Red Bank centennial parade in 2008. (Photo by John T. Ward and Chris Ern. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
UPDATE: After publication of this article, redbankgreen learned that John Jackson filed a petition with the borough clerk for a candidacy Tuesday afternoon. This update also adds John Gosden as a resident known to be gathering petition signatures.
Former Red Bank councilman Michael DuPont has made the November election for charter study commission a race.
DuPont told redbankgreen he filed his candidacy petition Wednesday morning, making him the sixth declared candidate for a seat on a five-member body.
DuPont, an attorney and South Street resident, said he filed with 20 more signatures than the 100 needed.
His goal, he said, is to “conduct a study with impartial views on what’s best for the residents of Red Bank.”
Under a charter study referendum put on the November 2 ballot by the council, voters will be asked if a five-member commission should be formed to review the borough’s 113-year form of government, and if so, who should serve on it.
Any adult resident who collects the required 100 signatures by the September 3 deadline can run.
DuPont joins five self-described “forward-thinking” activists who last week announced they would run as a slate: Scott Broschart, Nancy Facey-Blackwood, Ben Forest, Kate Okeson and former councilman Mark Taylor.
As of Tuesday, no other petitions had been filed, borough Clerk Pam Borghi told redbankgreen. Also known to be soliciting signatures are John Jackson, of East Bergen Place, and John Gosden, of Harrison Avenue.
The commission’s recommendation could lead to change in the form of government used by Red Bank since it broke off from Shrewsbury Township in 1908: the “borough” model, under which the six-member council has both legislative and executive power and the mayor votes only to break ties.
The group’s findings also might usher in nonpartisan elections, potentially blunting the Democratic party’s 30-year dominance of Red Bank government.
DuPont, a Democratic party stalwart and former three-term councilman, said he is committed to a “transparent” study process “without any predisposition” to an outcome.
In response to inquiries sent to the five previously declared candidates, three also told redbankgreen that they intend to study the issues with open minds.
In addition, the slate, if elected, plans to present educational forums on the various options, and to seek input from professionals “to find out what in theory works, and if that theory has been or can be put into practice in Red Bank,” Okeson said last week.