Ben Lucarelli during the council’s annual session held at the Knollwood School in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


hot topic red bank njAfter nearly a decade in the position, Ben Lucarelli has resigned as Fair Haven’s mayor, effective immediately, borough Administrator Theresa Casagrande announced Tuesday.

No reason was given.

Lucarelli at Fair Haven Day in 2016. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Lucarelli did not immediately respond to a redbankgreen text message.

Here’s Casagrande’s announcement:

Mayor Ben Lucarelli has resigned his official position with the Borough, effective immediately. On behalf of the Borough Council members and the citizens of Fair Haven, I want to acknowledge his leadership and many accomplishments during his nine years as Mayor and sincerely thank him for over twelve years of volunteer community service as a member of the Fair Haven Governing Body.
We collectively wish him and his family all the best and look forward to seeing him around town for many years to come!

Lucarelli’s resignation came less than 24 hours after a council session at which he lost his temper and banged his gavel during discussion of an appointment to the borough’s land use advisory committee. He later apologized for his outburst.

Council President Chris Rodriguez called the news of Lucarelli’s resignation “jarring.”

“Yeah, I would say it’s a surprise,” Rodriguez told redbankgreen.

Lucarelli, 60, joined the governing body in 2009 as a fill-in for a council member who resigned, and became mayor in February, 2012 following the resignation of Mike Halfacre, who became head of the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control in then-Governor Chris Christie’s administration.

Lucarelli was last re-elected in 2018, when he ran unopposed.

Rodriguez said the local Republican organization is expected to proposed three nominees to serve out Lucarelli’s term, which ends December 31, 2022. The six-member council, with a 4-2 Democratic majority for the first time in memory, will then choose from among the three.

Lucarelli, an owner and manager of commercial real estate, grew up “on the mean streets of Rumson,” he once quipped, and has lived in Fair Haven for 29 years. In addition to many years of involvement in youth sports as a coach, he previously served on the boards of the Two River Theater and the Monmouth Day Care Center, both in Red Bank.

An avid cyclist, he has advocated for bike lanes to cross the borough and provide continuous pathways through towns.

Two council positions are to be filled in the November election, in which incumbent Betsy Koch is joined on the Republican ticket by Tracey Cole, opposite Democrats Robert Gasperini and Sonja Trombino.

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