Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.

RED BANK: GOVERNMENT REVIEW LAUNCHED

red-bank-charter-study-113021-2-500x332-2475296Sworn in by Mayor Pasquale Menna, right, were commission members, standing from left: Nancy Facey-Blackwood, Kate Okeson, Mark Taylor, Mike DuPont and Ben Forest. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-2130637A study that could result in an historic overhaul of Red Bank governance, and imperil three decades of Democratic party dominance, got underway Tuesday night.

On the agenda of the newly empaneled Red Bank Charter Study Commission were nuts-and-bolts matters: requesting a budget, finding a lawyer and setting a meeting schedule.

On the unofficial agenda: learning to use the microphones.

red-bank-charter-study-okeson-113021-500x332-4720051Kate Okeson addressing resident Stephen Hecht, above. Below, Mike DuPont speaks, flanked by borough Attorney Greg Cannon, left, and Ben Forest. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

red-bank-charter-study-dupont-forest-113021-220x146-8042772 Member Nancy Facey-Blackwood called the commission “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study our existing government” and “find the best solution to help Red Bank move forward.”

The nine-month study of the town’s 1908 “charter” – not the Red Bank Charter School, as some commenters have assumed on social media – could lead to a referendum on replacing the town’s borough form of government with one of multiple options.

It also could open the door to non-partisan elections, in which candidates who avoid party machinery have a better chance of making it onto a ballot.

With about 20 family members and borough residents watching, Mayor Pasquale Menna swore in the commission’s members: Blackwood, Mike DuPont, Ben Forest, Kate Okeson and Mark Taylor.

They won their seats in the November 2 election, when voters approved a referendum calling for the study and chose the commission members from 11 candidates.

“We’re in a middle ground,” said Okeson. “We’re not politicians. We’re serving for our residents.”

In its first series of actions, the commission:

• Chose Blackwood as chairperson and Taylor as vice chair. Blackwood also chairs the Environmental Commission; Taylor is a former council member.

• Agreed to request a $50,000 budget from the borough council, with four-fifths of that amount expected to go to legal costs.

• Agreed to seek proposals for the legal work, at a target rate of $150 per hour, for a lawyer to attend meetings, provide guidance and write a final report.

Set Proposed a twice-a-month meeting schedule: the second Thursday and fourth Monday (or fourth Tuesday), at 6:30 p.m. Those days were selected based on the availability of the council chambers. CORRECTION: The meeting dates were incorrectly reported in the original version of this post.

Several commission members expressed hope that in addition to the in-person sessions, the borough would provide a virtual option.

Blackwood said the study would consist of three phases: a review of the existing form of government; a look at other forms; and “taking it on the road” with a series of hearings to solicit public input.

As is standard in meetings in the council chambers, microphone management was an issue. This time, though, the tables were turned, as Menna, sitting in the audience rather than on the dais, called out “we can’t hear” as members spoke without turning on their mics.

That prompted Forest to remind his fellow members to turn on their mics when speaking: his was off as he said this.

The next session was slated for December 22, at 6:30, with approval of resolutions formalizing the above actions expected.

If you value the news coverage provided by redbankgreen, please become a financial supporter for as little as $1 per month. Click here to set your own level of monthly or annual contribution.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
CRASH ON LEIGHTON
The driver of this car was headed north on Leighton Avenue when they it hit an SUV pulling a work trailer headed in south in the opposing la ...
CAR VS STREET SIGN
The driver of this Mercedes hopped the curb and toppled the street sign at the corner of South Pearl and Drs. James Parker Boulevard Wednesd ...
SKETCHES OF RED BANK BY LOCAL ARTIST MICHAEL WHITE
Sketches of Red Bank scenes have been floating around on social media and we thought they deserved some spotlight. First appearing in our fe ...
POLE DOWN
Utility pole falls on English Plaza shop Forge after being struck by SUV shortly before noon. No injuries reported, though 86-year-old drive ...
YO, ADRIAN!
It’s a tough turn for our hero as Rocky Balboa is relegated to the curb for trash pickup on Locust Avenue. We’ll have to go back ...
“EL PALOMO” IS IN THE HOUSE
Jesus Rios, a mariachi singer who performs under the stage name “El Palomo” (The dove) pauses for a moment before entering a bac ...
CROC SPOTTED IN RIVER
Frighteningly hideous and green, a solitary Croc lurked ominously amid the flotsam and foam in the Navesink River alongside the Red Bank Fir ...
KISS ICON REFLECTS ON BROADWALK
A Swarovski crystal-bedazzled self-portrait painting of Paul Stanley, longtime singer and guitarist for the rock band Kiss peers out from a ...
CHISELIN’ AWAY
Marcelo Garcia Lopez works with hammer and chisel on a new feature for his flower garden on Shrewsbury Avenue: a hollow in a carved log in w ...
STORM CLEANUP CONTINUES
  Saturday’s storm sent a tree toppling on this house on Bank Street, damaging the roof. Workers Wednesday could be seen removing ...
SNAPPING IN THE BREEZE
RED BANK: Blustery winds had the flags in Riverside Gardens Park snapping Monday evening.
POWER LINE DOWN
Red Bank firefighters were on scene at Manor Drive dealing with a live power line Monday afternoon. There was no immediate report of fire. T ...
TAR BEACH SOLSTICE
Aldo Quiroz of Ocean Township came ready with his beach chair and found a shady spot to spend his lunch hour in a parking lot off Broad Stre ...
GOING GREY
Workers painting the stone facade of the PNC Bank at the corner of Broad and Harding Thursday morning. An upgrade? Maybe it’s just pri ...
COFFEE & WILDLIFE
RED BANK: The best wildlife show in town can be taken in from a waterfront bench outside the public library, and it's totally free.
FAWNING OVER HER BABY
A mother deer and her fawn were spotted between a row of garages on Hudson Avenue and some trees alongside the Broad Street parking lots. Re ...
EVENING ESCAPE
RED BANK: Sailors in Monmouth Boat Club's weekly racing series found tranquil conditions on the Navesink River Tuesday evening.
PEAK COLOR ON BROAD
RED BANK: A year after they were installed, downtown mini gardens have added to "transformational" improvements, says business owner.
RED BANK: FAIRIES MOVE IN ON WHITE STREET
Red Bank: Girl scouts turns tiny parking lot plot of dirt into a "magical girls sparkle garden."
TRAINING UNDER FIRE
RED BANK: Volunteer firefighters train to cut into pitched roofs under active fire conditions.