See UPDATE below
By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank’s governing council is about to get a new member: Angela Mirandi, a corporate-numbers professional who would immediately have a spot on the powerful budget oversight committee.
But Mirandi’s selection Wednesday night followed a dramatic few minutes in which the chairman of the Democratic party declined to endorse one of the other two residents whose names he had forwarded as contenders.
By a 3-to-1 vote, with one abstention, the council approved Mirandi to serve through the end of the year, filling a vacancy created last month when Erik Yngstrom abruptly resigned, citing a “toxic” political atmosphere.
Mirandi, of West Lake Road, has been a familiar voice on council meeting Zoom sessions since mid-2020, according to council minutes. She often asks probing questions about financial issues.
Mirandi was not, however, Mayor Pasquale Menna‘s first choice, when he was presented with three names – Mirandi; Stephen Hecht and John Jackson – by Councilman Ed Zipprich, the longtime chairman of the local Democratic party.
State law calls for the party of departing seatholder to give the mayor three choices, with the full council making the final decision, said borough Attorney Greg Cannon.
Menna proposed Hecht, a Branch Avenue resident, whose election was moved by Councilwoman Kathy Horgan. But when Menna called for a second, extended silence followed.
“I would assume that the Democratic chair, who put this name up for nomination, would second,” said Council President Kate Triggiano.
“More silence,” noted Menna, before Councilman Michael Ballard began to nominate Mirandi.
Horgan interjected: “Excuse me, but I don’t understand,” she said. “The municipal chair gave three names to the mayor, and he’s not supporting his nominations?”
Zipprich responded that he had “proffered three excellent candidates,” but had not been involved in their selection, which he said was done by a “search and vetting committee” led by former mayor and his predecessor as party chair Ed McKenna.
Zipprich added later that he had formed the committee “so that nobody could say that I am controlling who or what is being instituted in this replacement.
“In all fairness, I removed myself from the process,” Zipprich said.
“I’m very disappointed,” Horgan said twice.
Councilwoman Jacqueline Sturdivant seconded the Mirandi nomination. On the roll call, Zipprich, Ballard and Sturdivant voted yes; Horgan voted no; Triggiano abstained because, she said, “I really don’t have a say in who is nominated, and we all know that.”
“Congratulations, Councilwoman Angela Mirandi,” said Menna. adding that she could be sworn into office as early as Thursday.
Mirandi did not speak during the meeting, and did not immediately respond to a redbankgreen email inviting comment.
UPDATE: “I wish to thank the Mayor and Council for appointing me to this seat,” Mirandi wrote in an email Thursday morning. “I’m proud and honored to be selected and pledge to work as a team with all the other members of council to do all we must to preserve, protect and enhance the quality of life for everyone in Red Bank.”
Horgan and Triggiano said they had not received the résumés of any of the three proposed replacements.
“Is there a reason for that?” Horgan asked Zipprich. “We’re Democrats, too,” she said.
Zipprich, apparently reading from a résumé, said Mirandi is an accountant with Buckeye Terminals, a fuel-management company, and manages a $20 million capital budget, among other responsibilities.
“I think she is an outstanding candidate, and will be a tremendous asset to the borough of Red Bank, and an exquisite representative of the people of Red Bank,” Zipprich said.
Ballard, a former finance committee chairman, said Mirandi’s “strong financial background is what this borough needs.”
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