Councilmen Michael Ballard, left, and Ed Zipprich at borough hall last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.) 


On deck to testify at a special session of the Red Bank Charter Study Commission Thursday is Democratic party chairman and Councilman Ed Zipprich.

Also slated to sit for an interview is Councilman Michael Ballard, a Zipprich ally on the fiercely divided but all-Democratic governing body.

As reported by redbankgreen last week, Zipprich’s specter loomed throughout the commission’s most recent meeting, as Mayor Pasquale Menna joined a parade of witnesses who have identified “interference” by elected officials as one of the borough government’s foremost problems.

Following what he termed “the complete self-destruction” of the local Republican party, Menna said the borough now has “one party running everything, and you have a chairman who runs that party.”

Additionally, Councilwoman Kate Triggiano, who has battled Zipprich and Ballard over issues related to the Senior Center and budget, decried what she called her own party’s “paranoia” and fear of new people and ideas.

She and Menna endorsed nonpartisan elections, in which any resident who collects enough signatures can get on a ballot, bypassing the major-party endorsement process.

But like earlier commission witnesses, they refrained from naming names of those they consider guilty of fostering “dysfunction,” though they have decisively split with Zipprich, a fifth-term councilman who has led the party for several years.

The five-member citizen commission, created after overwhelming voter endorsement in November, is studying past and existing conditions in municipal operations with the aim of recommending changes that could include a new charter, or form of government.

Along with that could come nonpartisan elections.

Any such changes would have to be approved by voters in another referendum this November.

The interviews are voluntary, and often center on questions about whether local-government dysfunction is a result of the borough’s form of government or the individuals elected to run it.

Democrats have been in the council majority for all but one year since 1989, and  every seat on the seven-member governing body has been held by a Democrat since 2019.

Here’s the agenda. The meeting is scheduled to be conducted via Zoom and phone (929 205-6099, with Zoom ID 859 6173 8604).

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