RED BANK: COUNCIL PROMOTES SIX COPS

Errico Vescio, right, who was promoted to captain, with former Captain Mike Clay in 2014. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Six Red Bank police officers are set to step up in rank next week, following promotions approved by the borough council last week.

By custom, the changes would have been an occasion for family and friends to pack the council chamber for swearing-in ceremonies. But with borough hall shut down to visitors, and the council meeting remotely via the Internet, that event could not be held, said Chief Darren McConnell.

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RED BANK: DEMS CLASH OVER BUDGET, PROBE

A screengrab of the council’s session Wednesday night. (Zoom screengrab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicRifts among Democrats were on almost nonstop display during a three-hour meeting of the Red Bank council Wednesday night.

While Councilman Ed Zipprich pressed for a probe into an email leak he said had smeared his reputation, at least two of his colleagues were more concerned about his intervention in the bidding for a new trash hauling contract.

But first, the all-Democratic body split over proposed budget cuts pushed by Councilman Michael Ballard that others saw as unwise.

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RED BANK: BUDGET Q&A SLATED AFTER ALL

red bank, nj, ed zipprich, michael ballard, ziad shehadyCouncilman Michael Ballard, center, with Councilman Ed Zipprich, left, and Business Administrator Ziad Shehady in December, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Almost two months later than promised, Red Bank residents will get a detailed explanation next week of a borough budget that would increase property taxes by 2.8 percent.

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RED BANK: TAX INCREASE AT 2.8 PERCENT

A screengrab from Wednesday’s virtual meeting, with Councilman Michael Ballard at top center and Business Administrator Ziad Shehady at center right. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic

Red Bank property owners would pay 2.8 percent more in municipal taxes this year, under a budget advanced by the borough council Wednesday night.

The still-evolving $22.4 million spending plan was the centerpiece of a nearly three-hour online council meeting that left viewers with a lot to unpack.

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RED BANK: TAX INCREASE ON AGENDA

michael ballard 051320Councilman Michael Ballard during an online meeting in May. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesDelayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Bank’s proposed budget for 2020 would boost the amount to be raised from local property owners by 5.4 percent.

But heading into the final stretch, it’s not clear that the chairman of the finance committee will support the spending plan if it goes to a vote Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: JOBS DEBATE SPLITS COUNCIL

red bank recycling center 051420 Robert Greene, left, and John Caine at the Red Bank recycling center Thursday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicA plan to eliminate two part-time jobs at the recycling center sharply divided Red Bank’s all-Democratic council Wednesday night.

Things got personal. During the governing body’s semimonthly meeting, conducted via Zoom, Councilman Ed Zipprich accused Business Administrator Ziad Shehady of retaliation for an earlier action by the union that represents the affected employees.

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LITTLE SILVER: DALPRA RETIRING FROM RBR

louis del dalpra 2010 Louis ‘Del’ DalPra on the sidelines in 2010. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Regional’s man of many caps, Louis ‘Del’ Dal Pra, is retiring.

This time, unlike his last attempt to leave a decade ago, it’s for real, he said.

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RED BANK: BIAS LAWSUIT SETTLED FOR $175K

memone-kidsMemone Crystian with Red Bank Little Leaguers in 2010. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A lawsuit claiming racism and gender discrimination against a former director of Red Bank’s parks and rec department will be settled for $175,000.

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RED BANK: SCAVONE TO LEAVE RIVERCENTER

scavone menna red bank, nj,Jim Scavone, left, with Mayor Pasquale Menna and Visitors Center director Margaret Mass at the opening of RiverCenter’s offices on Broad Street in October, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Jim Scavone, who led Red Bank RiverCenter for the past six years, is leaving the downtown promotion organization.

He won’t be going far, though: he’s taking a job at Hackensack Meridian Health at Riverview Medical Center, just on the edge of special improvement district he managed.

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RED BANK: EX-CHEF FOUND NEW WAY TO SERVE

red bank jorge torresWith his son, Aydin, looking on, Jorge Torres embraces his wife, Lauren, after being sworn in as a police sergeant. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA former chef became the newest sergeant on the Red Bank police force Wednesday night.

The promotion of Jorge Torres was one of several ceremonies that led the borough council’s semimonthly meeting Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: BOROUGH HIRES NEW CFO

peter oreilly cfo red bank njAlmost five months after his predecessor was hastily dumped, a new chief financial officer for the borough of Red Bank was slated to start work Monday.

Peter O’Reilly, right, who literally wrote the book on municipal finance, steps into the post after five years as Jersey City’s treasurer.

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LITTLE SIVER: RBR TEACHERS BLAST MOORE

RED BANK REGIONAL LOU MOORESuperintendent Lou Moore at Wednesday’s RBR board meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe union representing teachers at Red Bank Regional accused Superintendent Lou Moore Wednesday night of running the three-town high school district with an “authoritarian” approach and a “general lack of integrity.”

The bombshell accusations were made at a board of ed meeting hours after the Red Bank Regional Education Association’s members “overwhelmingly” cast a no-confidence vote against Moore, said math teacher Sunny Lenhard.

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RED BANK: SILENCE BY ALL ON HARASSMENT

ziad shehady, stephen hechtBusiness Administrator Ziad Shehady, left, chatting with borough resident Stephen Hecht last May. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s elected officials closed the books Wednesday night on a harassment complaint filed against borough Business Administrator Ziad Shehady.

But the public may never know the details of the case, or the recommendations that followed an investigation.

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RED BANK: DEMS OUST POULOS AS CFO

eugenia poulous red bank njCFO Eugenia Poulos at a council meeting in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njBorough hall may have been closed for New Year’s Eve, but the Red Bank council had one, last-minute bit of business to take care of Monday.

After a brief closed-door meeting, the governing body voted, 4-1, to fire the chief financial officer, just hours before she would have attained tenure.

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RED BANK: WHAT HR HEAD KNEW IN DISPUTE

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAlmost two months before she filed allegations of harassment by the town’s administrator, Red Bank’s personnel director was told her job was on the line, borough officials claim.

The assertion that human resources manager Eva Biviano had been informed her employment was at risk would appear to contradict statements made by her lawyer, who’s also her brother.

But he says that does not undermine her allegations about “months of abuse” by Business Administrator Ziad Shehady.

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