RED BANK: NONPARTISAN ELECTIONS ADVANCE

Ben Forest outside Sickles Market last September. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njLamenting the “unpleasantness” of Red Bank politics in recent years, Charter Study Commission member Ben Forest made a tearful plea for nonpartisan elections Wednesday.

The commission’s other four members informally agreed. They also began sorting through alternatives to the borough form of government in use since the town was carved out of then-sprawling Shrewsbury Township in 1908.

Read More »

RED BANK: STURDIVANT DROPS MAYORAL BID

Councilwoman Jacqueline Sturdivant at the council’s May 25 meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Less than a week after it began, Jacqueline Sturdivant‘s controversial bid for Red Bank mayor ended Monday.

The first-term council member and Democrat dropped her bid after a challenge by the Monmouth County Democratic organization said it identified 29 ineligible signatories to her petition to run in the November election – as an independent.

Read More »

RED BANK: COUNTY DEMS IMPEDE STURDIVANT

Councilmen Ed Zipprich, left, and Michael Ballard at last year’s September 11 memorial service. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Monmouth County Democratic organization challenged the legitimacy of Councilwoman Jacqueline Sturdivant‘s bid for Red Bank mayor Monday, redbankgreen has learned.

The move, announced in a blistering press release, bares yet another rift between the county and municipal arms of the party that has dominated Red Bank politics for three decades.

Read More »

RED BANK: PORTMAN MOCKS BALLARD CLAIMS

Billy Portman at home on John Street Sunday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Why did Red Bank mayoral candidate Michael Ballard sign a petition for a candidate who would oppose him if he won last week’s Democratic primary?

To counter “secret deal-making” engineered by opponent Billy Portman, Ballard told redbankgreen Friday night.

In response, Portman mocked the allegation as “business as usual” from a “dying machine.”

Read More »

RED BANK: STURDIVANT TO RUN FOR MAYOR

Councilwoman Jacqueline Sturdivant attending her first in-person meeting of the governing body May 25, seated beside interim Business Administrator Darren McConnell. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Hours before Billy Portman pulled off the biggest political upset in memory in the Red Bank Democratic primary Tuesday, another candidate slipped into the race for mayor.

Though elected to the council last November as a Democrat, and an avowed member of defeated mayoral candidate Michael Ballard‘s Democratic “team,” Councilwoman Jacqueline Sturdivant filed to run in the general election as an independent, she confirmed Wednesday.

Read More »

RED BANK: TURNOUT LIGHT FOR FORUM

A screengrab of Wednesday’s meeting, held via Zoom. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

An online public forum held Wednesday night by Red Bank’s  Charter Study Commission was brief, as only two residents chimed in.

But more have weighed in by email, according several commission members. And one consistent theme is that residents don’t want an appointed mayor, they said.

Read More »

RED BANK: SIX WEIGH IN ON CHARTER REVIEW

By JOHN T. WARD

A half-dozen residents weighed in Tuesday night on Red Bank’s form of government and how people get elected to it.

Among the commenters at a Zoom session of the Charter Study Commission were several who like the idea that council members can make things happen at the department level.

Read More »

RED BANK: TAYLOR GRILLS ZIPPRICH, BALLARD

Mark Taylor, center, grilled two sitting councilmen, including Michael Ballard, bottom right. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Aggressive questioning of two current council members by a former councilman marked a special session of the Red Bank Charter Study Commission Thursday night.

Appearing as the final witnesses for phase one of the commission’s review, both Ed Zipprich and Michael Ballard defended the borough form of government in place since 1908, and recent changes to shift power away from the town’s unelected administrator.

Read More »

RED BANK: ZIPPRICH, BALLARD ON AGENDA

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

By JOHN T. WARD

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.

Read More »

RED BANK: DEMS AIR PARTY’S DIRTY LAUNDRY

Mayor Pasquale Menna, top left, and Councilwoman Kate Triggiano, center bottom, participated in commission interviews via Zoom Wednesday. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Mayor Pasquale Menna on Wednesday joined a growing parade of current and former Red Bank officials who have identified “interference” by council members as one of the borough government’s foremost problems.

In stunning testimony before the Charter Study Commission, Menna also was one of three Democrats who laid blame for local government “dysfunction” squarely on their own party.

Read More »

RED BANK: ADMINISTRATOR IN SPOTLIGHTS

Interim Business Administrator Darren McConnell, second row right, at the answered questions from Charter Study Commission members Wednesday night. (Zoom screengrab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe executive authority given Red Bank’s appointed administrator may shift back to elected officials next week.

But will voters shift it back in November?

Read More »

RED BANK: SHEHADY ON COMMISSION AGENDA

Ziad Shehady at borough hall in February, 2020. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See CORRECTION below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njEight months after he ended a stormy stint as Red Bank’s top unelected official, Ziad Shehady is scheduled to offer his perspective on how well the town’s government works Wednesday night.

Read More »

RED BANK: CEO NEEDED, ADVISER SAYS

Joe Hartnett, right, with Ken DeRoberts at a Red Bank council meeting in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic

Whatever new form of government it might adopt, Red Bank needs a strong chief executive officer, a consultant who co-authored a critical review of borough operations said last week.

Read More »

RED BANK: COMMISSION PREPARES TO DIG IN

Attorney Michael Collins, left, on the dais with Chairwoman Nancy Facey Blackwood. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic

After two preparatory sessions, the Red Bank Charter Study Commission expects to begin digging into its task on January 13.

In the interim, the five-member citizen’s body has a “homework” assignment.

Read More »

RED BANK: GOVERNMENT REVIEW LAUNCHED

Sworn 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 topicA 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.

Read More »

RED BANK: COMMISSION SETS FIRST MEETING

Commission members, from left: Mike DuPont, Nancy Facey-Blackwood, Ben Forest, Kate Okeson and Mark Taylor. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Authorized by borough voters earlier this month, the Red Bank Charter Study Commission has scheduled its first meeting.

Read More »

RED BANK: ELECTION RESULTS FINAL

It’s official: Democrats Jacqueline Sturdivant, left, and Kate Triggiano are the winners of this year’s race for seats on the Red Bank council.

The five winners in the race for charter study commission were also unchanged from the preliminary results posted on election night, November 2.

Read More »

RED BANK: CHARTER STUDY SET INTO MOTION

Clockwise from top left: Mike DuPont, Nancy Facey-Blackwood, Ben Forest, Mark Taylor and Kate Okeson. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

CLARIFICATION: This article reported results as of 11 p.m. on election day, and the outcome may change as mail-in ballots are counted.

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank voters went with four of five slate candidates in the borough’s historic election for charter study commission Tuesday.

But first, they said “yes,” overwhelmingly, on whether the study should take place.

Read More »

RED BANK: COUNCIL CANDIDATE Q&As

Red Bank voters will have three candidates from whom to elect two members of the borough council for three-year terms that begin January 1.

See what they had to say about the issues and their qualifications to tackle them in these Q&As with redbankgreen:

Kate Triggiano
Jacqueline Sturdivant
Sue Viscomi

Be sure to also check out our Q&As with all 11 candidates for the Red Bank Charter Study Commission here, and the extensive voter resource guide below.

Read More »

RED BANK: CHARTER STUDY CANDIDATE Q&As

Eleven Red Bank residents are running for five seats in this year’s election for charter study commission.

See what they had to say about the issues – and their qualifications to tackle them – in these Q&As with redbankgreen:

Scott Broschart
Mike DuPont
Nancy Facey-Blackwood
Ben Forest
Jesse Garrison
John Gosden
Aimee Humphreys
John Jackson
Kate Okeson
Mark Taylor
Tom Wieczerzak

In addition, check out the voter resource guide below, with information on the public question that would authorize formation of the commission.

Read More »