RED BANK: ADMINISTRATOR SEARCH ON PAUSE

Chief Darren McConnell at National Night Out in August. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicOne of two Red Bank council members who last week called the search for a new borough administrator “stalled” said he learned only this weekend that his colleagues had halted the search weeks earlier.

Meanwhile, two others on the all-Democratic council, as well as Mayor Pasquale Menna, said they’re happy with the job police Chief Darren McConnell is doing as interim administrator, and feel no pressure to replace him.

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RED BANK: TWO CALL EXEC SEARCH “STALLED”

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

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicWith a second vacancy in a key position looming, Red Bank’s search for a borough administrator has stalled without explanation, say two council members.

And the current, interim holder of the position, police Chief Darren McConnell, tells redbankgreen” that there has been no recent movement” toward a replacement.

Mayor Pasquale Menna, however, disagrees, and says the local government is operating “in stellar fashion” under McConnell.

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RED BANK: TOP TWO JOBS OPEN AS CFO QUITS

Peter O’Reilly, left, with Mayor Pasquale Menna, right, and since-departed Business Administrator Ziad Shehady in May, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicAfter just two and a half years, Red Bank is back in the market for a borough chief financial officer.

With the departure of Peter O’Reilly, who submitted a letter of resignation Tuesday, the top two jobs at town hall are now vacant.

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RED BANK: TREES BOOST TAB FOR ROADWORK

The work to preserve trees on Hudson Avenue included bumping out curbs and extending driveway aprons. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Mid-project changes to preserve trees helped boost the tab for road work in Red Bank by more than $227,000 to this summer, officials said.

And the added expenses came in one penny below the threshold at which the entire $1.14 million project would have had to be re-bid.

RED BANK: SURPLUS KEEPS TAX RATE LEVEL

A new trash contract and landfill fees increased waste removal costs by $318,000 this year, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxes

Facing large increases in debt financing and trash costs, Red Bank officials dodged a tax rate increase thanks in part to a surplus from 2020, they said Tuesday night.

At a 45-minute information session by the borough finance committee, held via Zoom, Councilman Hazim Yassin called the outcome “phenomenal.”

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ON THE GREEN: TAX DUE DATES EXTENDED

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesRed Bank and Fair Haven property owners who pay their taxes directly, rather than through an escrow account, can hold off on pulling out their checkbooks for a few more weeks.

Bills have yet to be sent out for taxes normally due August 1.

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RED BANK: CENTER PLANS TO COST $96K

Costs associated with planned repairs to the shuttered Senior Center delayed adoption of the borough budget. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesConstruction plans for repairs to Red Bank’s water-damaged and long-closed Senior Center will cost $96,000, borough officials said Wednesday.

Accommodating that expense into the municipal budget will require a budget amendment and special meeting of the council. But they won’t slow the repair efforts, said acting Business Administrator Darren McConnell.

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RED BANK: ANIMAL JOB ENDANGERED

Henry Perez with a ferret owner during a census of cats and dogs in 2008. (Photo by Colleen Curry. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njHenry Perez thinks maybe he’s dropped the ball, given that his bosses – the Red Bank mayor and council – appear determined to eliminate his job.

“I totally blame myself, because my residents know more about what I do than my superiors,” the borough’s animal control officer told the the council during its monthly workshop meeting Wednesday.

Still, over the pleas of residents, the governing body showed no sign of halting a plan to sign a six-month contract with the Monmouth County SPCA.

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RED BANK: $200+ SNOW PARKING TICKETS?

red bank nj snow parkingMessage board at Johnny Jazz Park on Shrewsbury Avenue reminds residents to get cars off the street during a snowfall in February, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Business Administrator Ziad Shehady suggested raising the penalty for snow parking violations to as much as $300 Wednesday.

But Councilwoman Kate Triggiano vowed the fine would never be raised “into that stratosphere.”

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RED BANK: SNOW PARKING COMPLIANCE CITED

Red Bank snowplows working around a car parked on Garfield Place Sunday afternoon. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The second snowstorm of February generated half as many parking tickets as the first, Red Bank police said Monday.

 

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RED BANK: WITHIN THE STORM, A TICKET BLITZ

Cars and trucks parked on Bridge Avenue early Tuesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank police issued a near-record number of parking violations during the snowstorm that began Sunday, redbankgreen has learned.

 

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RED BANK: DISPUTE GOES TO MEDIATION

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicA messy dispute between Red Bank neighbors is headed to mediation.

At issue is a citizen’s complaint by Bank Street homeowner Lycet Ramos, whose doorbell security video caught two-time council candidate Allison Gregory and her husband, Mark Gregory, dumping trash in her driveway last month.

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RED BANK: NEIGHBORS’ DISPUTE GETS MESSY

Mark and Allison Gregory dumping trash in Lycet Ramos’ driveway on October 4. (Lycet Ramos video. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A dispute between Red Bank neighbors has gotten messy.

Two-time council candidate Allison Gregory and her husband, Mark Gregory, are facing harassment and other allegations filed by their next-door neighbor after the couple dumped trash in her driveway earlier this month – and were caught in the act on video.

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RED BANK: CHANGES EYED AT BASIE FIELDS

Under the proposal, most of Henry Street would be eliminated and a new playground built alongside Mohawk Pond. (CME Associates graphic. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A street that effectively serves as shortcut past the main entrance to Count Basie Fields would be closed to traffic under a concept plan discussed by the Red Bank council Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: DWI CHARGED AFTER CRASH

red bank policeA Long Branch man faces a drunk-driving charge after crashing into a parked vehicle in Red Bank shortly before dawn Sunday.

Separately, a police pursuit of a vehicle believed stolen in Rumson was terminated early Monday morning, according to Chief Darren McConnell.

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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: BIG NIGHT OUT AT BASIE FIELDS

red bank national night 2019red bank national night 2019A MONOC helicopter paid a visit, hundreds of burgers were served and police Chief Darren McConnell got dunked repeatedly as Red Bank police hosted their annual National Night Out Against Crime community barbecue Tuesday night.

For the first time since its inception, the event was held at Count Basie Fields rather than the borough hall parking lot. The change of venue brought in dozens of games and safety demonstrations, created a carnival atmosphere and prompted many to comment that the location was ideal.

“This is our crown jewel,” Councilman Michael Ballard told redbankgreen. “Why wouldn’t we have it here?”

Officials credited Patrolwoman Dawn Shields for organizing the event, an effort that included wrangling up donations of food and sponsors. 

Check out redbankgreen’s photos below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: CHIEF ADDRESSES USE OF FORCE

red bank nj policeRed Bank’s police chief hasn’t seen a single case of unwarranted force during an arrest in five years, he tells redbankgreen. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s police chief says he reviews every report of force used by members of his department during arrests, and hasn’t found any in the past five years that appear improper.

Chief Darren McConnell’s observation followed the release by NJ Advance Media last week of data on every arrest in which police used force in New Jersey over four years.

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RED BANK: MAN HOSPITALIZED AFTER ASSAULT

By JOHN T. WARD

An Eatontown man required surgery following an alleged assault on West Front Street in Red Bank early Thursday, police said.

A suspect was taken into custody after police located him more about an hour later, Chief Darren McConnell told redbankgreen.

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