RED BANK: MIRANDI CHALLENGE DROPPED

Councilman Ed Zipprich attaches a borough pin to the jacket of Angela Mirandi after her swearing-in ceremony February 11. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicA legal challenge to Angela Mirandi‘s appointment to the Red Bank council earlier this year has been dropped, redbankgreen has learned.

But while the lawsuit filed by Councilwoman Kathy Horgan and Democratic party secretary Kate Okeson failed to dislodge Mirandi, it shone a harsh light into the workings of the local party under Councilman Ed Zipprich, whose leadership faces an historic challenge next month.

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RED BANK: ZIPPRICH DEMANDS TOWN’S COSTS

Ed Zipprich, center, with council colleagues Kathy Horgan and Erik Yngstrom in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank councilman and Democratic party chairman Ed Zipprich issued a “demand” Tuesday that two party members who sued for the removal of Angela Mirandi from the council reimburse the borough for its legal expenses.

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RED BANK: MIRANDI RETAINS COUNCIL SEAT

Angela Mirandi at her swearing-in ceremony February 11. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicAngela Mirandi retained her seat on the Red Bank council after a judge rejected a motion calling for her temporary removal Tuesday.

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RED BANK: MIRANDI DECISION AWAITED

Attorney Dan O’Hern, seen at right with Mayor Pasquale Menna in 2014, represents the borough in the lawsuit. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicA Superior Court judge deferred an immediate decision Friday morning on whether to temporarily remove Angela Mirandi from the Red Bank council, as demanded by a pending lawsuit.

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RED BANK: MIRANDI KEEPS SEAT, FOR NOW

Angela Mirandi, in black mask, as she was sworn to office by Congressman Frank Pallone outside borough hall February 11. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicA Monmouth County court denied a request Monday that Angela Mirandi be temporarily removed from her seat as an appointed member of the Red Bank council.

Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman instead ruled that Mirandi can continue in the post at least until April 8.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL PICKS O’HERN

Attorney Dan O’Hern with Councilwoman Kathy Horgan at the Mayor’s Ball in 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicReduced by conflicts of interest to half-power, the Red Bank council hired attorney Dan O’Hern Jr. to defend the borough against a lawsuit Friday afternoon.

The selection was formalized at a special council session called in advance of a Monday morning hearing at which a Superior Court judge could oust one council member at the behest of another.

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RED BANK: WHO’S THE ‘BOROUGH’ IN LAWSUIT?

A view of a closed-door Red Bank council executive session in 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicWith one Red Bank council member suing two others and the municipal government itself, who gets to be the “borough” in attorney-client discussions?

It’s complicated.

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RED BANK: MIRANDI DECISION POSTPONED

Angela Mirandi at her February 11 swearing-in ceremony. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicA Monmouth County judge postponed a decision Wednesday on whether Angela Mirandi can retain her seat as an appointed member of the Red Bank council.

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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.

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RED BANK: SIDES CLASH OVER COUNCIL SEAT

Angela Mirandi at her February 11 swearing-in ceremony, with Mayor Pasquale Menna, center, and Councilman Ed Zipprich at right. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank’s establishment Democrats have “admitted” in a court filing that last month’s appointment of Angela Mirandi to the borough council was tainted, challengers contended Tuesday.

Two party dissidents said in their own court filing that the purported admission bolsters their argument that Mirandi should be swiftly removed from the governing body.

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RED BANK: PARTY DEFENDS APPOINTMENT

Councilwoman Angela Mirandi at her February 11 swearing-in ceremony. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank’s establishment Democrats contend that their own failure to meet a deadline means the appointment of Angela Mirandi to the council should stand.

The unexpected argument was made in a letter filed in Superior Court Monday in a response to a lawsuit filed last week by Councilwoman Kathy Horgan and Charter Study Commission member Kate Okeson.

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RED BANK: DEMS SUE DEMS TO OUST MIRANDI

Councilman and Democratic party Chairman Ed Zipprich attaches a borough pin to Angela Mirandi’s lapel after her February 11 swearing-in. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicThe civil war among Red Bank Democrats shifted to the courts Wednesday, as two local party committee members announced they sued to have newly-sworn council member Angela Mirandi removed from office.

The Superior Court lawsuit against party Chairman Ed Zipprich and others alleges he illegally froze out committee members Kathy Horgan and Kate Okeson in filling a council vacancy earlier this month.

News of the lawsuit broke just hours before Mirandi was expected to attend her first council session as a member.

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RED BANK: MIRANDI ZOOMS INTO OFFICE

Angela Mirandi, center, prior to her swearing-in. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bankers were finally able to put a face to the name as Angela Mirandi completed her swift transformation from commenter to council member Friday evening.

The corporate accountant, whose voice became familiar to other attendees of Zoom-hosted council meetings during the pandemic, was sworn to office in a brief ceremony outside borough hall, less than 48 hours after a divided council selected her to fill a vacancy.

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RED BANK: MIRANDI VOTED TO COUNCIL SEAT

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed 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.

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RED BANK: YNGSTROM QUITS, CITING TOXICITY

Erik Yngstrom celebrates his first election to council in 2016. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njCiting political “divisiveness” and “toxic rhetoric” about his recent marriage, Erik Yngstrom resigned from the Red Bank council Wednesday morning.

His departure from the all-Democratic governing body sets the table for a possible power shift back to party regulars headed by Councilman Ed Zipprich, an outcome Yngstrom said would only make things worse.

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RED BANK: STURDIVANT TEES UP REDEV, ADMIN

Councilwoman Jacqueline Sturdivant, framed in green, at Wednesday’s meeting. (Photo from Zoom. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njNewly elected Red Bank Councilwoman Jacqueline Sturdivant this week followed through on a campaign pledge by proposing the borough Redevelopment Agency be disbanded.

She also proposed resetting the power of the borough business administrator, a role she called “authoritarian.”

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RED BANK: EARLY SPLIT AT REORGANIZATION

Jacqueline Sturdivant arrives for her swearing-in, with fellow council members Ed Zipprich at left and Erik Yngstrom at right. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAmid calls for comity, three Red Bank council members tried but failed to derail the appointment of a fourth to a ceremonial post Saturday.

The New Year also began with a resident accusing a council member of “lying” about his place of residence.

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RED BANK: “YOU BROKE IT, YOU FIX IT”

A Montana Construction crew working on Broad Street earlier this month. (redbankgreen photo. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njProperty owners in downtown Red Bank pushed back Wednesday night on the notion that they should pay thousands of dollars each to replace their water service lines.

Addressing the borough council on their behalf, Red Bank RiverCenter Executive Director Glenn Carter invoked the adage, “you broke it, you fix it.”

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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: WHERE IS THE EMAIL LEAK PROBE?

Councilman Ed Zipprich during a council meeting via Zoom in May. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic

More than eight months after the Red Bank council hired a lawyer to advise it on how to deal with an explosive email leak…

Crickets.

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RED BANK: CHARTER REVIEW VOTE SLATED

Authorization of the charter study, and all five seats on it, would be on the November ballot if the council follows through on Wednesday’s informal vote. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[Updated to include borough attorney memo on charter review timeline.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s council informally agreed Wednesday night to have voters decide whether the borough’s form of government should be reviewed for possible overhaul.

The unanimous action by the council, all Democrats, could eventually lead to nonpartisan elections, watering down the party’s long dominance of municipal government.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL TO HIRE SEARCH FIRM

Borough hall remains closed due to the pandemic, so the council will meet again via Zoom. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council will officially start the search for a new borough administrator when it meets this week.

Not on the agenda: a measure to authorize a charter study to review the form of government in place here since 1908.

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RED BANK: EMAIL LEAK OPINION EXPECTED

Councilman Ed Zipprich in 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic

Eight months after a leak of explosive emails, the Red Bank council is expected to finally get some guidance on how to proceed later this month.

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