RED BANK: DEMS TO SHARE ‘COUNTY LINE’

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

By JOHN T. WARD

In the rare Democratic primary race shaping up in Red Bank for June 7, all candidates from two opposing factions will share the coveted “party line,” redbankgreen has learned.

Monmouth County Democratic Chairman David G. Brown II has rejected a demand by borough party Chairman Ed Zipprich that only incumbents from the 18-member committee that runs the party be given the preferred ballot position.

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RED BANK: ‘FED UP’ SLATE AIMS FOR OVERHAUL

Among the slate’s members are, clockwise from top left: Wilson Beebe, Suellen Sims, Kate Triggiano, Nancy Facey-Blackwood, Ben Forest, Kathy Horgan, Boris Kofman and Frank Corrado. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Eighteen “fed up” Democratic party loyalists plan to take on what they call Red Bank’s “exclusionary party machine” in the June primary elections, they said in an announcement early Thursday.

Their goals, they said, are to “bring transparency and end divisiveness” within the organization – and unseat Ed Zipprich as chairman.

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RED BANK: DEMS DUMP MENNA FOR BALLARD

Michael Ballard and Ed Zipprich in 2015; Mayor Pasquale Menna is visible in the background. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Dumping a party stalwart after more than three decades in office, Red Bank’s Democratic regulars nominated Councilman Michael Ballard as their candidate for mayor Wednesday.

The move exposed new depths of a bitter split with 16-year incumbent Mayor Pasquale Menna, who told redbankgreen that party committee members had shown “their true colors” with their decision.

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RED BANK: BALLARD BLASTS SELF-DEALING ALLEGATION, ANNOUNCES MAYORAL RUN

Councilman Michael Ballard at Councilwoman Angela Mirandi’s oath ceremony Friday. (Photo from Zoom. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank Councilman Michael Ballard Tuesday blasted as “fictitious” an allegation that he slipped a raise for his wife, a part-time borough employee, past the rest of the governing body in 2019.

In the same press release, Ballard announced his intention to run for mayor, setting up a back-room clash with fellow Democrat and four-term incumbent Pasquale Menna.

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RED BANK: MASTER PLAN OUTREACH PLEDGED

Monday night’s planning board meeting was lightly attended. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicA New York City planning firm will run a series of public sessions and set up a web portal for comments while overhauling Red Bank’s Master Plan, planning board members said Monday night.

The promised outreach effort put the proposal by BFJ Planning “heads and tails above” four other pitches for the contract, said member David Cassidy.

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RED BANK: MASTER PLAN IN SPOTLIGHT

The borough’s zoning map is among the topics up for Master Plan review. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicThe choice of a consultant to lead the rewriting of Red Bank’s Master Plan is expected to get a spotlight at the planning board meeting scheduled for Monday night.

After a demand by Councilman Michael Ballard for greater transparency, the board is expected to review its selection process.

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RED BANK: COUNTY CHAIR BLASTS ZIPPRICH

A mailer sent by Zipprich-backed newcomer Jacqueline Sturdivant obscured the name of fellow Democrat and incumbent Kate Triggiano. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

Two weeks before election day, a bitter split between Red Bank and Monmouth County Democratic powerbrokers went wide Tuesday.

In a letter immediately made public, the party’s top county official, David G. Brown II, blasted borough party head Ed Zipprich for “clearly not supporting” incumbent Councilwoman Kate Triggiano, who is seeking a second term.

Zipprich, also a council member, responded with accusations of his own against Brown and Triggiano, with whom he has sparred for more than year.

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RED BANK: TOWN HALL OPEN BY APPOINTMENT

After 17 months off-limits to visitors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, offices in Red Bank’s borough hall have reopened on an appointment-only basis Monday, the town announced Monday.

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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: 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: DUCKLINGS FOUND IN OFFICE SPACE

On what may have been his final call, Red Bank animal control officer Henry Perez responded to a report of ducklings found inside a Broad Street office building Tuesday.

The four downy babies were discovered by the unidentified painter at right, with their mother nowhere to be found.

Perez transported to the ducklings to the Monmouth County SPCA, which, under a contract with the borough that goes into effect Friday, is displacing him from his job of 18 years. He’s expected to be reassigned to another position within the public utilities department. (Click to enlarge photos.)

 

 

 

FAIR HAVEN: COUNCIL TO MEET IN-PERSON

A view of the Fair Haven council chamber in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

After 15 months of meeting via technology, the Fair Haven mayor and council plan to enter the post-pandemic era with an in-person meeting Monday night.

On the agenda: honors for three Eagle Scouts; a ban on cannabis businesses; discussion of 5G telecommunications and more.

Here’s the full agenda. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at borough hall, 748 River Road.

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: ANIMAL SERVICE BACK ON AGENDA

Debbie Nagel, the animal control supervisor for Long Branch who serves as backup for Red Bank, with an orphaned raccoon pup rescued from a tree on Brown Place last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njSquirrels in the attic? Bats in the bathroom?

Red Bank residents would have to pay $90 an hour to have wild animals removed from their homes under a plan that returns for discussion Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: CHARTER QUESTION PUT ON TRACK

Mayor Pasquale Menna, upper left, addressing the council during its meeting via Zoom Wednesday night.(Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA push for a possible change in Red Bank’s form of government cleared its first formal hurdle Wednesday night.

The borough council, sharply split on other issues, unanimously agreed to the introduction of an ordinance that would put a two-part public question on the November ballot: whether a commission should be created to review the borough’s 113-year-old form of government, and if so, who should serve on it.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON AGENDA, AND NOT

red bank saxum 176 riverside aveA rendering of Saxum Real Estate’s approved but not-yet-built plan for 176 Riverside Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA controversial plan to job out Red Bank’s in-house animal control service is expected to be tabled Wednesday night.

Here’s what’s on the agenda for the semimonthly meeting of the mayor and council.

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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: BALLARD DECRIES ‘TRAGEDY’

michael ballard 051320Councilman Michael Ballard during a council meeting in May, 2020. (Photo from Zoom. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank Councilman Michael Ballard spoke with anguish Wednesday night about the police killing of a Minnesota man earlier this week.

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RED BANK: DALPRA TO HEAD PARKS & REC

Louis ‘Del’ DalPra at Red Bank Regional in 2009. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njFormer Red Bank Regional High athletic director and coach Louis ‘Del’ DalPra was named director of the borough’s parks and recreation department Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: TOP JOB OPEN AT TIME OF STRIFE

red bank, nj, ken deroberts, pasquale mennaZiad Shehady, left, and Mayor Pasquale Menna listen as consultant Ken DeRoberts, in foreground, addresses the council in January, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe resignation of Red Bank’s business administrator after only three years last week was the result of scheming by political enemies, Mayor Pasquale Menna contends.

Now, a prevailing atmosphere of “dysfunction” will “absolutely” make it harder to fill the town’s top unelected position, he told redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: DEMS’ INFIGHTING ESCALATES

Ed Zipprich, left, with husband J.P. Nicolaides holding a Bible, recites the oath of office in January, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

With nine weeks to go in a rare primary race for Red Bank council, a civil war within the Democratic party intensified this week. Read More »