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: 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: GOP BAILS AND VISCOMI JUMPS IN

Sue Viscomi has mounted a candidacy as an independent, making it a three-way race for two council seats. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank voters will have three candidates to choose from for two council seats in November.

For the second year in a row, none of them will be Republicans.

And for the second time in three years, Sue Viscomi is running as an independent.

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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: YASSIN FACES BACK-RENT LAWSUIT

Hazim Yassin at his first meeting as a council member in January, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

UPDATE: September 9, 2021: See Yassin’s response to this article below.

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank Councilman Hazim Yassin hasn’t paid the rent on his apartment in 18 months and owes more than $29,000, his landlord alleges in a lawsuit.

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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: 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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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: NO LOCAL TAX INCREASE IN BUDGET

A screengrab from Wednesday’s virtual meeting, which was chaired by  Councilman Hazim Yassin, top right. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxes

Red Bank property owners will see no increase in the local tax rate under the budget introduced by the borough council Wednesday night.

The governing body also finalized a plan for a charter study referendum that several commenters referred to as “historic;” eliminated the job of animal control officer to make way for the Monmouth SPCA; and tabled the hiring of a new executive director of the Redevelopment Agency.

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RED BANK: WOMEN IN LEAD AS DEMS SPLIT

Kate Triggiano at her January, 2019 swearing-in with husband, David, son, Otto, and former Assemblyman John Wisniewski. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The two women on competing tickets moved closer to claiming wins in the Red Bank Democratic primary election for council Wednesday.

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RED BANK: ONE PRIMARY CONTESTED, ONE NOT

By JOHN T. WARD

Four Red Bank Democrats square off Tuesday in a rare primary election for two spots on the November ballot for borough council.

Meantime, the borough’s Republicans have two “placeholder” candidates on the primary ballot.

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RED BANK: BROADWALK DRIVING RECOVERY

Broadwalk bars vehicular traffic to enable restaurant expansions into Broad Street between Front and White Streets. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWith the second season of Red Bank’s Broadwalk about to begin in earnest – weather permitting – downtown merchants say the pedestrian dining and shopping concept is doing what it’s intended to do: improving their receipts.

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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 INITIATES REBUILD

The Senior Center occupies a stand-alone building on Shrewsbury Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council moved to jumpstart repairs to water-damaged Senior Center Wednesday night, one day after a recommendation by the Redevelopment Agency that it do so.

But even enroute to a unanimous vote, the measure churned up bitterness among the all-Democratic governing body.

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RED BANK: SENIOR CENTER FIX-UP ADVANCES

The backyard of the mothballed Senior Center overlooking the upper Navesink River. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA proposal to repair Red Bank’s mothballed Senior Center without adding any new facilities won a Redevelopment Agency endorsement Tuesday evening.

The action could defuse one of the hottest issues in a contested Democratic race for two council seats just six weeks before a primary vote.

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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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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 »

RED BANK: DEMS CALL FOR CHARTER STUDY

Kathy Horgan with fellow Democrats and council members Ed Zipprich, center, and Michael Ballard in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Again taking aim at their own party’s chairman, four Red Bank council members and Mayor Pasquale Menna have called for a charter study to review the borough’s form of government – and possibly, change the electoral process.

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RED BANK: DEMS SWAP IN NEW CANDIDATE

By JOHN T. WARD

Trying to unseat its own incumbents in a primary contest, the Red Bank Democratic party has replaced one of two candidates for borough council seats, the organization announced Monday.

And according to local party Chairman and Councilman Ed Zipprich, the names of all four will be listed in the same column on the June 8 ballot, giving them all perceived equal footing.

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