RED BANK: ADMIN SEARCH TO BE REVIVED

Chief and interim Business Administrator Darren McConnell with Senior Center Director Jackie Reynolds last October. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See Correction below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicRed Bank’s council will try again to find a full-time borough administrator, following an abandoned effort of year ago.

The search will be revived even as the governing body, sharply divided on numerous other issues, appears to agree that police Chief Darren McConnell is doing a faultless job in double duty as interim administrator.

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RED BANK: CLERK BRINGS TINY-TOWN FOCUS

Laura Reinertsen in her office at Red Bank borough hall last week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Having begun her career in a town so small that she sometimes had to fill in as a bus driver, Red Bank’s new borough clerk, Laura Reinertsen knows what it means to wear multiple hats.

It’s an experience that informs her approach to her job, she told redbankgreen last week.

“I kind of veer out of my lane just to keep things moving,” she said.

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RED BANK: SPARKS FLY YET AGAIN

A screen grab from Wednesday’s council meeting. (Photo from Zoom. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s mayor and the so-far only contender for his job squared off Wednesday night at yet another contentious borough council meeting.

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RED BANK: HIRING DELAYED BY SALARY ISSUE

Mayor Pasquale Menna, left, and Councilman Michael Ballard, right, squared off over the proposed clerk’s salary. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s council put off hiring a new borough clerk over salary issues Wednesday night.

During the governing body’s monthly workshop session, Councilman Michael Ballard, a contender to displace Pasquale Menna as mayor, accused Menna of playing “Monday night quarterback” for raising concerns late in the process.

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RED BANK: NEW CLERK ON COUNCIL AGENDA

The council wants Monmouth County to improve pedestrian safety at Broad Street and Pinckney Road. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s council is scheduled to appoint a new borough clerk this week.

Here are some highlights from the agendas as the council holds back-to-back workshop and regular meetings Wednesday night:

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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: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

Interim Business Administrator and police Chief Darren McConnell with Senior Center Director Jackie Reynolds in October. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAt its semimonthly meeting Tuesday night, the Red Bank council is expected to consider a new employment pact with the borough’s acting administrator.

Also on deck: appointing a Master Plan consultant; weighing in on the future of the charter school; and anticipating a looming retirement at borough hall.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

Red Bank’s borough hall as storm clouds rolled in from the west Saturday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAt its semimonthly meeting Wednesday night, the Red Bank council is expected to take up financing the Master Plan, selling a brand-new vehicle, filling a job vacancy and more.

Here’s some of what’s on the agenda:

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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: BALLARD OPPOSES SURPLUS USE

Councilman Michael Ballard in 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesRed Bank Councilman Michael Ballard challenged his fellow Democrats on the governing body Thursday night for using unspent funds from 2020 to keep a lid on taxes.

At a special session of the council, held via Zoom, Ballard alleged the use of $3.5 million in surplus was driven by that objective.

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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: 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.)

 

 

 

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: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

red bank east side lots 040820The East Side parking lots would get a makeover under an engineering contract on the agenda. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council has some weighty spending and hiring matters on its agenda when it meets this week.

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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: 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: 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: ANIMAL CONTROL VOTE SCHEDULED

Henry Perez with opossums orphaned when their mother was hit by a car in 2016. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicHowls of protest are expected Wednesday night when the Red Bank council considers a proposal to scrap its in-house animal control service.

In addition to eliminating the position of animal control officer, held for the past 18 years by Henry Perez, the council would shift the work for the second half of 2021 to the Monmouth County SPCA, a change opponents say would delay responses.

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RED BANK: ANIMAL OPERATION ON THE BLOCK

Animal Control Officer Henry Perez with a bat removed from a Madison Avenue home in 2013. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicIn a move that has animal advocates alarmed, Red Bank is looking at jobbing out its animal control operation.

They say replacing the in-house service with the Monmouth County SPCA would reduce response times and service.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

red bank hackensack merdian chapin 042520An amendment to the parking ordinance would ban parking on the west side of Chapin Avenue, seen at left above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe semimonthly session of the Red Bank council Wednesday night includes a police retirement and some hires, as well as a parking ban.

It also includes approval of a settlement in a type of tax appeal case that enraged commercial landlords two years ago.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

The council meets via Zoom due to pandemic restrictions. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe creation of a commission to examine Red Bank’s century-old government structure is on the table when the council holds its monthly workshop session Wednesday night.

So are renovations to the mothballed Senior Center and the swan song of Business Administrator Ziad Shehady.

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