RED BANK: NONPARTISAN ELECTIONS ADVANCE

Ben Forest outside Sickles Market last September. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njLamenting the “unpleasantness” of Red Bank politics in recent years, Charter Study Commission member Ben Forest made a tearful plea for nonpartisan elections Wednesday.

The commission’s other four members informally agreed. They also began sorting through alternatives to the borough form of government in use since the town was carved out of then-sprawling Shrewsbury Township in 1908.

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RED BANK: BALLARD TOUTS ‘TEAM’ GOALS

Michael Ballard at Sickles Market in Red Bank in May. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Unlike his opponent in the June 7 Red Bank Democratic primary, Michael Ballard says he’s in it for the long haul.

“I am running to be the mayor of Red Bank for the next four years,” Ballard told redbankgreen last month. And with his “team,” he vows to return the governing body “to a pre-2018 council that was not at each others throats.”

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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: TURNOUT LIGHT FOR FORUM

A screengrab of Wednesday’s meeting, held via Zoom. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

An online public forum held Wednesday night by Red Bank’s  Charter Study Commission was brief, as only two residents chimed in.

But more have weighed in by email, according several commission members. And one consistent theme is that residents don’t want an appointed mayor, they said.

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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: HORGAN BAILS; NEWCOMER RUNS

Councilwoman Kathy Horgan greets Mayor Pasquale Menna at the Mayor’s Ball in 2016. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Yet another Red Bank Democratic official is heading for the exit while decrying “divisiveness” stoked by party leadership.

Councilwoman Kathy Horgan told redbankgreen Tuesday that, “with a heavy heart,” she’s not seeking a sixth three-year term.

Meanwhile, a political newcomer has stepped forward hoping to succeed Pasquale Menna as mayor.

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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: SIX WEIGH IN ON CHARTER REVIEW

By JOHN T. WARD

A half-dozen residents weighed in Tuesday night on Red Bank’s form of government and how people get elected to it.

Among the commenters at a Zoom session of the Charter Study Commission were several who like the idea that council members can make things happen at the department level.

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RED BANK: TAYLOR GRILLS ZIPPRICH, BALLARD

Mark Taylor, center, grilled two sitting councilmen, including Michael Ballard, bottom right. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Aggressive questioning of two current council members by a former councilman marked a special session of the Red Bank Charter Study Commission Thursday night.

Appearing as the final witnesses for phase one of the commission’s review, both Ed Zipprich and Michael Ballard defended the borough form of government in place since 1908, and recent changes to shift power away from the town’s unelected administrator.

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RED BANK: ZIPPRICH, BALLARD ON AGENDA

Councilmen Michael Ballard, left, and Ed Zipprich at borough hall last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.) 

By JOHN T. WARD

On deck to testify at a special session of the Red Bank Charter Study Commission Thursday is Democratic party chairman and Councilman Ed Zipprich.

Also slated to sit for an interview is Councilman Michael Ballard, a Zipprich ally on the fiercely divided but all-Democratic governing body.

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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: ADMINISTRATOR IN SPOTLIGHTS

Interim Business Administrator Darren McConnell, second row right, at the answered questions from Charter Study Commission members Wednesday night. (Zoom screengrab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe executive authority given Red Bank’s appointed administrator may shift back to elected officials next week.

But will voters shift it back in November?

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