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: TREES BOOST TAB FOR ROADWORK

The work to preserve trees on Hudson Avenue included bumping out curbs and extending driveway aprons. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Mid-project changes to preserve trees helped boost the tab for road work in Red Bank by more than $227,000 to this summer, officials said.

And the added expenses came in one penny below the threshold at which the entire $1.14 million project would have had to be re-bid.

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: BALLARD TOUTS NEW FEE LAW

Part of a recent building boom, 170 Monmouth Street is being converted from offices to residences, as seen in June. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesRed Bank Councilman Michael Ballard says a newly enacted ordinance will help address the impact of “explosive development” on borough infrastructure and taxes.

But only if it doesn’t get thrown out by a judge, says Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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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: ROUNTREE OK’D OVER OBJECTIONS

Cherron Rountree, bottom left, during the Redevelopment Agency’s June 22 meeting Tuesday. (Zoom screengrab. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s council hired a new executive director for the borough redevelopment agency Wednesday night over objections based on her inclusion in a sexual harassment lawsuit.

The dispute highlighted competing interpretations of who should get the benefit of doubt in a so-called “me-too” case.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL TO HOSE FIREWORKS

“If you can hear it, and you can see it over the trees in your backyard, it’s not permitted,” said Fire Marshal Tommy Welsh. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njDays after a booming Fourth of July weekend, Red Bank officials said they’re ready to enforce a ban on unauthorized fireworks.

At their monthly workshop session Wednesday night, Mayor Pasquale Menna and council members outlined a proposed ordinance aimed at boosting enforcement of state law.

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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: 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: LONG APART, SENIORS MEET ANEW

Dottie Ferris, at right, greeting friends at the event Thursday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Apart for months, Red Bank seniors enjoyed a pandemic-era get-together outside the temporary home of the borough Senior Center Thursday.

“It’s so nice to see everyone and talk, even if you don’t know everyone,” said 92-year-old Dottie Ferris, a resident of the Wesleyan Arms senior apartments on Wall Street, as she sat at a table outdoors. At home, “all I do is watch TV and eat,” she said.

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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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RED BANK: COUNCIL MAY REOPEN VNA PLAN

176 riverside red bank saxumThe former Visiting Nurse Association site on Riverside Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank officials may soon revisit development approvals for the former Visiting Nurse Association property on Riverside Avenue, following a process kicked off 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 »

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: GOP ‘PLACEHOLDERS’ ON BALLOT

jonathan maciel penney 102419Jonathan Maciel Penney speaking as a candidate at the West Side Community Group forum in 2019. (Photo by Ben Forest. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Republicans announced two “placeholder” candidates for borough council in the November election Monday.

Party Chairman Jonathan Maciel Penney said he had filed campaign papers for himself and Christine Stout.

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RED BANK: CENTER BACKERS RALLY AGAIN

Marian Quinn of Manor Drive speaking at the rally. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njInvoking “demolition by neglect” and the prospect of “apartments” on the site, several dozen Red Bankers rallied Saturday to demand that the mothballed borough Senior Center be repaired.

They also momentarily drowned out the grandson of the center’s founder when he took issue with one of the handmade signs posted on the building.

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RED BANK: VISCOMI REBUTS RACISM CHARGE

Sue Viscomi at a school board meeting in March, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThree Red Bank council members were silent Wednesday in the face of accusations that one of them had smeared a resident by accusing her of using “racist” language last month.

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RED BANK: BALLARD SEEKS PROTOCOL FIX

Councilman Michael Ballard said his proposal would encourage exchanges between officials and residents that clarify information. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank council meeting attendees would regain their ability to ask follow-up questions of officials under proposed changes slated for discussion Wednesday evening.

The revisions to the council’s often derided question-and-comment protocol were announced by Councilman Michael Ballard on Facebook Tuesday afternoon.

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