RED BANK: ZIPPRICH DERIDES ‘SMEAR’ WAR

Councilman Ed Zipprich, right, with then-Councilman Erik Yngstrom at a workshop session in March, 2020. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic

Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich has been “exonerated” after a two-year “smear campaign” meant to “dehumanize” him, he said in a statement to redbankgreen Thursday.

Zipprich’s statement came in response to special attorney’s finding that he did not “interfere” in the award of a trash collection contract two years ago.

Read More »

RED BANK: ZIPPRICH CONDUCT ‘NOT UNLAWFUL’

Councilman Ed Zipprich, right, with Councilman Michael Ballard in February. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic

Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich did not “interfere” in the award of a trash collection contract two years ago, according to an unreleased report obtained by redbankgreen.

Special attorney Scott Salmon’s report also says “there is evidence to suggest” that former business administrator Ziad Shehady was the the anonymous source of internal emails about Zipprich that were leaked to redbankgreen.

Read More »

RED BANK: BALLARD AND PORTMAN TO FACE OFF

 

The two contenders for mayor in Red Bank’s June 7 Democratic primary have agreed to a virtual debate.

Read More »

RED BANK: BROADWALK PANEL FORMED

red bank what's going on hereNavigating sidewalks on Broad Street in downtown Red Bank is a bit of a challenge these days.

What’s the latest on the streetscape project that’s been underway since November in the streets northernmost blocks? Read on.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

RED BANK: CONTRACT, ADMIN JOB ON AGENDA

More than three years after it was closed by a catastrophic leak, the borough Senior Center is about to get repairs. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicRed Bank’s council is scheduled to award a contract to repair the Senior Center, and to discuss a possible new search for a borough administrator, when it holds back-to-back workshop and regular meetings Wednesday night.

Here are some highlights from the agendas:

Read More »

RED BANK: COUNCIL SPARS OVER BROADWALK

Curb replacement work underway as part of the Broad Street streetscape project last week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAn ongoing split among Red Bank council Democrats played out as a power struggle Wednesday night over who will steer the reopening of the seasonal Broadwalk dining and shopping plaza.

Read More »

RED BANK: GOP TRIO TO TRY AGAIN

jonathan maciel penneyRepublican Chairman Jonathan Maciel Penney, seen here in 2019, will run for council in the June primary. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Republican Brian Irwin, who dropped out of a council race two years ago, will seek his party’s endorsement as mayoral candidate in the June primary.

In addition, GOP Chairman Jonathan Maciel Penney will make his fourth attempt in four years for a council seat, joined for the second year in a row by Christine Stout.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

RED BANK: MENNA WON’T SEEK RE-ELECTION

Mayor Pasquale Menna, left, with Councilman Michael Ballard on February 11. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic

After 16 years in office, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna won’t seek  a fifth term, redbankgreen has learned.

Menna’s decision, and the absence of other contenders, clears a path for Councilman Michael Ballard to secure the Democratic party nomination without resistance by the incumbent in the June primary election.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

RED BANK: EX-AGENCY MEMBER FIRES BACK

wilson beebe 072319Wilson Beebe at a Redevelopment Agency session in July, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 See correction below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWith the Red Bank Redevelopment Agency on the chopping block, one of its former members fired a parting shot at elected officials Thursday.

Contrary to claims, the town got its money’s worth, Wilson Beebe wrote in an “open letter to the Red Bank council and residents.” And “the responsibility for the manner in which the Senior Center project was handled rests solely” on the borough council, he said.

Read More »

RED BANK: CENTER FIXES OK’D, RE-ARGUED

Angela Mirandi, in second pane from left in the top row, attended her first session as a council member. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See CORRECTION below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThree years after a fire suppression system leak forced a shutdown of Red Bank’s Senior Center, the borough council approved nearly $2 million in financing for repairs Wednesday.

As in the past, members clashed over the reasons for the time elapsed and cost. Added to the acrimony was a new element: blame for failure to identify money recently found sitting idle in old accounts and now earmarked for repairs.

Unmentioned during the virtual meeting was a lawsuit, announced hours earlier, that seeks to remove Angela Mirandi, who attended for the first time as a council member.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

RED BANK: ‘BOAT RAMP’ TO FUND CENTER FIX

A municipal boat ramp on the Navesink River was once envisioned for the north end of Maple Avenue, now a nature area called Maple Cove. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank officials boasted earlier this month that they’d “cobbled together” about $1 million from idle accounts to soften the impact on taxpayers of repairing the long-shuttered Senior Center.

It turns out a big chunk of that sum has been stuck in the borough’s sofa cushions for 30 years, designated for a never-built boat ramp, redbankgreen has learned.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

RED BANK: MIRANDI ZOOMS INTO OFFICE

Angela Mirandi, center, prior to her swearing-in. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bankers were finally able to put a face to the name as Angela Mirandi completed her swift transformation from commenter to council member Friday evening.

The corporate accountant, whose voice became familiar to other attendees of Zoom-hosted council meetings during the pandemic, was sworn to office in a brief ceremony outside borough hall, less than 48 hours after a divided council selected her to fill a vacancy.

Read More »