RED BANK: DEMS GLIDE INTO NEW YEAR

red bank, nj, pasquale menna, wayne hartman, scott calabrese, bob holidayMayor Pasquale Menna prepares to swear in new fire Chief Wayne Hartman, center, and deputies Scott Calabrese and Bobby Holiday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s government turned the calendar page to 2019 with a friction-free reorganization meeting Tuesday that kicked off the fourth term of Mayor Pasquale Menna and gave Democrats unfettered control of borough hall.

Here are some highlights:

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RED BANK: DEMOCRATS REASSERT CONTROL

yvonne-erik-yngstrom-010116Erik Yngstrom embraces his mother, Yvonne Yngstrom, after giving his oath as councilman. Below, Kathy Horgan began her fourth term on the council and was elected its president. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

kathy-horgan-010117Red Bank’s first Republican majority in a generation ended after just a year Sunday, when Democrats regained control of the borough council.

With the addition of political newcomer Erik Yngstrom to the governing body, the Democrats now share 3-3 parity with the GOP on the council. But with the support of three-term Mayor Pasquale Menna as the tiebreaker to any potential deadlock, the Democrats wasted no time in doling out key jobs to partisans.

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RED BANK: MENNA SEEKS PDQ CHARTER REPORT

menna burry 010216Mayor Pasquale Menna with Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry after Saturday’s borough government reorganization. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna hopes to assemble a “blue-ribbon panel” in coming days to quickly assess what he called “one of the biggest elephants in the room:” the Red Bank Charter School’s controversial expansion plan and its impact on taxpayers.

Menna announced the initiative at Saturday’s borough government reorganization, telling a packed room he hoped the seven-member committee would “articulate the issues, the consequences, and the financial impact” of such an expansion for taxpayers.

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RED BANK: GOP SHAKES UP TOWN HALL

mike whelan 010216 2Mike Whelan, 24, at his swearing in as Red Bank councilman. Below, Whelan running mate Mark Taylor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Correction: The original version of this story misreported the name of the borough prosecutor who was replaced Saturday.]

By JOHN T. WARD

mark taylor 010216 1The first Republican majority in a generation showed up at Red Bank borough hall Saturday with a broom.

Ousted were:

• Borough engineer Christine Ballard, of T&M Associates of Middletown, replaced by Bill White of borough-based Maser Consulting.

• Borough Attorney Dan O’Hern, the son of a former mayor, who was replaced by Jean Cipriani, a lawyer with a Toms River firm headed by the chairman of the Ocean County GOP.

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RED BANK: SCHWABENBAUER TAKES OFFICE

schwabenbauer 010415Councilman Mike DuPont snaps a photo as Linda Schwabenbauer, joined by her father, Abe Schwabenbauer, awaits her swearing-in as a council member. Pasquale Menna, below, began his third four-year term as mayor. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

pasquale menna 010415 2One year after Cindy Burnham ended a four-year lock by Democrats, Linda Schwabenbauer became the second Republican on the on the Red Bank council Sunday.

In keeping with recent tradition, however, partisanship was set aside as the annual reorganization of the borough government was marked by pledges of togetherness.

Invoking the way in which college hockey players came to shed their school identities to form the United States Olympic team in 1980, Schwabenbauer said that every member of the six-member council “has a party affiliation or cause, but each of us plays for Red Bank.”

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RED BANK: TRUSTEES PAN BOROUGH BUDGET

barbara withers 032714Barbara Withers, a resident of the Atrium at Navesink senior complex, implores the board to preserve a book-delivery service for its residents. Below, board president John Grandits, left, with Mayor Pasquale Menna outside the library meeting room. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

grandits menna 032714A plan by the Menna administration to rewrite the proposed Red Bank Public Library budget and undo the recent layoff of half its staff got a cold reception from the library trustees Thursday night.

One or two of the suggested changes, such as leaving the soon-to-be-vacated job of the library director unfunded, appear to be “illegal,” trustee Brigid McCarthy told a packed meeting of library supporters.

Still, Mayor Pasquale Menna, displaying obvious frustration with what he called “drama” surrounding the borough’s recommendations, said the standoff can and will be quickly resolved, even if he has to take unilateral action.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY LAYOFFS MAY BE REVERSED

rbpl sale 2 020213The fate of jobs for three full-time librarians is still up in the air. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank officials said they are working toward a budget fix that might undo the layoff of half the staff at the borough library two weeks ago.

At Wednesday night’s borough council meeting, administrator Stanley Sickels said he and borough CFO Eugenia Poulos had developed an alternative to the library’s budget that might “maintain the full-time staff.”

Now, attention turns to the eight-member library board of trustees, which gathers Thursday night in what may be its best-attended meeting in history.

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RED BANK: BOARD DEFENDS LIBRARY LAYOFFS

rbpl board 022714 1The library board of the trustees at a meeting in February. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Responding to “misinformation” and “half-truths… stretched beyond their limits” surrounding layoffs of half the staff at the Red Bank Public Library last week, the library’s board of trustees is pushing back.

In a question-and-answer document prepared by six of eight board members and obtained by redbankgreen, the trustees say that personnel costs accounted for 95 percent of the library budget before the layoffs, which affected six of the 11 staff members.

The layoffs were part of a library “reorganization” that “eliminates our deficit, allows us to right-size the Library for the budget, and sustains the Library for the future,” the trustees say in the Q&A. “The solution implemented [at a board meeting following the layoffs] on March 13 was just one step in a much larger process that began in 2013 when it became clear that even with stringent cuts in expenditures last year, the Library was living beyond its means.”

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RED BANK: BURNHAM, NEW CFO TAKE OFFICE

burnham 2 010114Cindy Burnham recites the oath of office as Red Bank council member as her daughters Emily, Samantha and Kate look on. Below, Tommy Welsh was greeted by Councilman Mike DuPont after being sworn as fire chief for the second time. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

tommy welsh 010114Cindy Burnham officially ended the four-year lock by Democrat’s on the town’s governing body when she was sworn in as councilwoman Wednesday.

Burnham, 58, becomes the first non-Democrat to serve on the governing body since the departure of Grace Cangemi and interim Councilman Jim Giannell at the end of 2008.

The event attracted some GOP power hitters to borough, but the atmosphere at the borough government reorganization was collegial.

“My hope is that we can all work together to tackle the problems that are plaguing the people of Red Bank,” Burnham said in brief remarks after being sworn in by state Senator and former councilmember Jen Beck.

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RUMSON HAILS NEW UNIFORMED LEADERS

Mayor John Ekdahl, center, calls the annual reorganization meeting to order at Bingham Hall. Below, Ekdahl swears in Scott Paterson as police chief while Paterson’s wife, Stephanie, and children look on. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The start of the new year signaled changes in command of Rumson’s emergency services Tuesday.

Scott Paterson, a 19-year veteran of the police department, was sworn in as police chief, succeeding Rick Tobias. And Jymm Fenn moved up the ladder at the fire department for a one-year term as fire chief.

The calendar change also saw the departure of the borough’s longtime recreation department head, John Hird.

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FAIR HAVEN: WILHELM IN, HOWELL HANGS IN

fh-reorgThe Fair Haven council held its reorganization meeting Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Among the participants when the Fair Haven council held its annual reorganization meeting Saturday afternoon were two people who didn’t really plan on being there a couple months ago.m-howell

On the dais was Rowland Wilhelm, who somewhat unexpectedly found himself on the election ballot in November following the death of Councilman John Lehnert.

And borough Administrator Mary Howell, right, was at her usual seat in front of the dais, taking notes and answering questions from the audience, even though she gave notice in September that her last day on the job was to be December 31.

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