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.

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RED BANK: ZIPPRICH CONDUCT ‘NOT UNLAWFUL’

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

By JOHN T. WARD

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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.

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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: 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: 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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RED BANK: SHEHADY ON COMMISSION AGENDA

Ziad Shehady at borough hall in February, 2020. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See CORRECTION below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njEight months after he ended a stormy stint as Red Bank’s top unelected official, Ziad Shehady is scheduled to offer his perspective on how well the town’s government works Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: STURDIVANT TEES UP REDEV, ADMIN

Councilwoman Jacqueline Sturdivant, framed in green, at Wednesday’s meeting. (Photo from Zoom. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njNewly elected Red Bank Councilwoman Jacqueline Sturdivant this week followed through on a campaign pledge by proposing the borough Redevelopment Agency be disbanded.

She also proposed resetting the power of the borough business administrator, a role she called “authoritarian.”

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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: WHERE IS THE EMAIL LEAK PROBE?

Councilman Ed Zipprich during a council meeting via Zoom in May. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

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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: SAXUM SEEKS TAX BREAKS

A long-idle gas station at Riverside Avenue and Bridge Avenue will be included in a second review of the designation for the former VNA headquarters, at left above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe would-be developer of a massive apartment complex at Red Bank’s northern tip is now angling for tax relief in order to build the project.

Consultant Ken DeRoberts told the borough  redevelopment agency Tuesday that Saxum Real Estate has submitted a new plan for the former Visiting Nurse Association property that’s driven by a need for a PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes agreement.

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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: SPEED, POT & BUDGET ON AGENDA

The speed limit on the full length of Front Street/River Road through town would be reduced to 25 miles per hour under a Monmouth County proposal. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA ban on fireworks, a new executive director for the redevelopment agency, a reduced speed limit and more crowd a busy agenda when the Red Bank council holds its only regular session of July Wednesday night.

 

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RED BANK: AGENCY APPOINTEE SILENT

Cherron Rountree, bottom left, during the agency’s meeting Tuesday. (Zoom screengrab. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe prospective new manager of the Red Bank Redevelopment Agency appeared onscreen without introduction during its monthly meeting Tuesday evening.

Cherron Rountree, who now serves as township administrator in Holmdel, also did not speak, even as former council member Cindy Burnham said her appointment should be halted by a pending sexual harassment lawsuit in which Rountree is a defendant.

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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: AGENCY CALLS FOR $9.3M YARD

A Google Maps satellite view of the public works yard and adjoining property to the east, roughly outlined in red. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank should move quickly to bond for an overhauled public works facility, according to a recommendation adopted by the Redevelopment Agency Tuesday evening.

Estimated cost, including the acquisition of property adjacent to the Chestnut Street site: $9.3 million.

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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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RED BANK: COUNCIL INITIATES REBUILD

The Senior Center occupies a stand-alone building on Shrewsbury Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council moved to jumpstart repairs to water-damaged Senior Center Wednesday night, one day after a recommendation by the Redevelopment Agency that it do so.

But even enroute to a unanimous vote, the measure churned up bitterness among the all-Democratic governing body.

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RED BANK: SENIOR CENTER FIX-UP ADVANCES

The backyard of the mothballed Senior Center overlooking the upper Navesink River. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA proposal to repair Red Bank’s mothballed Senior Center without adding any new facilities won a Redevelopment Agency endorsement Tuesday evening.

The action could defuse one of the hottest issues in a contested Democratic race for two council seats just six weeks before a primary vote.

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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

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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: 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: SHEHADY RESIGNS TOP BORO JOB

Ziad Shehady in his borough hall office in June, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[This post has been updated since it was first published.]

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAfter only three years on the job, Ziad Shehady is resigning as Red Bank’s top unelected official, he told the borough council behind closed doors Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: GAS SITE MAY GET ‘JET GROUTING’

The sewage pump station at the foot of Cooper’s Bridge was once used as a gas manufacturing plant. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

More than a century after it served as a gas works, a riverfront Red Bank property may get some 20th-century environmental remediation.

Coal tar and other toxic wastes beneath the town’s Bodman Place sewage pumping station overlooking the Navesink are slated to be immobilized by technology known as ‘jet grouting,’ according to borough officials.

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