Point Boro GOP Tanks Democratic Picks
GOP votes against many professional appointments at reorganization meeting
Following New Jersey political tradition, the Point Borough Republican Council members tanked most of the Democratic nominations for professional appointments at Monday's reorganization meeting.
So no one was surprised that the four Republican members voted down most of the key appointments nominated by Democratic Mayor William Schroeder and supported by the two remaining Democratic council members at Monday's meeting at Borough Hall.
It's a longtime New Jersey tradition that when a new political party comes into power, they clean house to bring in their own professionals and both parties in the Borough have maintained tradition as consistently as officials in any other town.
All professionals who were already retained by the Borough remain in place for at least 30 days, when council members can nominate new names, according to state law, said Borough Administrator David Maffei. That likely means there will be no official move to replace the current professionals until the council's Feb. 7 meeting.
Republican council members John Wisniewski, who was sworn in on Monday, Antoinette DePaola, Mitch Remig and Robert Sabosik voted against re-appointing the law firm of Starkey, Kelly, Bauer, Kenneally and Cunningham as municipal attorney. Scott Kenneally has been serving as attorney at council meetings and handling most town business.
The Starkey firm submitted a proposal for reappointment. The town also received Requests for Proposals (RFPs) from the law firm of Dasti, Murphy, McGuckin, Ulaky, Cherkos and Connors, Lacey; Bathgate, Wegener and Wolf, Lakewood; and Montenegro, Thomson, Montenegro, Brick.
Jerry Dasti of the Dasti, Murphy firm had been municipal attorney for many years. Brian McAlindin, of the Bathgate firm, had been a Republican Borough Councilman and then borough bond counsel.
After the meeting, Sabosik and Remig said they were further delving into the RFPs to decide who to select. The amounts outlined in the RFPs were not immediately available, although Maffei said they could be viewed at Borough Hall. Sabosik said the fees were close and competitive.
The GOP also voted against the following nominations:
- Fallon and Larsen, municipal auditors;
- Valter H. Must, municipal prosecutor;
- Lomurro, Davidson, Eastman and Munoz, bond counsel;
- Salvatore Martino, conflict municipal attorney;
- Michele Shebell, conflict public defender;
- John Ducey, conflict prosecutor.
DePaola was elected by her fellow council members as council president. Councilman Chris Goss cast the lone no vote against the appointment.
Freeholder Joseph Vicari swore her into office as her family stood around her.
Goss and Councilman Chris Leitner, who was also sworn in on Monday, voted against Councilman Robert Sabosik serving as a Class III planning board member. Sabosik abstained.
Appointments that got unanimous nods included: Mallon and Tranger as public defenders; Jeffrey R. Surenian as special counsel for affordable housing; Maryann O'Rourke as deputy municipal clerk; school traffic guards and a part-time dog census taker.
Schroeder made some of his appointments that were not subject to council approval, according to state law. Those included appointing John J. McHugh Jr. to the planning board.
McHugh made positive comments about all of his council colleagues before exiting the dais on Monday. He had decided not to run for re-election because the time required for council obligations had been interfering with his real estate business.
McHugh is also serving this year as a director on the board of the Point Pleasant Chamber of Commerce.
Council members each earn an annual salary of $3,200 and the mayor earns an annual salary of $4,200.
After the reorganization meeting, the fire department recognized Sabosik at the fire house on Beaver Dam Road for donating part of his annual 2011 salary to the department.
Sabosik said he had donated $1,000 to the fire department, $1,000 to the first aid squad, $500 to the Point Borough High School Band Boosters and the balance of $700 went to taxes.
"I'm trying to drum up support for people to donate to the fire department, first aid and Boosters," he said.
Leitner has said in the past that he has not accepted his council salary.
Borough Fire Chief Daniel Mulligan, two deputy fire chiefs and members of the volunteer fire department were also sworn in.
The next council meeting is Jan. 17.