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Point Beach Mayor Sworn In, Then Criticized for Planning Board Choice

Two new council members also sworn in on New Year's Day

Point Beach Mayor Vincent Barrella was sworn into a second, four-year term, shortly before he came under fire for his Planning Board appointment.

were also sworn in at the council's reorganization meeting at 1 p.m. on New Year's Day  (Mayer's prepared statement is included as an attached PDF.)

Later in the meeting, Councilman Tim Lurie objected to Barrella not reappointing William Ammirata to the planning board.

"What happened to Bill?" Lurie asked, looking down the dais at Barrella. "Why wasn't he reappointed? He's been on the board for 15 years and he's done a great job."

"No, I'm not reappointing Bill," Barrella said. "I talked to him yesterday. I just want to give other people a chance who want to get involved."

"I talked to him yesterday too," Lurie said. "He was very disappointed, just to let you know.

"OK, councilman, it's my appointment," Barrella said.

Later, Barrella added that in the mayor-borough council form of government, most appointments to the planning board are made by the mayor without needing council approval.

The exceptions are "Class III planning board members" who are council members chosen to also serve on the planning board. On Sunday, the council unanimously picked Councilman Michael Corbally to serve as a class III member and to also serve as council president.

Barrella picked Tom Davis, an alternate board member, Tom Migut, an alternate board member and official in the Ocean County Republican Committee, and Glen Paesano, a Recreation Board member, as planning board members.

Davis has been serving as a first alternate board member and will now be a regular member for a four-year term.

Migut, who was second alternate, was appointed as first alternate and Paesano, a newcomer to the board, will serve as second alternate for a two-year term.

After the meeting, Lurie said Ammirata has a vast knowledge of the town's history.

"It's a great loss to lose him in that position," Lurie said. "And the mayor isn't explaining why he's replacing him."

Ammirata, reached by phone on Sunday afternoon, said he has been planning board chairman for the past 14 of the 15 years he has been on it, and has been re-appointed by the last four mayors, including Barrella.

He said Barrella told him on Sunday that he wanted to give others a chance to serve on the board.

"And he told me he wanted me to enjoy a rest," Ammirata said. "But I didn't ask for a rest, and I didn't want it. I told him I was disappointed."

When asked about his other local volunteer work, he said he has served on the recreation committee for the last 16 years, on the Open Space Committee, on the Ocean County Republican Committee for the past 15 years, on Project Graduation and former Municipal Alliance committee and has coached cheerleading and wrestling for many years.

He retired as a financial analyst from GM in 2005, works at Gold's Gym part-time and has lived in Point Beach full-time for about 40 years after years of summering there.

Barrella said in a telephone interview on Sunday night that he wanted to give someone else a chance to serve on the planning board and the number of planning board members is limited by state statute, so he could not appoint all current members in addition to appointing someone new.

He noted that he re-appointed Ammirata to the Recreation Committee because there is no cap on the number of members.

Barrella said there is still an open, four-year planning board seat that he expects to fill at the next council meeting, which is on Jan. 24.

He said he did not fill it on Sunday because Thomas Neumaier, the current planning board vice chairman, is still deciding whether he wants the position.

"I hope he wants it, but if he doesn't, someone else will be appointed," Barrella said.

In other business, Sean Gertner, of the firm of Gertner, Mandel and Peslak, with offices in Jackson and Wall, was appointed. He had served in that position in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

Lurie cast the lone no vote against him, after asking Barrella a number of questions about how the process was handled, who had been interviewed and whether all borough professionals had been consulted.

Barrella said any interested attorneys had the opportunity to submit bids to the town and he emailed all council members so they had a chance to ask those attorneys questions.

Thomas Gannon had been in that position during the past year and will still do some work for Point Beach, including negotiating with

Regarding the Point Beach fire department, Joseph Michigan was sworn in as fire chief; Frank Finn was sworn in as assistant chief and John Pasola was sworn in as deputy fire chief. The agenda also said AJ Fox would be sworn in as deputy fire chief, but he was not at the meeting.

Council also voted unanimously to reappoint Raymond Savacool of T&M Associates as borough engineer, Rogut and McCarthy as bond counsel and Warren Korecky as borough auditor.

Council did not appoint a municipal prosecutor, a position now held by Steven Zabarsky of the law firm of Citta, Holzapfel and Zabarsky.

Barrella said Point Beach officials would talk to Zabarsky about improving service to Point Beach and then decide if the firm should be re-appointed. Barrella said Mayer asked him to talk to Zabarsky before making a decision.

Council members each earn a $4,500 annual salary and the mayor earns a $6,500 annual salary.

Regarding prepared remarks read aloud by Barrella, see attached PDF.

KingNeptune January 02, 2012 at 02:25 AM
First council meeting of the year and the circus is already beginning.
urallcorrupt January 02, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Mr Commonsense- Get used to it as long as this bum is still mayor.He takes an innocent man that has been serving the community and donating his time over the past 15 years off of the planning board so he can appoint his campaign comittee puppets to the board. Meanwhile he doesn't even know if someone else wants Ammirata's position. Good for Tim to call out the mayor on his political games.
Beach_N8iv January 02, 2012 at 03:59 AM
If Mr. Lurie feels so strongly about these things maybe HE should run for mayor. He could run as a Republican or a Democrat depending on which way the wind is blowing.
Third Reich January 02, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Shameful !!! Since Bill Ammirata was the campaign treasurer for Steve Reid and the Republican Club he becomes a political casualty on the planning board that he served for 15 years. The way Barrella handled this was a disgrace, calling the guy two days before the appointment while he is on vacation with his family. He didn't even give Bill the recognition he deserved for serving for so many years....
E.Nagle Moylesworth III January 02, 2012 at 03:05 PM
The mayor has the authority to do what he did. The fact that you would not have done the same or would have done it differently, doesn't matter. To make a stink at the reorganization council meeting is grandstanding at the earliest opportunity. I believe in changing faces regularily, especially the politician/bureaucrat faces. I guess I see the mayors point.
Beach_N8iv January 02, 2012 at 03:28 PM
E, may I call you E? You're 100% correct! A quick look at Toms River (county appointees) or Trenton will confirm your opinion. If these committee members were intended to hold their positions for life WHY do they come up for renewal? There are many qualified people in this little town of ours who deserve a chance to serve on these panels.
Beach_N8iv January 02, 2012 at 07:58 PM
I would say that the "circus" began at the ballot box but since the opinion of the voters in this town have been ignored regarding a certain Councilman Select I guess the voice of the voters doesn't really matter in Point Pleasant Beach. Remember, too, it's NOT the votes that count . . . . . . it's who counts the votes.
Beach_N8iv January 02, 2012 at 08:01 PM
The voters have spoken.
Charles Clarke January 03, 2012 at 03:09 PM
How could Bret Gordon sit back and not say a word as his good neighbor gets thrown under the bus by the mayor ? Come on Bret have a backbone or are you just going to "yes" everything the mayor does.
Spooner January 03, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Dave Cavagnaro: is this the Mayor you told us. . . has changed. . . I could buy their argument of bringing new people on the Planning Board; not discounting Mr Ammirata's long experience and Chairmanship, if it wasn't for the fact that Bill Ammirata is a Republican Precinct Captain...part of the what you like to call the Hennessy Republican organization( the same Republican club that didn't support his recall election) . . .and according to recent ELEC filings, Mr Ammirata was Treasurer for the Reid campaign as was noted here. . .whose contributors were the who's-who of the Republican machine. . .that same machine that gets you in the door in Trenton. . .So instead of making amends and moving on. . . he pours more fuel on the fire... ...sad to say. . .your Mayor hasn't changed?
Mike Corbally January 04, 2012 at 11:09 AM
If I understand you correctly, if people donate a lot of money to the opposing poltical party you should reward them with your appointments? Thats not the way it works usually but maybe you can start a new trend. Try it in the Boro and tell ne how its going?

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