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.