Neptune has been without an active mayor for two months and township officials said that this will remain the case until the annual reorganization meeting on Jan.1.
Mayor Mary Beth Jahn has been absent from meetings since July 27 due to medical reasons. In Neptune the mayor is elected from among the five members of the Township Committee. Jahn was selected by the committee members on Jan. 1. Her term is up Dec. 31.
In the meantime, Deputy Mayor Kevin McMillan has taken the helm.
“We have all been mayors before so we know the process. We do not have a strong mayor form of government so we work by consensus and move the township forward based on what is good for it,” he said.
Neptune Township Clerk Richard J. Cuttrell said that the governing body could remove her through a resolution, but not remove her from the Township Committee since she was duly elected.
He added that there are no plans to take any action about Jahn’s mayoral post until the Jan. 1 reorganizational meeting.
Jahn said she has been facing pancreatic issues and that she does not expect to return to the governing body soon.
“But I don’t know- I can’t see into the future,” she said.
Jahn did not receive the endorsement of the local Democratic Party to run in this year’s Nov. 3 general election. The party endorsed incumbent Michael Brantley and former candidate Nick Williams.
Residents Dianna Harris, president of the Midtown Urban Renaissance Corporation (MURC); and Kevin Sheehan, a former Republican candidate, have formed a coalition ticket seeking the two, four-year terms up for grabs on the township’s governing body.
Harris and Sheehan will run as independents in the election under the “Coalition for Change in Neptune” ticket but their ticket has the support of the local GOP party.
The Township Committee is currently all Democratic and has been so since Republican Thomas J. Catley left in 2008.
Jahn said her failure to be re-nominated is typical politics, as usual.
“It’s the old my hand, washes your hand. I think its sexist, ridiculous, and women should not support it,” she said.
She said women should not support the Democratic ticket because of it lack of support for women.
“Women in particular should be offended,” she said.
Neptune Democratic Party Chairman James Mowczan said that the party’s decision not to re-nominate Jahn was based on a committee consensus and not on anything personal.
“It is always a committee decision and incumbents are not guaranteed a nomination,” he said.
Jahn said she has known Harris for years and will support her. As far as Sheehan she said she really doesn’t know that much about him.
“People should vote for who they feel is best,” she said.