By PETE WALTON
David G. Brown II is leaving his post as borough administrator in Bradley Beach to take a similar job in Ocean Township.
Brown, a Long Branch resident who also serves as chairman of the Monmouth County Democrats, began working in Bradley Beach less than 15 months ago after the coronavirus panic began.
Mayor Larry Fox announced Brown’s pending departure when the Bradley Beach Borough Council met earlier this week.
“I’m certainly ambivalent about this,” Fox said. “David has done a remarkable job in just over a year with us.”
Fox said the 51-year-old Brown would be on the job in Bradley Beach through mid-June.
“We’re actively recruiting a replacement,” the mayor said.
The borough has placed an advertisement in this week’s edition of The Coaster seeking candidates who can perform “high-level administrative, technical and professional work in directing and supervising the administration of borough government.”
A bachelor’s degree is required from an accredited four-year college or university with a degree in public administration, political science, business management or a “closely related field, and five years experience as a municipal manager.”
Resumes and letters of interest should be e-mailed to Brown at the borough office by June 10.
In Ocean, Brown will replace Michael Muscillo, whose father, Anthony J. Muscillo, served as interim borough administrator of Bradley Beach for eight months in 2016 and 2017.
Though this week’s meeting lasted four and a half hours, votes were taken on just a handful of routine items.
The main subject of contention was a plan to make changes in parking spaces and traffic flow on Second and Third avenues just east of Main Street.
The introduction of an ordinance to implement the parking plan was unanimously tabled after an hour’s worth of comments by members of the public, most of whom spoke in opposition to the proposal.
Though he was its main proponent, Fox made the motion to table the introduction. During a discussion on the motion, the first public signs of tension became evident between the council and Fox, who took office less than six months ago.
Council President Al Gubitosi, who lost to Fox in the November mayoral election, said there was a push to take action on the parking proposal despite the reservation of council members to do so before thorough consideration.
“I need to say something because I’m going to explode if I don’t,” Gubitosi said. “It’s really important that the public understands the process that our council goes through whenever any ordinance is being introduced.”
“We are not allowed [by state law] to deliberate unless we are in public,” Gubitosi explained. “We don’t get together in a room and discuss this in advance. We do have one on one conversations. I clearly stated that I was not in support of this particular ordinance. It was pushed pretty aggressively because of good intentions, I think, those being to get something in place. But it was so incomplete.”
The council president detailed his objections to the plan, many echoing the concerns of the public on safety issues.
“I was a little frustrated throughout this conversation, and I wanted to interrupt many times because I knew for a fact that this ordinance needs a lot of work,” Gubitosi said. “I wanted to say to everybody don’t worry, this is not something that at least I am planning to support and in one on one conversations, I was made aware that other council members were not likely to support this.”
“The mayor still wanted to push this forward in the interests of expediency, and I think this was a colossal waste of many people’s time this evening,” Gubitosi said before voting yes to table the introduction.
“I will vote yes to table this as well,” said Councilman John Weber. “We could have tabled this in the beginning of the meeting and saved a lot of time. It was great to hear from all these residents but I though this was going to happen, so I’m happy that we’re tabling it.”
Fox said he consulted extensively with residents of Second and Third avenues and included many of their recommendations in the proposed ordinance.
Third Avenue resident Thomas J. Coan, who also owns a nearby commercial property, praised the mayor for being willing to take on the parking issue.
“What I admire with Mayor Fox is that he’s setting up a parking management plan,” Coan said. “Mr. Engelstad never did that,” referring to former mayor Gary Engelstad, who endorsed Fox after deciding not to run for another term.
The council also heard from Newark Avenue residents who said they were surprised to find painted lines delineating parking spaces on several blocks of their street recently.
In response to a number of complaints about blocked and obstructed driveways, borough officials decided to stripe the parking spaces to see if the situation would improve.
Another ordinance scheduled for introduction at the meeting was put off. Only Fox voted not to table an ordinance to update solid waste and recycling collection regulations after numerous questions were raised by members of the council and the public.
The marathon meeting included an hour’s worth of discussion on signs and another 45 minutes on the tabled waste disposal ordinance. The lengthy proceedings finally got to one council member in particular.
“It’s 10 minutes to 11,” said Councilman Tim Sexsmith. “At 11 o’clock I’m going offline. We’ve been doing this long enough. It’s time to stick a pin in this. I understand that people have strong emotions about parking. We understand what those emotions are. We’re not going to learn anything further in the next 10 minutes.”
The meeting, which began at 6:30, ended three minutes before 11.