Neptune City Council Starts Year with a Vacancy

 

Coaster Photo - Pamela Renee is sworn in as a Neptune City Councilwoman by Neptune Municipal Judge Robin Wernik as Monique Ritacco holds the Bible.

Coaster Photo – Pamela Renee is sworn in as a Neptune City Councilwoman by Neptune Municipal Judge Robin Wernik as Monique Ritacco holds the Bible.

By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI

Freeholder Thomas Arnone, former mayor of Neptune City attended the borough’s New Year’s Day reorganization meeting to announce he is working to introduce legislation that prohibits newly elected public officials from resigning their posts without good cause.

The proposed legislation comes in response to the resignation of Councilman-Elect Christopher Gallager who was just elected to the council in November. In a letter to officials Gallagher said he was resigning the post citing unexpected career obligations. The letter in part states, “I cannot properly serve the residents of Neptune City.”

His running mate, Pamela Renee, was sworn in by Neptune Municipal Judge Robin Wernik. The two Democrats defeated longtime councilwomen Barbara Shafer and Susan Mitchell in the November election.

Arnone, a Republican, attended the meeting with Belmar Mayor Matthew Doherty, a Democrat, who was there to lend support to Arnone’s effort.

Arnone said it is a bi-partisan issue which will affect Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike.

Arnone said as a Freeholder he communicates with elected officials in all 53 Monmouth County towns.

“The thing that bothers me today is that this position is important…I find it bothersome that it was taken lightly,” he said.

Arnone said an elected official should only be allowed to resign his or her post when there are “obvious” health or family related issues.

“I think both sides of the legislature will agree,” Arnone said. He said he is hoping the new bill will be called the Neptune City Rule.

Arnone said he is working with Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini to see that the bill is written and introduced in the legislature.

To fill the vacancy now on the council the Democratic Party in the borough submitted three names to the council for consideration. They are Linda Brady, Jenee Farley and Christopher Miller. The council now has 30 days to appoint one of them to the seat. If the ocuncil cannot come to a decision the borough Democrats will make the appointment. The seat will be up for election in the November election.

Also at the meeting Mayor Robert Brown administered the oath of office to incoming officers Fire Chief Thomas Bennett, Assistant Fire Chief Robert Reynolds, Jr. and First Aid Captain Kenneth Sprague.

Outgoing Fire Captain Vicky Butler presented a certificate to First Aid Member of the Year Eric Lounstein.

“This certificate is not enough for the all the hours you spent,” Butler said.

Mayor Brown thanked all the borough’s emergency volunteers as well as their families.

“I want to thank the families for sharing the members with the residents of Neptune City,” he said.

In his report Brown reviewed the accomplishments of the past year including the opening of a new microbrewery on Steiner Avenue and the installation of a traffic signal at Evergreen and Memorial Drive.

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