The ongoing feud between Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and Freeholder John Curley , both Republicans, became public again Thursday afternoon at the beginning of the board’s work session meeting at the Hall of Records in Freeholder.
Click here to listen to Curley’s remarks and the ensuing exchange between him and Burry. Curley’s remarks start at the 1:27 mark of the audio. The exchange concludes at the 5:24 mark.
Curley announced that he had proposed a resolution that would have called on the State Legislature to prohibit elected or appointed officials, on any level, from participating in New Jersey’s Farm Land Preservation Program. He likened such participation to Wall Street insider trading. Curley said that Freeholder Tom Arnone, a Republican, was his second for the resolution and that Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, a Republican, was going to sponsor such legislation. Curley said he was disappointed that “the freeholders” pulled his resolution from the work session agenda.
Burry said that Curley’s remarks were inappropriate in that that he did not go through “the chair” or follow proper procedures. She said the resolution was going to be discussed in Executive Session and had been put off because it needed to be tweaked and properly vetted.
Listen to the exchange. It’s much more colorful than summarized above.
The acrimonious exchange came at the last freeholder meeting date prior to the Monmouth GOP nominating convention. Burry and Deputy Director Gary Rich are seeking to be renominated. Howell Councilman Bob Walsh is pursuing a nomination. Walsh’s successes would unseat an incumbent.
Curley acknowledges that he supports Walsh and Rich for freeholder, but denies the timing his statements yesterday was political. He told MMM that he’s been working on the ethics of the Farmland Preservation Program since last March when the Freeholder Board funded their portion of the Burke Farm inclusion into the program over his objections. Curley said that it was just this month that Arnone agreed to second his resolution and that Handlin agreed to sponsor the legislation just recently.
Burke Farm is the property owned by Former Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas. Lucas sold the development rights for the farm to the Farm Land Preservation Program, which was approved and funded by the state, county and Manalapan Township, last March. Lucas was indicted earlier this yea for alleged actions taken in his acquisition of the farm.
Burry and Curley have had a contentious relationship since they ran together in 2008. Curley blames his defeat in that race on bullet votes for Burry. He said his acrimony toward’s Burry is personal. “Lillian looks down her nose at me, ” he said, “she doesn’t like people in the automobile business.” Curry is the Vice President of Jim Curley Buick, GMC, Kia in Lakewood.
Curley said the would support Burry’s reelection in November is she is renominated by the GOP.
Curley’s support of Rich as expressed to MMM is an apparent change in his stance since he was the guest speaker at the East Jersey Tea Party’s February 6 meeting. A that meeting he declared that he would not support Rich’s reelection.
In his remarks to the EJTP, Curley said that Rich was preventing the freeholder board from balancing its budget, that Rich was a do nothing freeholder until recently when he was challenged for renomination by Walsh, and he blasted Burry, Rich and Freeholder Serena DiMaso for not voting to sell Monmouth County’s nursing homes. Curley said there was no difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties and the the GOP tried to get him out of office by drafting him to run against Congressman Frank Pallone without any financial support.
Curley said the Walsh told him of a phone call he received from DiMaso wherein she asked the Howell Councilman not to challenge Burry and Rich’s renomination this year, but to wait till next year and to run against Curley’s renomination.