John Bennett, the part time borough administrator of Lavallette since a month after he left his full time borough administrator position in Oceanport, has filed an unemployment claim, according to a statement by Councilman Stuart Briskey during the Oceanport Borough Council meeting on June 16.
“I just want everybody to know that our former BA, John O. Bennett III, who sat right at this table and said ‘I’m retiring, I love Oceanport, and I’m done, my wife’s happy I’m done, we’re going to sit back and rest,’ filed and unemployment claim,” Briskey said, “which every one of you, if you see UI, on your paycheck, you are helping to pay that. And I um, I just think it’s deplorable and it shows the character, in my humble opinion, it shows the character of the person we had working for the borough. And I think the public has the right to know that.”
Briskey went on to complain that Oceanport paid $10,000 for Bennett to be certified as a public works manager, but that he did now show up to take the certification test which occurred occurred on April 20th.
Bennett earns $80,000 per year working 25 hours per week in Lavallette. He is collecting a state pension of $193,688 *, according the Data Universe, for his years of service as a State Legislator, Acting Governor and attorney for various municipalities and boards of education.
The former State Senate President was surprised when MMM reached him for comment. “This is old news, it happened months ago,” Bennett said. “I was unemployed for month and collected for three weeks. I left Oceanport on March 30th and started in Lavallette on May 2.” Bennett wasn’t sure how much he collected, “$500 per week, I think, whatever unemployment pays.” He explained that he did not take the certified public manager test because he was no longer employed by the borough.
“I filed the claim, the new administrator appealed it and the unemployment commission approved my claim.That should be the end of the story,” Bennett said. “I paid into the unemployment insurance fund for 30 years too. When people have a claim, the should file for it.”
Bennet, an Oceanport resident, said that Briskey should focus on the issues facing “our town” and get over any vendetta he is pursuing.
“I have no idea why he has a vendetta against me,” Bennett said of Briskey, “but he should get over it.”
Bennett noted that while he was the Oceanport administrator a relative of Briskey was an employee of the borough who went out on disability, qualified for a disability pension and also filed for unemployment. “I appealed the unemployment claim and the employee withdrew it.”
Bennett said that Briskey’s alleged vendetta was not about his relative’s unemployment claim, but rather preceeded the councilman’s service on the governing body.
“Why don’t they leave me alone?” Bennett asked, rhetorically.
* UPDATE: Bennett called after this article was published to say that his State pension is not $193,688. He said he receives a monthly check of roughly $5,700. His pension is $90,001 annually.
“My wife is going to want to know where all that money goes,” he said.