John O. Bennett III, the former Acting Governor, former Monmouth GOP Chairman and former Borough Administrator of Oceanport is the new Administrator of the Borough of Lavallette in Ocean County.
Bennett’s job in Oceanport ended on April 30th when he was replaced by Ray Poerio, an Edison resident who had been the Recreation Director of Scotch Plains, Union County.
Bennett announced his retirement from the Oceanport job last fall after he, and his part time work as an attorney, became an issue in the local election. After Mayor Michael Mahon was defeated by current Mayor Jay Coffey’s write-in campaign, Bennett reapplied for the Oceanport job.
Oceanport Administrator John Bennett is applying to keep the job that he announced his retirement from in October.
Bennett’s retirement is effective December 31. When I met him at Oceanport’s temporary Borough Hall today, there was no signs of him slowing down. He was working with a borough employee on the town’s debt amortization schedule when I arrived. Over lunch he was excited about the future of Oceanport and proud of what he’s accomplished in his two years as administrator. He was also well aware the that town needs to heal the divisions…that he is in the center of….that resulted in Mayor Michael Mahon going from being unopposed for reelection last month to being defeated by write-in candidate Jay Coffey. “I promised I would give 110% until my last day,” for former Senate President and Acting Governor said.
Bennett is hopeful that his last day will come after December 31. “I love being an administrator,” he said, “I wish I had done this earlier in my career. I submitted my application for the job.”
Presumed Oceanport Mayor-elect Jay Coffey, center,addresses supporters as Culllin Wible , left, and Councilman Joe Irace,right look on. photo via facebook
In the Oceanport mayoral race, “Write-In” has defeated incumbent Mayor Michael Mahon by a margin of 988 to 721.
Monmouth County Clerk told MoreMonmouthMusings this morning that each of the Write-In votes will be reviewed today in order to determine the winner of the race, subject to the counting of provisional ballots and certification of the election.
A bi-partisan coalition of Oceanport leaders supported Attorney Jay Coffey, a registered Democrat, in his campaign unseat the Republican mayor who was unopposed on the ballot. Coffey is widely expected to be the winner of the campaign. He declared victory last evening.
Oceanport’s all Republican municipal government has been in turmoil for the better part of the year as Mahon stopped communicating with members of the Council, particularly regarding redevelopment issues at Fort Monmouth, and a growing distrust of Borough Administrator John Bennett festered throughout the governing body and members of the public.
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon said he supports the Borough of Oceanport’s efforts to prevent a crematorium from being built in a residential neighborhood.
“I am concerned with the process and the minimal amount of communication,” said O’Scanlon. “The fact that the only public notification of this pending permit was published in the Home News Tribune, which is not even distributed in the Borough, is hardly adequate notice.”
“I have seconded the municipal request for a public hearing so that all the facets of this permit request can be discussed and the residents have an opportunity to voice their concerns,” O’Scanlon explained. “Projects such as this should never be implemented behind closed doors. I plan on remaining involved in this issue to see that all concerns are addressed.”
Oceanport Borough Administrator John Bennett was surprised last week when he was informed by the Department of Environmental Protection that Woodbine Cemetery had applied for an Air Pollution Control permit. As Acting Governor in 2002, Bennett signed legislation that required crematoriums be approved by the governing bodies of the municipalities where they were proposed. That legislation was repealed in 2011. The current law gives the New Jersey Cemetery Board the authority to approve crematorium construction permits. The majority of the Cemetery Board is comprised of owners or managers of cemeteries.
Oceanport officials are burning over the prospects of the Woodbine Cemetery installing a crematorium with a smoke stack in a residential neighborhood of the borough.
In a statement released by Councilman Joe Irace yesterday and posted on the Oceanport website , the borough complains that the only public notification that Woodbine Cemetery was seeking to build a crematorium was in a public notice published in the Home News, an Asbury Park Press affiliated publication that is distributed in Middlesex and Somerset counties.
The borough became aware of the situation via a letter from the Department of Environmental Protection informing them that Woodbine was seeking an Air Pollution Control Permit.
Monmouth County Shaun Golden has been elected Chairman of the Monmouth County Republican Committee.
Golden defeated incumbent Chairman John Bennett 335 votes to 282.
UPDATED: June 11, 2014
There was brief confusion when County Clerk Claire French presented the results to Bennett. Bennett misunderstood the results and thought he had won. He and his daughters started to celebrate but were quickly corrected. Bennett then announced that Golden was the new County Republican Chairman and left the room with his family.
Golden thanked the convention and promised to conduct his new office with dignity and honor.
Unaware that MMM already had published the vote count, Golden declined to release the results to The Asbury Park Press, saying he would release them today.
Golden did not announce his choice of Vice Chair. Rather, he will announce a leadership council and a diversity team to reach out to ethnic groups that traditionally do not vote Republican before the week is out. Members of the leadership team will serve as “co-vice chairs” with one of them holding the title as a formality.
Golden is retaining Executive Director Tom Symanski’s employment with the Party. “Tom has done a good job and we worked well together on the campaign last year,” Golden said this morning, ” we’ll give him more direction and support going forward.”
Howell GOP Municipal Chairman Juan Malave and Monmouth GOP State Committeeman John Costigan celebrate Malave’s election.
Monmouth County Republican State Committeeman John Costigan, the GOP Municipal Chairman of Howell Township for six years, and Vice Chair under the late Noreen Kelly for six years before that, convened the reorganizational meeting of the Howell Republican Committee this evening and promptly placed the name of former Councilman Juan Malave into nomination as the new Municipal Chairman.
Costigan lost his County Committee seat in last Tuesday’s primary. The incumbent slate of Council Members, supported by Malave, beat back a primary challenge from a slate believed to be backed by Costigan. Costigan denied backing the challengers but said he was glad they were running.
Many Republicans throughout Monmouth County were expecting Costigan to attempt to retain his Chairmanship, despite losing his seat. But the State Committeeman chose to bow out in a gracious gesture of unity by nominating Malave.
All but one Monmouth County elected official above the municipal level (Legislators and County Officials) have stayed out of the Monmouth County GOP Chairman’s race between incumbent John Bennett and Sheriff Shaun Golden.
Arnone said that he is endorsing Golden because, “I have been a witness to his abilities on the campaign trail and I am keenly aware of what he has done for our party without bragging about it while other attempt to take credit for Shaun’s hard work.”
In an apparent jab at Bennett’s campaign management and fundraising accomplishments, Arnone implied that Golden is responsible for much of the Monmouth GOP’s success over the last two years.
It is truly a pleasure to see the Republican County Committee so energized heading into tomorrow’s County Convention. Two years ago I ran on a platform of instituting new by-laws which would include a return the County Convention system for candidate selection. Now, the County Committee selects our candidates, not a select few in the back room. I also pledged to implement a new, regional Board of Directors, and to open our campaign headquarters full time to run professional campaigns on a county and local level. These promises were made, and these promises were kept.
I believe as candidates, we are charged with the responsibility to give you, the County Committee Members, as much information on our platforms as possible. I also believe this is best delivered in person, where the candidates can be asked the hard questions. This is why I have repeatedly requested that Sheriff Golden agree to a debate. Unfortunately, to date I have not received a response from the Sheriff. I am issuing a final call to Sheriff Golden to meet me at the convention hall tomorrow a half hour early, at 6:30PM, so that we can debate by fielding questions from YOU, the County Committee, about the issues facing our Party. You deserve nothing less.
Bennett dismisses the opinion, says the Local Finance Board should decide
By Art Gallagher
At his breakfast meet and greet gatherings in Freehold and Neptune, Sheriff Shaun Golden said the he had consulted “large law firms, much bigger than any firm here in Monmouth County,” about the “fabricated conflict” of a Sheriff serving as a County Party Chairman raised by Chairman John Bennett and Municipal Chairs Steve McEnery of Manalapan and Anthony Graziano of Freehold Township.
Golden said, “there is no conflict.” He said in Freehold he would show the letter to anyone who wanted to see it. In Neptune he said he would “publish it if need be.”
I told Shaun I wanted to see the letter and that I wanted to publish it. Here it is.