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Why I’m voting for Ken Braswell and Rosemary Ryan for Highlands Council

By Art Gallagher

On Tuesday November 7, I will enthusiastically cast my vote for Highlands Borough Council for Ken Braswell and Rosemary Ryan.  If you live in Highlands, I hope you do too.

Ken and Rosemary are ‘new blood with experience,’ if that makes sense. They both have worked hard, as volunteers, for the Highlands community for many years while avoiding the often nasty political fray. They have both served our community unselfishly with dignity and respect for all. They truly are “level headed leaders.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: November 4th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: 2017 Elections, Highlands, Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan will not seek a third term

photo by Tim Larsen, Governor's Office

photo by Tim Larsen, Governor’s Office

Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan announced on facebook last night that he will not seek a third term.

Thank you to so many people for encouraging me to run for a third term as mayor. The past six years have been tough with Irene, Sandy, and all the other set backs. Last year was the toughest with my own personal health issues. Those that are closest to me know I have truly enjoyed being an elected official for the past ten years. I am honored and humbled to have been able to serve the town and all its people. I made some mistakes but tried my best to always do the right thing. My role as a father and husband has to come first. For this reason I will not be a candidate for mayor this November and will serve out my current term. I want to thank all the great borough professionals, past and present I have had the pleasure of working with. The many council people and Mayor’s who I may have had my differences with but at the end of the day I think we knew our common goal was the advancement of the town. Special thanks to my wife and soulmate Lori Ann. You have stood by me through thick and thin and I love you forever.

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Posted: September 2nd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Frank Nolan, Highlands, Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

More Duplicity From Vin Gopal

Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal just can’t help himself from practicing the “politics of yesterday,” as Governor Chris Christie said of him last year.

Friday evening on the Political Roundtable segment of the NJTV News with Mike Schneider, Gopal reacted to the news that the federal government had cleared Christie Administration of any errors or wrong doing with the AshBrit contract for cleaning up much of New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy by sticking to the Democratic/Star Ledger talking points. “The bigger issue is,” Gopal said, “why was so much money wasted in the process?”   “Costs were higher,” he said, without saying higher than what. Certainly they were not higher than what the Army Corp of Engineers charged New York for their clean up.

What Gopal didn’t say is that he was busy helping AshBrit get business in the aftermath of Superstrom Sandy.

Click here to read an email Gopal sent me three weeks after Sandy hit asking for my help in introducing AshBrit’s agent, Laura Matos of M Public Affairs, a veteran of the Corzine administration, to Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan.

GOP political consultant Chris Russell joked on the segment that he was waiting for apologies from all the Democrats who criticized Christie over the AshBrit contract. Gopal should have apologized on the spot, especially since he was an active participant in recruiting municipalities to sign with the clean up company.

I don’t know if Gopal got paid for helping AshBrit get business but it is a safe bet that Matos and her fellow Corzine administration veterans at M Public Affairs did.  Vin should ask Matos why the AshBrit contract cost so much.

I didn’t get paid.  Nolan had Highlands almost entirely cleaned up without AshBrit before Vin reached out to me.

 

Posted: March 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Frank Nolan, Superstorm Sandy, Vin Gopal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Monmouth Mayors Cast Doubt On Zimmer’s Quid Pro Quo Claims

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer on MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki, January 18, 2014

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer on MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki, January 18, 2014

Monmouth County mayors and other municipal officials are reacting to Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s allegations that her city is not receiving Sandy Relief funds because she hasn’t pushed through a redevelopment approval coveted by Governor Chris Christie with a high degree of skepticism, because their storm ravaged communities have yet to see significant money yet either.

One elected official who asked not to be quoted said, “If Hoboken had approved that Rockefeller project, Zimmer would still be standing on her head at a Hoboken street corner looking for her Sandy money. The money hasn’t started to flow yet.”

“Is it believable that Guadagno (Lt. Governor Kim Guadango) or Constable (DCA Commissioner Richard Constable) encouraged Zimmer to expedite an project? Yes.  As a quid pro quo for Sandy dollars? No way,” another official said.

Zimmer alleged on MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki this morning that Guadagno pulled her aside at a Hoboken ribbon cutting and warned that Sandy Relief money to Hoboken was contingent on a development application by the Rockefeller Group being approved by the city. Zimmer said that Constable told her at a Monmouth University symposium on Sandy recovery that relief dollars would flow if the Rockefeller application was approved.

After talking to local and state officials today, MMM understands that the federal money for Sandy Relief is flowing dripping through four sources; FEMA, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) which administers relief for homeowners, the New Jersey Economic Development Agency(EDA) and County Governments which are administering Hazard Mitigation Grants.  The Hazard Mitigation Grants are funded by FEMA and distributed to the counties by the State Office of Emergency Management.

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Posted: January 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Dawn Zimmer, EDA, FEMA, Hoboken | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »

Highlands Council Votes To Give DeBlasio His 6th Government Job

The Highlands Borough Council passed a resolution last night, in a 3-2 vote, to appoint Patrick DeBlasio to be the borough’s Chief Financial Officer effective May 1, 2014. DeBlasio is the CFO of Carteret, North Plainfield, and Keansburg. He is the treasurer of the Carteret Board of Education and the tax collector in Highlands.

In Carteret, DeBlasio also serves as a member of the Parking Commission.

The 40,000 salary that comes with the appointment will bring his total compensation from his six jobs to $284,606. All of DeBlasio’s jobs provide a pension. The borough plans to hire him an assistant for an undetermined salary.

Governor Chris Christie earns $175,000, as do U.S. Senators and Members of Congress. State Cabinet Officers earn $141,000. Superior Court Judges earn $165,000

The borough did not advertise the position or explore a shared services agreement with another town, as Mayor Frank Nolan and Councilman Chris Francy advocated. Rather, they voted to hire DeBlasio on the recommendation of retiring CFO Stephen Pfeffer, according to Council President Rebecca Kane and Councilwoman Tara Ryan’s remarks explaining the hire when they moved and seconded the resolution.  Pfeffer earns $69,580 as CFO in Highlands and $157,738 as the CFO of Tinton Falls.

During the public portion of the council meeting, Kane said she would reevaluate the decision after one year. However Borough Attorney Bruce Padula said that the appointment is for a four year term.  DeBlasio would be tenured after the initial four years.  Kane’s term on the council expires in June, due to a referendum passed by Highlands voters in November making the borough’s election non-partisan.  She is expected to run for another term.

In his remarks opposing DeBlasio’s appointment, Nolan said, “We are often the laughing stock of Monmouth County. This is one of the reasons why.”

Posted: December 19th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Francy, Frank Nolan, Highlands | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Highlands Mayor Nolan Calls For Sharing Municipal Accounting Services, Criticizes Proposal To Give CFO Candidate A 6th Government Job

If one person can do six government jobs for $300,000, why can’t those governmental entities get together and hire one person to do that work for half the amount or less?

photo by Tim Larsen, Governor's Office

Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan, photo by Tim Larsen, Governor’s Office

In his column on facebook and Atlantic Highlands Herald, Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan said there is currently a contract being negotiated for a new Chief Financial Officer in the borough.  The candidate, who Nolan did not name, currently has five government jobs, including another job in Highlands, and earns $244,606. If hired as Highlands’ new CFO, the candidate would have to work 160 hours per week, theoretically, to justify the combined full time and part time salaries which would exceed $300,000.

As of this writing, there is a contract being written for someone to fill that position that already has 5 municipal jobs across the state. If this individual was to be given this 6th municipal job at our council meeting on December 18th they would be one of the top paid public employees in the state and would hold 2 jobs in the Borough of Highlands. His current salary listed on the state website is $244,606 for his 5 current positions. If we add another $65,000 to the total and highlands would be putting him over the $300,000 per year mark.

By definition most part time jobs are about 20 hours per week. The average fulltime job is 40 hours. If you have 4 part time jobs, that means you are working, in theory, 80 hours per week on those jobs. Plus you have 2 full time jobs. That’s another 80 hours. The person who is potentially being given a 6th municipal job at the Wed, December 18th council meeting that will be held at Highlands Elementary School at 8:00pm for the public. This person will be working 160 hours per week. There are 168 total hours in a 7 day week. How can someone work 6 jobs and be effective? The answer is: they can’t.

MMM believes the accountant is Highlands Tax Collector Patrick DeBlasio, who, according to APP’s Data Universe, has two jobs in Carteret, and one job each in Keansburg, North Plainfield, in addition to his tenured position in Highlands, all of which will pay a pension.

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Posted: December 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Government Waste, Highlands | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Highlands Mayor Nolan Calls For Sharing Municipal Accounting Services, Criticizes Proposal To Give CFO Candidate A 6th Government Job

Vin’s Folly

The reaction to Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal’s declaration of victory has been hilarious…and has overloaded MMM stat counter!

Two Tinton Falls officials called first thing this morning unable to contain their laughter at Gopal’s delusional claim of credit for Gerry Turning’s election as mayor.

Tinton Falls Mayor-elect Jerry Turning

Tinton Falls Mayor-elect Gerry Turning

“I’m the most conservative Democrat you’ll ever meet,” Mayor-elect Turning said when we got him on the phone. “I registered as a Democrat over 40 years ago when I was 18 and Jerry Brown was running for President.  I don’t consider myself a partisan.  I vote for the best candidates.”  Turning said he voted for Mitt Romney for President last year, Chris Christie for Governor on Tuesday and Steve Lonegan for U.S. Senate last month.

“Neither the Democrats or Republicans in Tinton Falls were involved in my campaign.  We spent no money.  I’m proud of that.  I’ve never run for office before and don’t consider myself a politician,” said Turning, “I have good relationships with John Bennett (the Monmouth GOP Chairman) and Gopal and I want to keep it that way.  But I am not a partisan person and Tinton Falls is not a partisan town.  The residents like it that way,”

A Manalapan resident said via facebook, “Gopal’s letter is actually very funny. He states, ‘In MANALAPAN, Ryan Urgo, Dr. Ayesha Chaudhary and David Goldstein ran a strong campaign for township committee but lost due to an onslaught of negative attacks from the Republicans.’  Manalapan Democrats: In fact, the Republicans never mentioned the Democrats, not wanting to give them publicity since they were all unknowns. The Democrats, on the other hand, spent their entire campaign attacking Andrew Lucas and the farmland preservation, rather than running against the Republican candidates.”

Asbury Park Councilman John Moor said, “Funny that he claims the Asbury Park referendum a victory, I thought it was going to be non partisan.”

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Posted: November 8th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Election, Monmouth County, Monmouth Democrats, Vin Gopal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Gopal Declares Victory

Vin trinityIn an email sent to his party faithful this evening, Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal spun the Republican Romp in Monmouth County on Tuesday as a victorious holding of ground and claimed a net pick up of 1 municipal seat.

While we haven’t carefully fact checked Gopal’s claims, some of them appear to be laughable.  He’s counting a Board of Education seat in Wall Township as a pick up and Mayor-elect Jerry Turning’s uncontested election in Tinton Falls, a non-partisan municipality, as pick up. The Tinton Falls GOP support Turning taking over as mayor of the borough where he has been administrator, after retiring as Police Chief.

Gopal is also not counting Highlands Council President Rebecca Kane’s loss to Republican Mayor Frank Nolan as a defeat, because there are 120 uncounted provisional ballots, even though Kane conceded the race on Tuesday night.  Kane would have to get 77% of the provisional votes, assuming they are all ruled valid, in order to gain the 92 votes needed to over take Nolan’s lead.

The text of Gopal’s email is below the fold, for entertainment purposes.  Feel free to check his facts and comment accordingly.

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Posted: November 7th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Predictions, Monmouth Democrats, Vin Gopal | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Frank Nolan Is Reelected Mayor of Highlands

Highlands-20131105-00124Mayor Frank L. Nolan was elected to a second term leading the Borough of Highlands today.

Nolan, a Republican earned  46% % of the vote in the Superstorm Sandy ravaged community over his Democratic opponent, Council President Rebecca Kane who earned 39%.   15% of Highlands voters wrote in their chose.   Douglas Card waged a write-in campaign.  There were 1290 votes cast in the borough today.  These results to not include mail-in ballots.

Posted: November 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Election, Highlands | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

Municipal Races To Watch

Monmouth_Game_BoxThe Battle of Monmouth is in the municipalities today.

Monmouth Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal is hoping to be the Gene Michael of politics. Michael, the New York Yankees General Manger in the early 1990’s, rebuilt the mediocre team back to dominant glory by focusing on new talent in the farm system.  As a player, Michael was a master of the hidden ball trick.  In baseball the hidden ball trick is when a position player fakes throwing the ball back to the pitcher after a play, only to tag out the base runner when he take a lead off the base.

Like Michael, Gopal is trying to build his farm team in Monmouth County municipal races, knowing he can’t win the big show in the short term, with an eye on future dominance of Monmouth County government and the State of New Jersey.  Also like Michael, Gopal always has a trick up his sleeve behind his youthful smile and pleasant demeanor.

Gopal hasn’t even fielded a team in 23 races in 16 Monmouth County towns.  Yet he has the press and New Jersey’s Democratic leadership convinced he’s building a future empire from the bottom up.

But if he doesn’t deliver the goods tonight, Gopal could end up as a Hardy Peterson, the Yankees General Manager who only lasted in the job for one year, 1990, instead of Michael, and find himself challenged for the county chairmanship when his first term ends in June.

The towns to watch tonight are Red Bank, Aberdeen, Eatontown, Highlands, Hazlet and Marlboro.

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Posted: November 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Election, Monmouth County, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »