AH Reorganization Brings Major Surprise

first_imgBy Muriel J. SmithATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno swore in Councilmen Jack Archibald and Peter Doyle to three-year terms on the governing body, but left the meeting immediately following the swearing in to participate in a second reorganization in Shrewsbury. Before apologizing for her hasty retreat from the session, the lieutenant governor spoke briefly on elected officials’ obligation to “do what the people want, not what we as public officials want.”However, the exit of both the lieutenant governor and Freeholder Director Lillian Burry, who also attended the borough’s reorganization meeting, came minutes before Councilman Lou Fligor moved that Councilman Roy Dellosso be named council president. In the absence of higher officials, Mayor Fred Rast swore Dellosso into the position, over the negative votes of both Doyle and Archibald.The move was unusual for both Rast and Fligor, since Dellosso is a Democrat, one of two, with Bob Sutton, on the GOP-controlled governing body. Traditionally and politically, a governing body selects one from its own party to serve in the absence of the mayor. Republicans Jake Hoffman and Fligor voted with Democrats Dellosso and Bob Sutton to move Dellosso into the top seat on council.Fligor declined any comment on his vote for a Democrat for the council president position, but Rast told The Two River Times after the meeting that he endorsed the governing body’s majority vote for the Democrat because “he’s a good man, he’s been on the council the entire time I’ve been mayor, and I think he deserves it.”Peter Doyle is sworn in by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.–Courtesy Joseph BarbieriDellosso said he was not surprised by the council or mayor’s actions, because “the mayor’s always been about bi-partisanship, and he knows I’ll do my best.” The councilman added that he feels he will be excellent in the position, since he is actively involved in the community and enjoys helping borough residents.More uncertainty about Rast’s dedication to the Republican party that first help elect him to office seven years ago came during the mayor’s annual address to the public at the end of the meeting. He indicated he will not seek another term when his expires this year, but has a candidate in mind. Council makeup this year is no different from every other year since Rast became mayor, with the same elected officials that first served with him in 2008 still on the governing body. Doyle gained his fourth term this year, Archibald his seventh.That a split in the Republican party in this close-knit community is developing was further evidenced when Rast failed to reappoint Archibald to the Harbor Commission, replacing him with Fligor, who will continue in that position with Hoffmann, who was renamed. When asked about that change, Rast indicated he has not been pleased with some of the activities at the harbor and feels Fligor will be able to resolve some issues, but he did not elaborate on what concerns he has.In responding to questions about how he feels in not being reappointed to a third year on commission, Archibald said he’s very disappointed in not being able to continue. “I’ve enjoyed all of my time there, and I believe I have made contributions to the commission that have been beneficial both to the harbor operations and to the taxpayers and businesses of our community.” He added that he is further disappointed that he was not consulted about a replacement for himself, nor asked about any ongoing programs or activities on which the new commission member will need to be brought up to speed.There were few changes in the other mayoral or council appointments, with Bernard Reilly continuing as borough attorney, Christine Hanlon as chief municipal prosecutor, Hank Wolfe as public defender, and Richard Rast as code enforcement officer.  Andrew J. Sabine of the Fallon and Larsen firm will continue as municipal auditor.Rene Frotton, who has served in both Marlboro and Loch Arbor was named tax assessor as Eldo Magnani retired from the position Dec. 31.    The Two River Times was continued as an official newspaper.In his annual address, Rast quoted from the address he gave at his first reorganization in 2008, and noted that many of the same national problems that existed then continue to exist today. “The radicals of the ‘60s have now grown and are elected officials today,” he said, but added that in Atlantic Highlands, “we have remained unchanged by radical 1960s…we respect each together, we work together, we raise our families together…the intermarriages strengthen our community…the police and fireman is role models and we all work together.”Rast added that proof of how the community works well together is the number of accomplishments that have been achieved, in spite of earthquakes, Super Storm Sandy, hurricanes, floods, landslides, and unusual snowfalls which have impacted the borough and the county over the past seven years.last_img