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Balance Of Power:

The Cure For A Divided People


The election is neigh upon us and you’ve certainly heard plenty from both sides.  But Tom and I endeavor to ask you to please consider one more factor before you make your final decision.

Under the Faulkner Act, Belmar is organized as a “strong mayor” form of municipal government.  This is how it is described in the act:


The Mayor-Council Plan (NJSA 40:69A-31 to 40: 69A-67.2)

The mayor-council plan of the Faulkner Act is a “strong mayor” form of government. It is a “presidential” system of government, modeled after the federal and state governments. The mayor-council plan consists of 2 separate and co-equal power centers, each directly elected by the people: the mayor as chief executive, and the council as the municipal legislature. The mayor-council plan makes a virtue of the idea of divided and shared power. Neither mayor nor council has the absolute last word in all instances. The system requires constant consultation between the mayor and the council; sometimes cooperating, sometimes competing and conflicting; always acting as a check and balance on the other. Hopefully out of this sometimes friendly, sometimes-hostile flux comes good public policy.


Clearly a “strong mayor” government cannot serve the people well unless the council is willing to show some independence.  Here in Belmar that has obviously not been the case and Ms. Blackburn has given us no reason to believe she will act any differently.  The problem is made particularly acute by the fact that we have such an ambitious and……um….let’s just say supremely confident…..mayor.  You see, we feel that good government requires a lot of give and take.  But what we’ve seen so far from this mayor is all take and no give.  It’s not surprising to us the town has become so divided.  It is because a large percentage of the people feel shut out of the process.  We need to change that.

We understand that Ms. Blackburn and Mr. Magovern are both likable people.  We like them ourselves.  But for the sake of good government and balanced representation for all the citizens of Belmar, for the “virtue of the idea of divided and shared power”, we ask you to give the two open council seats to the Republicans this year.

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