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But Kenny, Tell Us What You Really Think

Former Mayor Ken Pringle has a letter in today’s Coast Star.  It is reprinted here with the permission of the Coast Star Newspapers.


Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty gave what is by now an all-too-familiar response in last week’s Coast Star article about the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s findings that his administration failed to properly account for thousands of dollars in gift cards purchased with Sandy donations.

Instead of accepting responsibility for this lapse, the mayor has once again hidden behind “Belmar’s Recovery.” And just as predictably, he attempted to shift the focus away from the prosecutor’s criticism by leveling yet another attack at Councilman Jim Bean, this time for asking the prosecutor to look into how $9,050 in Shop Rite gift cards could have gone missing, something the mayor should have been the first to do.

Sandy’s severity is no excuse for what happened. Good financial controls are like high ethical standards. Their importance only increases with the severity of a crisis.

Leaving aside that it would have taken all of 10 minutes to set up a spreadsheet ledger to track who received these gift cards, the important question is not why the borough failed to properly account for these cards. It is why the borough was doling out private donations intended for Sandy victims in the first place. Less than a week after the storm, the State office that oversees municipal governments issued a formal notice to affected towns that “strongly encourage[d] local governments to instruct persons to make donations directly to appropriate nonprofit organizations rather than assuming the responsibility for re-distributing donations.”

Numerous nonprofit organizations, from the American Red Cross to Catholic Charities, were in a position to get those donations quickly — and fairly — into the hands of those who were genuinely in need, and could have operated right from Borough Hall. Yet, the mayor chose to ignore the State’s advice.

That’s because delegating this task to qualified nonprofit organizations would have meant passing up the political benefits to be derived from handing these cards out directly to residents. For an administration whose every move appears to be driven by the mayor’s political ambitions, that was obviously too much to ask.

Apparently, so is hoping the mayor would finally begin accepting responsibility for the consequences of his decisions.



One minor correction, Mayor:

I can understand why you thought that Jim Bean approached the county prosecutor’s office.  It is because Doherty has in the past incorrectly stated that.  But it is not true.  Bean only asked the Belmar Police to investigate.  It’s the Belmar Police that sent it over to the county.

(It is true, though, that the case would have fallen into a black hole over there if Bean hadn’t called them a few times to ask what was going on with it.)


  1. VITO CORLEONE wrote:

    I think the five families are going to back this guy called Bean. He seems to really care about ALL the people in Belmar.

    Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    The real “five families” would never support an upright guy like Bean.

    Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink
  3. VITO CORLEONE wrote:

    Maybe not but the the new , kinder, more gentle five families will support him. See we all need somebody in office we can trust.

    Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink
  4. Katrina wrote:

    At the council meeting that Councilman Bean raised the question of the Shoprite certificates disappearance Mayor Duarty should have been appalled that so much donated money had disappeared. Instead he had his usual audacity to blame Mr Bean for wanting an accounting of where the money went. Wouldn’t a real leader WANT to find out where all that money went? Accountability and credibility 101.

    Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink
  5. Guest wrote:

    Doherty has no financial credibility, see he’s failed at every finance job he’s ever held. As for accountability, hold him accountable in November and help him maintain a zero batting average.

    Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

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