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Coast Star Highlights

Couple of things from today’s Coast Star that are worth noting:

Attempt to wipe out pay to play costed us $48,000


The borough’s expenses related to the fight over its pay-to-play ordinance were further increased by the cost of the Sept. 27 referendum, bringing the total cost of the battle to nearly $50,000.

The total cost of the referendum — in which voters rejected the amended ordinance 836 to 292 — was $4,533, according to documents obtained by The Coast Star through an Open Public Records Act [OPRA] request.

These costs included renting 10 voting machines for $610, the design and printing of ballots for $2,184 and printing a special election legal notice for $1,739 with Gannett, according to invoices and emails obtained through the OPRA request.

Coupled with the borough’s legal fees from its representation at Scarinci Hollenbeck of Lyndhurst, which total $43,591.13, the borough’s total expenses related to the pay-to-play ordinance come to $48,124.13.

The invoices from Scarinci Hollenbeck are dated from May 20 through July 22.

When asked whether the borough has received any additional invoices, borough clerk April Claudio said all invoices have now been provided to The Coast Star.


We still owe Broadco $28,000 legal expenses


According to Broadco’s attorney, James Kinneally, of Marriott, Callahan and Blair, Spring Lake Heights, Superior Court Judge Thomas Scully awarded Broadco the total amount of the contract at $225,600 in May.

Judge Scully also awarded Broadco $6,000 in late fees and $28,000 in attorney’s fees, bringing the total judgement to $259,600.

According to the borough’s bill list dated Oct. 4, the borough made a payment to Broadco in the amount of $231,600, which covers the contract and late fees.

“They made a case that they were owed money for the time that they were working poorly so the judge found in their favor,” Borough Administrator Colleen Connolly said.

According to Ms. Connolly, the $28,000 in attorney’s fees will be paid.


Janis doesn’t know the difference between a workshop session and an executive session

(My comments in red italics.)


Q. The council has been routinely criticized about its approach to transparency, particularly in the wake of pay-to-play. How will you approach transparency?

A. KEOWN-BLACKBURN When I first came to Belmar, 17 years ago, and attended council meetings, many times they did not begin on time. (I was at pretty much every Council meeting for the last 10 years and under Pringle they always started on time. First would be the workshop session, then an executive or “closed” session if one was needed, and then the regular meeting started. The starting time for the regular meeting depended on how long the workshop and executive sessions lasted.) The council would be in closed session discussing workshop issues. (Workshop issues were never discussed in closed session. The workshops were done in full view of the public and, unlike what we have now, the public could actually see ordinances being put together and policies being crafted. The closed sessions are for discussions of a sensitive nature such as employee health matters or legal issues the Borough might be involved in. Minutes are to be taken in closed sessions and once the topics are no longer sensitive, like after a legal case has been adjudicated, the minutes are to be made available to anyone who asks for them. The current Mayor and Council have been violating New Jersey’s Sunshine Laws by not having official closed sessions where lawsuits are discussed and minutes taken. Either they are meeting in secret or, more likely, the four Councilmen aren’t even involved. If you check the tape of the last meeting they couldn’t answer simple questions about the pay to play lawsuit.) This council has always had the workshop on the agenda. I feel that this shows the residents that we want them to know what is being discussed and to feel a part of what is happening in Belmar. (Is it me or does this Council’s workshops always seem to have the appearance of being scripted in advance?)  The council agenda along with the resolutions and proposed ordinances are made available to the public. (Required by law.) We have a website that shows contracts awarded, the bill list, and much more information. (Granted, but so did Pringle.) I would like us to look into the borough taping the council meetings and getting them on the website the next day. (Gee, I wish I had thought of that.) If it is not cost prohibitive possibly other borough meetings could also be taped and put on the website. I have tried to communicate with the residents when they have a problem. (She investigated petition signers so she could complain about certain ones at a public meeting.) I have answered emails and met with residents. I think we do a very good job of communicating with our residents during an emergency —storms, etc. (Communication during emergencies is not a transparency issue but I do agree they did a good communication job with Sandy. Of course Janice wasn’t on the Council then.)


  1. admin wrote:

    The pay to play fiasco will actually cost much more than $48,000 because they are not considering Plaintiffs’ legal fees, which because of the civil rights violation must be paid by the Borough.

    Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Admin: You’ve said it all.

    Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink
  3. watchman wrote:

    Magovern and Blackburn should be held accountable for the wasteful expenses, as they have supported the Mayor’s projects and decisions. Remember that when you vote.

    Friday, October 21, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink
  4. Belmar Trifecta wrote:

    All I can hope and pray is that the majority of Belmar voters show up and vote against the status quo. The Belmar trifecta would be the defeat of the pay-to-play, done now tripled with voting out Spineless Magovern and Sellout Janis Keown-Whatever.

    Friday, October 21, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink
  5. Throw them out! wrote:

    Serious chsnge is needed. Vote them out! Then recall loser mayor.

    Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 6:20 am | Permalink
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    Let’s face it. We are proud to be paying Belmar taxes; The thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money mat and the matterse spend on their amusements.

    Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

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