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Come Join The Dark Side

Now that we’ve been outed in a letter to the Coast Star I can talk about it openly.  Yes, there is an evil movement afoot here in Belmar and I am a part of it.  Our goal?  To have Belmar spiral down to an all time low!

The author of the letter, Belmar Councilwoman Claire Deicke, after writing a couple of paragraphs praising Mayor Doherty, had this to say:

“Believe me when I tell you Mayor Doherty is held in high esteem by those I meet every day. This is no exaggeration. Residents have not wavered in their support of him despite the negativity perpetrated by a certain element of our population.

In fact, support for Matt is stronger than ever, as people are basically disgusted with the movement afoot to have Belmar spiral down to an all-time low. Longtime residents see through this charade of those who claim to be interested in the welfare of the community. It’s all about politics and the upcoming November election. Is it merely a coincidence that negativity is growing as the campaign is gearing up?

Residents are on to what our opponents are doing … Belmar people are smart people — they’re not easily fooled. Thanks, again, to all of our loyal residents for their unwavering support.”

Yes….YES….Belmar must be destroyed!!!

And since our plot has been uncovered I can now reveal some of the tactics we’ve employed to advance our nefarious goal:

We have questioned the propriety of awarding millions of dollars in no-bid contracts to clean up and carting companies that employed the mayor’s wife as their marketing person.  The cost was multiples higher than other towns paid for similar work.

We have asked why our then-borough administrator and his then-assistant, who is now the current borough administrator, visited another town on borough time to solicit business for one of those companies.  (They wisely declined.)

We have criticized the absolute orgy of wasteful spending and reckless borrowing, which began even before the storm, and has resulted in the accumulation of approximately $40 million in new debt since this administration took office.  Of the tens of millions in federal aid we’ve been promised, we’ve so far received only $2 million.

We have asked that the borough follow state law and that the local Democratic party follow state and local campaign laws.

We have demanded, on behalf of the victims of the hurricane, complete transparency and accountability in the way the mayor distributes people’s generously donated funds.  We (and the state) even had the audacity to suggest that non-political organizations such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society should have been given the job.

Yes, we have done all these things and even some things too evil to talk about on a G-Rated blog like this one.

And there is news that will be very troubling to the good people in town that are opposed to our planned death-spiral.  Former mayor Ken Pringle  has joined the dark side!  His law firm is representing (pro-bono, I assume) some citizens who are suing to prevent the mayor from granting himself the power to award liquor licenses to our commercial tenants of the planned new boardwalk pavilions. What’s more, in an interview with the Coast Star’s Haley Behre, he actually criticized the handling of change orders relating to the building of the new boardwalk.   Here is some of the story published yesterday (hide the children):


Ken Pringle, a partner in the firm of Pringle Quinn Anzano, in Belmar, who also served as the borough’s mayor for two decades, was asked this week about the frequent use of change orders by the current administration and the high dollar amount of some of those change orders.

If the cost of the engineered dune system is not factored into the overall percentage of the change order, which Mr. Pringle said he believes it should not have been, the first change order exceeds the 20-percent change order limit.

The code is “silent” on whether reductions in a contract should be factored in before calculating the percentage of the change order increases, but Mr. Pringle said he will give the borough the “benefit of the doubt” and include the net worth of the change orders.

The first change order is about 21 percent of the original contract, and with the second change order that percent goes down to about 16 percent, but Mr. Pringle said he does not see wording in the code saying a municipality can exceed the 20-percent limit in one change order then reduce that percentage to below 20 percent with another change order down the road.

Mayor Matt Doherty said the first change order did not exceed 20 percent because the total awarded contract was for $11.1 million, making the change order percent about 12.6 percent. His calculation was based on keeping the cost of the sea wall/dunes — which were never built — in the contract.

Mr. Pringle said the fact the borough decreased the price of the engineered dune system in the second change order “proves a point” that that item should not have been part of the contract in the first place or calculated in as part of the reduction of the first change order.

The only time the total number of change orders are able to exceed 20 percent of the contract is when “the factual circumstances make it reasonably possible to execute a new contract for the additional work,” such as when there is an unforeseen circumstance or a “differing site condition is combined with a situation which renders execution of a new contract an unreasonable interference with the efficient completion of the work,” according to the code.

If a change order exceeds 20 percent, a series of steps need to be taken, such as having a written certificate justifying the performance of the work and approval of the change order by the governing body prior to the work being executed, according to the code.

Mr. Pringle also said some of the items on the first change order should not have been there because they were not “unforeseeable problems.” These items, he said, include the light pole foundations and electric conduits.


The purpose of the change order code, Mr. Pringle said, is to “make the bidding process fair and a true competition for the lowest price for the tax payers.”

If the contractor knows he can get additional work through change orders, then the company has an incentive to put in an unreasonably low bid knowing they can get that additional work, Mr. Pringle said, noting that possibility is “troubling.”

Mr. Pringle said he does not know if that was done in Belmar in this case.

“I found the whole process very troubling,” he said, including the fact each time a change order was brought to the governing body, the work had already been completed.

Ms. Connolly said “change orders are never fun,” but the borough is within the statutory guidelines and was able to deliver a “really fabulous product.”

In all instances — the two change orders for Epic Management and the one change order for Precise Construction — the work began prior to the governing body approving it, which is in violation of the code.

According to the code, the governing body shall pass a resolution authorizing the change to the contract, and that resolution “shall be passed before execution of the change order. No work shall be performed or purchases made on the involved phase of the contract until the resolution is passed.”

Mr. Pringle said the problem with doing work prior to issuing the change order is that it deprives citizens the right to challenge that change order.

So when the change order is brought before the public for a vote it is a “fait accompli,” Mr. Pringle said.

Also, if citizens decide to challenge the change order in court, there is “no effective relief” because the work has already been completed, he said.

 Yeah, sounds like he’s one of us now.


*****Important notice:   Promoting the total destruction of an entire town is very expensive and we need your help to achieve our evil ends.  Please donate as much as you can to:

“Burke and Schneck for Council”

P.O. Box 391

Belmar, N.J. 07719



  1. claire deicke wrote:

    Your sarcasm indicates that I struck a nerve.( you took a childish approach with your remarks)) you expect that no one would respond to the many letters/remarks smearing all that we’ve done post Sandy? Kind of one-way thinking on your part…..last I heard I have the same rights as others….don’t think you grasp the magnitude of post Sandy work/events..lots needed to be done……while your defense is interesting, and in your mind well-intended, it’s perceived as political fodder by many….certainly things are heating up since the primary election ….

    Friday, June 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink
  2. joegoofinoff wrote:

    Mrs Deicke, does this mean you won’t be contributing to the, Burke, Schneck election campaign???

    Sunday, June 16, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink
  3. claire deicke wrote:

    Joe-Like your sense of humor-with all this political mayhem going on, we certainly need it to lightening things up! Claire

    Sunday, June 16, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink
  4. Tom Burke wrote:

    I would agree with a previous comment, Nerves have been struck…..keep on striking, that is how we get the word out.I sure do hope people realize that it is not you and I that are “wagging the dog”.

    Monday, June 17, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

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