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Reader Contribution

Submitted by Belmar’s own in-house historian, the Venerable Bede:

Belmar cannot move forward until we learn from the past.


Belmar’s “Venerable Bede” has something to say about Mayor Doherty’s remarks in the Asbury Park Press article of June 8, 2014. The Mayor now claims that Epic Management will not bid again. This will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands since they will not be the “lowest bidder”.

Very few residents of Belmar were present for the March 13, 2013 Mayor and Council meeting.

At that meeting Birdsall Engineering, represented by our Borough Engineer and V.P. Scott McFadden, were invited by the mayor and business manager to sell the taxpayers and the council on $2.5 million in change orders to the boardwalk. While this blog has responsibly dealt with the lack of due diligence by the Democratic members of Council, I must also note the absence of due diligence on behalf of the residents and taxpayers. If ever there was a no brainer of an abuse of the public trust and a fraud this was it.  I urge you to watch the You Tube of the presentation “explaining” the change order starting at the 8:45 minute mark of that meeting. Please click  here.

Bear in mind that the explanation they gave was the third one after they wrongly told us first: that they miscalculated the size of the boardwalk and needed more lumber and second: that they switched to a herringbone deck pattern, which would be more attractive.  Neither of those turned out to be true.  Finally they said that the underneath needed to be reinforced because we declined to build a seawall to protect the boardwalk.  That’s not true either because it was supposed to be strong enough even without a seawall.  They also said that they learned the ramps had to have switchbacks because the lower sand made the angle too steep, something they should have known about from the beginning.

The fact is this mayor and his business manager have learned zip in the past year. True, Birdsall is out of the picture due to bankruptcy, but all the players are still playing. And they are playing with OUR MONEY.

On Nov. 21, 2012, the mayor successfully got a new boardwalk designed, bid out and bonded in 10 working days. The governor was here to mark the first piles being driven in January. Originally, the mayor and council bid for a new boardwalk (2 versions, 1 with rain forest wood, the other with Trex) as well as a seawall (engineered dune system of a buried steel wall with cap to protect the new boardwalk and future buildings.) Epic Management was the lowest bid @ $11.1 mil.

The mayor and council, however, awarded only the boardwalk to Epic for $6.6 M using the Trex. The seawall was never awarded and to this date is a DEAD Issue. Let us move to the change orders of March 2013.

N.J. Contract Law forbids change orders in excess of 20% (the 20% rule).

Per this administration (minutes of 3/13 meeting) ” The change order was for unforeseen issues.”  Let me remind residents that the boardwalk is a 1.3 mile repeat of itself.

“The project is currently under budget even with the change order”  This is from Birdsall V.P. Scott McFadden. One week later he joined the ranks of indicted officers of Birsdall in the Atty. General’s election fraud case against Birdsall (that included falsifying documents.)

Who are you going to believe?

“The change order amount is under the 20% which is the max allowed by the state”  Well here is Colleen Connelly’s $2.5 million dollar lie. Sure, if we built the seawall with the boardwalk for a total of $11.1mil that would be true. So lets go to Belmar beachfront and look……sorry, no seawall. Therefore they all lied and and they exceeded the max allowed  by NJ law by over 50%.

Sure this was in the past, so why bother?

I bother because it says a great deal about the the trustworthiness and integrity of Mayor Doherty, Colleen Connolly, and Paul Calabrese. It underscores the due diligence of the council members who will not ask questions and it underscores a group of residents who let this all happen.

Epic may have been the lowest bidder for the pavilions but expensive change orders would be in the future for us if we used Epic again. Better to use a contractor who keeps his word and doesn’t look to the administration to make excuses for him.


  1. B wrote:

    Maybe the citizen of the year would like to comment about her due negligence on this or maybe she should stick to cooking meatballs

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink
  2. Eugene Creamer wrote:

    Yep! … I’m guilty of watching Birdsall milk the $11M Belmar cow …. at the time … I was more concerned with Northgrave’s snake oil …. sometimes you gotta’ pick your battles from the abundance….
    Regarding the Epic pavilion “bargain” … when a contractor gives a “take it, or leave it” ultimatum … best to leave it.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink
  3. Teddy Ehmann wrote:

    Next time Gene, sit next to me so that when you nod off, I can give you a shove
    when they get to the wasteful spending portion of the meeting. My strategy for staying alert at that meeting was I was counting the lies. I had to see my physician the next day because of exposure to high levels of mendacity.
    Planning ahead I have made another appointment for the day after the July council meeting.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink
  4. Claire Deicke wrote:

    For B-Hiding behind a letter-and not using your name to insult me shows you for a person of little integrity, and cowardly-and you must have very low self esteem…..I pity you-I’ll stick to my statement of due diligence and keep making meatballs for my Sunday Italian dinners…instead of spending time on this type of activity, do something for your community-maybe you’ll be named citizen of the year…..reveal yourself for the coward you are…

    Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

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