ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - The Atlantic Highlands Mayor and Borough Council held their reorganizational meeting at the customary noon hour on New Year's Day in Borough Hall.
The Rev. William Bendick of Living Word Christian Church gave the invocation and Mayor Fred Rast III led the room in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
The crowd of about 75 well-wishers spilled out of the council chamber and into the hallway as Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno swore in re-elected Republican Councilmembers John C. "Jack" Archibald, Jr. and his running mate Peter Doyle. Doyle is returning for his 4th three-year term on the council and Archibald begins his 7th term.
PHOTO; Peter Doyle is sworn in by Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. credit: Joseph Barbieri
Because of her very busy schedule, the Lt. Governor said she was unable to stay for the remainder of the ceremony.
In a surprize move, Republican Councilman Louis Fligor nominated Democrat Roy Dellosso to be Council President for the one-year term.
The council is split with four Republicans and two Democrats and a Republican Mayor who votes in the event of a council tie vote.
Republicans Louis Fligor and Jacob "Jake" Hoffman along with Democrats Roy Dellosso and Robert Sutton provided the yes votes. Republicans Archibald and Doyle voted no.
The Council President seat is typically given to a member of the majority party and usually a majority member who is up for re-election in that year. The Council President runs the meeting when the Mayor is absent and is sometimes called on by the media to respond to certain issues that arise in town.
Behind the scenes, Mr. Fligor and Mr. Archibald have both expressed interest in running for Mayor this year. Mr. Rast's second term as Mayor expires at the end of this year and he has said he will not run again. Mr. Dellosso and Mr. Robert Sutton, both Democrats will be up for re-election this year.
The Lt. Governor was very upset about what was about to transpire with the Council President vote and she made her displeasure known to the Mayor, councilmembers and others in the backroom before the meeting, saying it made Republicans look bad that they were not supporting their own, according to two sources.
Other appointments include:
Municipal Attorney - Bernard Reilly
Auditor - Thomas Fallon
Bond Counsel - John Draikowitz
Municipal Prosecutors - Giordano Hanlon, Chief Prosecutor and James Butler, Jr., Prosecutor
Public Defender - Douglas Widman
COAH Counsel - Jeffrey Surenian
Code Enforcement - Richard Rast
Tax Collector - Debra Hough
Tax Assessor - Rene Frotton
In his annual message at the close of the meeting, Mayor Rast said he not run again and has his own ideas about of who should replace. He said the candidate should have "experience winning elections and not be controlled by outside interests." When asked after the meeting who he had in mind for the position, the mayor said he was "not ready to share."
Asked about the Council President vote after the meeting, Republican Municipal Chairwoman Jane Frotton said she was not happy with the vote. She said, "Republicans should support Republicans."
Neither Archibald nor Fligor were prepared to comment on the Council President vote. Both expressed their committment of support for the town.