ATL. HIGHLANDS – Senator Declan O’Scanlon  tried doing a virtual balancing act at the municipal reorganization meetings January 1st, assuring newly elected councilmembers in Keyport and Atlantic Highlands he would be present to swear them both in, even though  the towns are several miles apart and were scheduled for the same time.

GOP Councilwoman Lori Davidson in Keyport, and Sen. O’Scanlon swore in Atlantic Highlands Councilman James Murphy to his second term on that borough’s council.

Both meetings were held virtually, with Atlantic Highlands making an 11th hour decision to proceed with the meeting in that fashion. The meeting had previously been set for Borough Hall, then changed to have the reorganization meeting in the Charles Hess Hall at St. Agnes Church to accommodate residents in a larger space.

However, while Mayor Loretta Gluckstein said the meeting was being held both virtually and in Borough Hall, because of the upswing in Covid cases, it appeared that with the exception of the mayor, all council members were attending the meeting virtually, and there was no meeting at Borough Hall or at the Hess Center.

While Keyport announced and held their meeting virtually including a public portion to enable virtual attendees to participate, Atlantic Highlands did not hold a public portion of their meeting. It did, however, open the virtual audio session to enable Assemblywoman DiMaso to speak and congratulate council members. The Rev Jarlath Quinn, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help St Agnes Church, also spoke virtually, giving prayers at both the beginning and end of the meeting and congratulating all council members.


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Keyport had included notice on its official webpage that the meeting would be held virtually including a public comment portion to enable members of the public and including members of the public to participate via video conference.

In Keyport Davidson becomes the only Republican on that borough’s governing body in her first elected term, and was elected with Democrat Kathleen McNamara, who was sworn into her first term by Mayor Colette Kennedy. Both terms are for three years.

In Atlantic Highlands, with O’Scanlon not available for a few minutes to swear in Murphy, Democrat Brian Dougherty was the first of the two elected in November to be sworn into the three year term. Democrat Councilmembers Jon Crowley and Lori Hohenleitner shared the honors of administering the oath of office to Dougherty. The Councilman was at home and took the oath virtually, with his wife  and their three children standing by honoring their father. O’Scanlon appeared virtually minutes later and administered the oath to Murphy.

DiMaso also spoke at the Atlantic Highlands virtual session, congratulating all the elected councilmembers as well as praising Gluckstein and the council for all their efforts and work in the past.  She expressed special praise and appreciation for the borough  and wished everyone well. Apparently referring to her no longer being an assemblywoman with the swearing in of her successor, DiMaso also said she would “always be a friend to Atlantic Highlands, regardless of title.”  She urged anyone in need to call on her for any assistance she could give, and said she was looking forward to a positive and fulfilling year.

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Muriel J. Smith

Muriel J Smith

Muriel J Smith an award-winning journalist, former newspaper editor, book author and historian, Her newest venture is her blog, in...