There was so much to wonder about at the reorganization meeting of the Atlantic Highlands council that it’s difficult to include it all in one Wondering Statement.

  When other municipalities apparently had no problem, one does wonder why this borough had to make arrangements, get help creating a meeting space, move the planned meeting to a bigger hall then at the last minute decide that wasn’t good enough either. So they finally decided to conduct their meeting virtually. Not letting the general public talk, of course, but making it possible for a couple of prayers by a priest and a great cheerful message from an Assemblywoman. It was just the general public who couldn’t be heard to add their own congratulations to the elected officials.

    Also strange how Senator O’Scanlon took on the honor of swearing in both a Keyport and an Atlantic Highlands councilman at the precise same time, especially, since at some point, and it’s never clear at which specific point that was, the Atlantic Highlands meeting was going to be in person. The Keyport meeting was always scheduled for virtual with their plan ahead attitude.

    The meeting was just over half an hour long…again, partially since one from the public was allowed to add congratulations or make comments….and also because the Mayor openly admitted she doesn’t like meetings. She suggested everyone read her end of year statement on the borough page rather than read it aloud to those citizens who took the time and interest to attend the meeting virtually.

     Nice to see the Democrats be so compatible, approving Councilman Boms for council president. We do wonder, though, along with them, why Councilman Steve Boracchia was selected for the honor. Was it because he was asked and did not want to be council president? Or was it because Councilman Boms is the borough’s GOP leader and something else is in the wings?


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    Also wondering..but this one I can look up…. whether minutes show meetings are held virtually or in person or both so that everyone will know in future years which occurred.  That question is prompted by the mayor saying at the beginning of the meeting that the meeting was being held in Borough Hall and virtually, when that couldn’t be happening at all. It certainly appeared she was the only elected official at borough hall.

     Didn’t get a chance to ask Councilman Crowley, again, no access to the public for questions or comments, why he opposed Mike Steib for special counsel. As an official who generally offers an alternative when he opposes something, he did not suggest any name nor give any reason in this case.

  There’s just so much to wonder about concerning what went into the decision making on how the reorganization meeting was being conducted.  It seems there were several people put to some inconveniences and extra work because of changes, and it appears it ended up being virtual because of the fear of Covid. Yet the Mayor made it part of the minutes to note the Fire Department was having its swearing in of the new Chief at the Shore Casino and all are invited shortly after the virtual council meeting. And she also mentioned the traditional visit of the Borough Council at the gala event at the Yacht Club, again shortly after the council meeting, when they swear in their new officers.  So is that to say the only place anyone could get Covid is at a council meeting in a big hall but no place else? There were no warnings, no admonishments to be careful if joining the crowd, just a mention that there were going to be not one, but two more LIVE meetings that were going to be going on a few minutes after the official business meeting of the borough ended virtually.   

   On the plus side, there was a camaraderie and an evident feeling of cooperation exhibited by all at the meeting, and that is refreshing, and not really very unusual in this borough.  Ms. Hohenleitner was the first to acknowledge Assemblywoman DiMaso was in on the meeting, the Democrats voted for Mr. Boms as council president, and both had nice things to say about the other new Republican councilmembers.

   But probably the best proof this looks like a council that really wants to work together came  when Ms. Hohenleitner praised the mayor for obviously thinking and planning well all her committee appointments, and making most of them include equal representation from both parties.  All except fire and police. She and Mr. Crowley both suggested at least one Democrat to both committees, with Mr. Crowley also speaking of his own experiences which would make him a good candidate to serve on either committee. Even so, he made it clear he was not promoting himself but rather the need to have both parties represented. After some more talk, it was Councilman Boms who came up with a compromise…why not have three members on those committees, instead of two? Everyone agreed, and so it is that in addition to Messrs. Murphy and Boms on fire and police, there would be a Democrat on each as well.  

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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...