Mayors Hern and Morgan Clash in Heated Exchange at New Providence Business & Professional Association Meeting Over Anonymous Posting

New Providence Mayor J. Brooke Hern Credits: Michael Daigle

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - An otherwise typical recitation of the state of the borough by Mayor J. Brooke Hern Thursday became interesting when the Mayor opened the floor to questions and a displeased Al Morgan challenged Hern about an alleged incident at a local gas station.

Morgan, a New Providence business owner, a Board member of the New Providence Business & Professional Association, and the borough’s mayor between 1999 and 2006, stated that NP Fuel’s owner Don Murphy had been “vilified” by an anonymous posting on an online newspaper forum. The blogger claimed that on Jan. 12 she did not receive the $20 worth of gas at NP Fuel she had paid for.

The blog post called for a “boycott” of NP Fuel.

Sign Up for E-News

Morgan defended Murphy’s honesty as a business owner and praised his contributions to the borough’s civic life.

Hern said he didn’t know the details of the incident, but Morgan said, that it involved ”your girlfriend.”

“I’m not involved in it,” Hern said.

He said he and Murphy had a brief discussion about the incident before the start of the New Providence Business and Professional Association meeting at Creative Wallcoverings and Interiors.

Some members of the Association at the meeting appeared unaware of the anonymous posting on and tried to defuse the situation.  Hern then told Morgan, that “this was not the venue to bring up” the alleged incident, and to do so was “despicable.”

“You’re quoting (Newt) Gingrich?” Morgan asked.

“I’ll quote him,” Hern said, “This is wrong and you know it.”

The mayor later claimed that politics was behind Morgan’s question.

Hern defeated Morgan for the Republican nomination for mayor in the 2010 primary.  Morgan endorsed Hern after the Republican primary and publicly campaigned for him.  Morgan is currently the Chairman of the New Providence Republican Committee.

Gary Kapner, in whose business the meeting took place, said he had written a letter to the editor of seeking to calm the situation.

The letter in part says, “I have been a customer of NP Fuel for twenty years and I have never had a problem there. Don Murphy, the owner of NP Fuel, is an active and generous member of the New Providence business community and I know him to be a reasonable man. There are always two sides to any story, whether there was a misunderstanding, an error or something else. I would like to believe that reasonable people can settle a business dispute like adults and not resort to anonymous muckraking.”

While outlining the business activity in the borough in the past year, Hern said, “The state of New Providence is good. We are ahead of the county, ahead of the state, and in many ways, ahead of the nation.”

He said the effort is being led by an active business community and a responsive borough council, which has changed the way the borough approached business activity.

Among key governmental changes, Hern said, was the consolidation of several offices into a department of planning and development that streamlines the government processes faced by business owners.

He also touted the creation of a business development committee comprised of borough officials and business owners.

The third, and biggest change, he said was the passage last November of the referendum that gave the council the power to sell up to four consumption liquor licenses.

He said borough restaurants could get the opportunity for new customers and restaurants from outside the borough are expressing interest in bidding for a license. Hern said the first license could be ready for sale mid-year.

Hern said that the addition of new business will be a plus for existing businesses.

“There is no such thing as negative competition,” he said. “When economists talk about economic growth they talk about the ripple effect. New businesses lift everyone.”

He said the goal of the council is not just to attract outside businesses to New Providence, but to support existing family businesses and encourage the establishment of new family businesses.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Providence

FREE Coffee & Tea Sip 'n Sample with GSWA

February 25, 2018

Take the sting out of this cold winter and tantalize your taste buds with a variety of delicious, hot coffees and teas.

We've teamed up with two local companies to offer you some of their most scrumptious flavors.

Black River Roasters has everything from mild to dark and rich, and Adagio Teas offers unique and interesting tea blends. We'll even spike a few for good measure! It's ...

Imagine Offers Bullies to Buddies Workshop


On March 8th from 6:30-8:00, Imagine, a Center for Coping with Loss is offering a Bullies to Buddies workshop and training presented by Imagine Clinical Training Director, Connie Palmer, LCSW, Certified Bullies to Buddies Trainer.  Bullying is a challenge for many students, but grieving children and youth are more likely to be bullied or become a bully.  The Bullies to Buddies ...

Giving Back: Learn How to Help Victims of Sexual Violence

Every year since 1984, trained volunteers with the Union County Rape Crisis Center have helped victims of sexual violence through the emotional, medical and legal aftermath of trauma. New volunteers are welcome to join the next series of training classes beginning on Thursday, March 22.

No previous experience in crisis counseling is necessary.

“Over the years our Rape Crisis Center ...

New Providence High School Presents The Addams Family -Tickets are Now On Sale

The Addams Family, who first came to life in the 1960s television series, will come back to life and take the stage at New Providence High School in March in a comedic musical twist on the classic story and characters.  Morticia, Gomez, Wednesday, Grandma, Fester, and Lurch, along with new characters and a full cast of Addams Ancestors will bring the creepy, kooky, all together ooky ...

Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains Prepares Gift Bags for Purim

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Volunteers from the Sisterhood of Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains prepared gift bags with masks, noisemakers, treats and traditional hamentashen cookies on Wednesday, Feb. 21. The gift bags will be delivered to the entire congregation before the Jewish holiday of Purim. 

Sixth and seventh-grade students in Congregation Beth Israel’s Religious ...

WFP Tax Partners Walks You Through 4 Step Tax Return Process

Over 80% of Tax Returns Have Errors or Missed Deductions. You're Probably Paying More Than Your Fair Share in Taxes

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Tax returns certainly give a clear picture of the past year, but WFP Tax Partners believes it's wise to strategize for the current year to have a plan for moving forward. 

At your tax appointment, they ...

Colleen Mahr Has Paid Her Dues, Earned Peoples’ Trust, and Left a Track Record of Success

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a 26-year-old Scotch Plains resident who cares more about the well-being of our town than about local politics, I am extremely disappointed that the Scotch Plains Democratic Committee leadership has decided to abandon Colleen Mahr in her run for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

Mahr, who as Mayor of Fanwood for 15 years has worked closely with Scotch Plains ...

We Need More Women Like Colleen Mahr in Municipal, County and State Government

Dear Editor:

I’m proud to support Colleen Mahr for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee  (UCDC) and am encouraging my Scotch Plains peers to join me.

I was a first time candidate wanting to make a difference in my hometown of Scotch Plains, when Mayor Mahr of neighboring Fanwood stepped in to help me campaign and win my election to be Councilwoman three years ago.

Local Advisor Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Roth IRA

February 23, 2018

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Roth IRA. First made available to American investors in 1998, a Roth IRA is an individual retirement account that is funded with after-tax dollars and provides tax-free growth and income for retirement.

In honor of this significant milestone, Walter Pardo, CEO/Certified Wealth Strategist at Wealth ...

Chatham Borough Police Chief Crosson has Retired; Captain Gibbons is Acting Commander

February 12, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Phil Crosson Jr., who has been a member of the Chatham Borough Police Department since 1992, retired from his position as the police chief on Feb. 1.

"It came on pretty quickly," Crosson said when reached by phone on Sunday. "I was on vacation for six weeks and I bought a business. I came back for one day and retired."

According to Crosson, ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, February 25

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green


Sun, February 25, 9:30 AM

New Providence

Tai Chi Chaun

Health & Wellness


Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend "Wacky Winter Olympics" Open House

Arts & Entertainment Other


Sun, February 25, 11:00 AM

The Connection, Summit

Rockette Style Workshop Series

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, February 25, 11:00 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, New Providence

Zumba meets Bolly DaZz

Health & Wellness

Sun, February 25, 3:00 PM

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield

“Showcase for Exceptional Young Artists” Features ...

Arts & Entertainment

I've Always Wanted to be a Doctor...Or an English Teacher

Think about the impossibility of the task we lay in front of high school students.  In addition to getting good grades, filling up a resume, finding the right colleges and writing countless admissions essays they also need to decide on their life’s passion at 17 years old...or do they?

As a college admissions representative the first question most students would ask me was whether ...