RED BANK, NJ: Referring to borough Business Administrator Ziad "Z" Shehady, “It is my opinion that this is a retaliatory act to slight the unions because of their earlier grievances,” said councilman Ed Zipprich.

And that began the start of a contentious meeting initiated with the public comments of Kevin Tauro, President of Local Union 1035 representing two part-time sanitation and recycling employees on a resolution to eliminate their jobs. 

Tauro discussed how he declined a proposal from borough Business Administrator Ziad Shehady for the employees to take a pay cut.  “We were told by your attorney to take it or leave it.  You’re a Democratic town, you should be ashamed of yourselves,” said Tauro.

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Councilman Zipprich made a motion to table the resolution, but was defeated.  The resolution passed with councilman Ballard and Zipprich voting “No.”

“The DPW has been the constant recipient of staff reductions over the past 15 years.  I object to the Business Administrator’s placing this on the agenda without even the courtesy of a reply to any of my emails, especially after adding to his own staff,” said Zipprich after the vote. 

Be sure to watch the video of the responses from several council members.

The council passed the following resolutions:

  • To oppose the construction and installation of a methane gas pipeline through the Raritan Bay, Lower New York Bay, and Atlantic Ocean from Old Bridge, New Jersey to Rockaway, New York.  To read the resolution, click HERE.
  • Payment of bills in the amount exceeding $4.2m.  To see a breakdown of the services billed, click HERE.
  • To authorize a grant application to the Mandatory Source Separation Recycling Act to develop new and expand municipal recycling programs. To read the resolution, click HERE.

Wrapping up the meeting with the second public comments portion was the questioning of the council on the borough’s finances.  

“To be clear, there are not checks on the agenda that need to be approved by the council.  I am assuming some checks have to go to out.  Where is the checklist showing vendors and amounts that is normally published to back the transparency mantra that is always talked about?” asked Red Bank resident Suzanne Viscomi. 

Previous council ZOOM meetings have shown the faces of the council and business administrator with each in their own visual “square” on a single screen.  This online meeting showed only individual faces.

Viscomi inquired about how the online meeting was presented saying, “Talking about transparency, where is everyone's faces?  You can tell a lot by people’s reactions - if they are paying attention to the comments or playing on their cell phone or those who roll their eyes.  Again, where is the transparency?  All prior meetings we saw the face of everyone the whole time, as if we were actually in the meeting.”   

To read the entire agenda, click HERE.

To watch the video of the meeting, click HERE.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 27th.

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