11 Red Bank residents seek seats on charter study commission

RED BANK – A field of 11 residents is seeking five seats on a charter study commission that could be empaneled in Red Bank later this year.

When Red Bank residents go to the polls on Election Day, Nov. 2, they will be asked through a “yes” or “no” public question if they want to empanel a charter study commission.

At the same time, residents will have the opportunity to vote for as many as five individuals who would serve on the charter study commission.

If a majority of residents votes in favor of creating a charter study commission, the five individuals who receive the most votes will have seats on the commission.

The charter study commission would conduct hearings and public forums, collect evidence and make recommendations in keeping with its charge to determine if the borough’s current form of government is the most appropriate for Red Bank.

Several forms of government are available for New Jersey municipalities.

Red Bank currently has a partisan political form of government that consists of six Borough Council members who serve staggered three-year terms and a directly elected mayor who serves a four-year term.

The council members vote on action items (i.e., resolutions and ordinances). The mayor only votes on action items if there is a tie on a specific item.

Democrats currently hold all six council seats and the mayor’s office.

A May 3 memorandum prepared by Borough Attorney Greg Cannon states that a charter study commission and a direct petition are the two methods of changing a municipal government in New Jersey.

The 11 Red Bank residents who are running to serve on the charter study commission are Scott Broschart, who previously served on the Township Committee in Hazlet; Michael DuPont, who previously served on the Borough Council in Red Bank; Nancy Facey-Blackwood, who is a member of the Red Bank Environmental Commission;

And, Ben Forest, who is a member of the Red Bank Borough Public Schools Board of Education; Jesse Garrison, a former member of the Red Bank Zoning Board of Adjustment; John Gosden, a former member of the library board; Aimee Humphreys, who previously served on the Borough Council in Fair Haven;

Also, John Jackson, a member of the local Democratic organization; Kate Okeson, who chairs the Human Relations Advisory Commission; Mark Taylor, who previously served on the Borough Council in Red Bank; and Thomas Wieczerzak, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey deputy fire chief.

Broschart, Facey-Blackwood, Forest, Okeson and Taylor are running as a team for the five seats on the charter study commission.

DuPont, Garrison, Gosden, Humphreys, Jackson and Wieczerak are campaigning on an individual basis for seats on the charter study commission.

On Nov. 2, residents may vote for up to five individuals to serve on the charter study commission. Residents do not have to vote for all of the candidates who have indicated they are running as a team.