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Nicastro resigns as a Howell commissioner on sewerage authority

HOWELL – Robert Nicastro has resigned from his appointed position as one of Howell’s two commissioners on the Manasquan River Regional Sewerage Authority (MRRSA) Board of Commissioners.

In the April 26 letter of resignation he submitted to the MRRSA’s executive director, Nicastro wrote, “I am resigning from my commissioner’s position at MRRSA due to a schedule conflict. My business schedule has recently changed, making it impossible to attend their meetings as usual. … I am glad to have served on the MRRSA and grateful for the opportunity and valuable experience I have earned.”

Nicastro’s resignation was accepted by the Howell Township Council during a meeting on April 26.

Deputy Mayor Pamela Richmond, Councilman John Bonevich, Councilwoman Suzanne Brennan and Councilwoman Evelyn O’Donnell voted “yes” on a motion to accept Nicastro’s resignation.

Richmond, Brennan and O’Donnell are Republicans. Bonevich is a Democrat.

Democratic Mayor Theresa Berger was absent from the meeting.

Richmond, who chaired the meeting in the mayor’s absence, thanked Nicastro for his service on the authority and said “his resignation comes with a heavy heart because he has done a lot for this town and we should be very grateful for the time he has put into this township. He will continue to serve on the Planning Board and he will continue to serve his community.”

Earlier this year, resident Steve Morlino filed a legal complaint against the township, the Township Council and the Planning Board in which he alleged that Nicastro, who was serving on the Howell Planning Board and on the MRRSA Board of Commissioners, was not legally permitted to sit on both boards simultaneously.

Morlino is a former Democratic municipal chairman in Howell.

Nicastro is a former Republican member of the Township Council.

The MRRSA was created in 1972 and serves commercial and industrial customers in Farmingdale, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Howell and Wall Township.

Morlino’s complaint stated that Howell residents were previously advised they could not serve simultaneously on the Planning Board and on the MRRSA.

On Jan. 1, 2019, Nicastro was appointed as a Class IV member of the Planning Board for a four-year term.

On May 19, 2020, Nicastro was appointed as a Howell commissioner on the MRRSA Board of Commissioners to fill a vacant seat.

Voting “yes” on Nicastro’s appointment to the MRRSA were Republican Councilman Thomas Russo, Richmond and O’Donnell. Voting “no” were Bonevich and Berger.

On Jan. 26, 2021, Nicastro was appointed to a five-year term as a Howell commissioner on the MRRSA Board of Commissioners. O’Donnell, Richmond and Russo voted “yes” on the appointment. Bonevich and Berger voted “no.”

A Howell resident subsequently notified municipal officials of the alleged improper simultaneous service by Nicastro on the two boards, according to Morlino’s complaint.

After accepting Nicastro’s resignation from the MRRSA, Richmond, Bonevich, Brennan and O’Donnell voted “yes” on a motion to appoint Robert Fischer to succeed Nicastro as a Howell commissioner and to serve through Jan. 31, 2026.

Fischer will join the authority’s board that also includes Jesse Tantillo of Howell; Michael Wilson and Richard Gartz of Freehold Borough; Richard Gatto and Julisa Garcia of Freehold Township; James Daly and Patricia Linszky of Farmingdale; and Olga McKenna and Mary DeSarno of Wall Township.

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