Category Archives: Keansburg

New council took stage in Keansburg: VIDEOS

The borough of Keansburg had its 18th reorganization meeting today in Borough Hall.

Arthur Boden was selected by the council as this year’s mayor, and James Cocuzza as deputy mayor.

First-timer Anthony DePompa joined Lisa Strydio and George Hoff to round out the council.

The court room was packed to the brim with guests and political figures, including Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, Assemblyman Sam Thompson and Joseph Oxley, as well as many of the Freeholders.

To view my video series of the various committee members being sworn in, click on the headline for my YouTube account.

PHOTOS: (All Melissa L. Gaffney)


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Filed under Anthony DePompa, Art Boden, Borough Council, Freeholders, George Hoff, James Cocuzza, Joe Kyrillos, Keansburg, Lisa Strydio, Sam Thompson

Favorite beach or waterfront of the Bayshore

You voted (all 19 of you!). It was tight. But ultimately, Keansburg is your favorite beach or waterfront of the Bayshore.

Check back for some Keansburg fun during the summer months.

In the meantime, check out the Keansburg Amusement Park Web site.

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Filed under Beach, Keansburg, The Bayshore, Waterfront

"The $740,000 goodbye" – Don’t forget the past nine years

I found something on about Barbara Trzeszkowski’s “$740,000 goodbye” that I love.

It’s bloggers’ reactions to the severance buyout, and it includes Monmouth’s own, Art Gallagher.

During my research, I had OPRA’d all of Trzeszkowski’s contracts. (OPRA = Open Public Records Act)

For my article in this week’s issue of The Courier, I decided to compile a companion chart tracking Trzeszkowski’s salary during her almost ten years as superintendent.

I think it’s needless to say that if she was looking to “sneak in” some money for her . . . lack of compensation, you could say? . . . Well, there really is just no argument there.

The numbers speak for themselves.

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Filed under Art Gallagher, Barbara Trzeszkowski, Keansburg, MoreMonmouthMusings,

Handin doesn’t take defeat very well

Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, R-District 13, is featured online in an article by Jim McConville of The Asbury Park Press.

Basically, Handlin does not think the approximately six-hour Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Open House at the Keansburg Senior Center on Friday, June 13, is “enough.”

I’m beginning to think Amy should just go work for FEMA, considering she’s so “concerned” about the way the agency operates.

I also think Handlin is doing residents a disservice by criticizing the agency who is willing to help. Albeit, it took a few weeks. But, as Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., said, these things take time.

Then again, she’s just trying to buy more time for her petition that FEMA representatives have said several times is nothing more than a collection of signatures.

And only about 1,300 signatures at that. I guess Handlin has a screening process, considering there are at least 4,300 new residences affected by the updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), including about 1,800 in both Keansburg and Middletown, respectively.

Handlin thinks the meeting would be better suited for Middletown. Of course she would, she has screaming authority there. Being the meeting is in Keansburg, the assemblywoman has no platform, therefore no say. Also no respect, in my opinion.

Overall, another sad attempt by Amy Handlin to take the public’s eyes away from the fact that Pallone has done something good for the Bayshore. His efforts, as well as other pieces of legislation supported by senators Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both D-N.J., are the actions that will truly affect the area.

As to having a “series” of these meetings: What do you want, FEMA for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Take a chill pill, the meetings are going to come. And if not, I’m sure every Monmouth County resident can rest assured knowing AMY HANDLIN will bug the brains out of FEMA until the agency shows up.

From the APP:

“That has been the story of our lives for many weeks,” Handlin said. “FEMA has been distinctly unresponsive, but at least they’ve finally seemed to open the door a crack.”

Actually, the agency’s door has been open for the past few weeks. Wide open, really. I’ve been able to call FEMA on an almost-daily basis and speak to an actual person. And, get this: I’ve had my questions answered.

Maybe Handlin hasn’t done enough? Or maybe FEMA officials aren’t returning her calls?

Gee, where have I heard that story before.

PHOTO: The only shot my camera could take of Amy Handlin during her petition drive in Union Beach, weeks ago. That was when she claimed she had almost 1,000 signatures and was just about ready to “hand deliver” her petition to FEMA. (Melissa L. Gaffney)

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Filed under Amy Handlin, Congressman Frank Pallone, FEMA, FEMA Open House, Keansburg, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Sen. Robert Menendez

Nothing better to do in Keansburg?

The Asbury Park Press ran an article in the Sunday paper about Keansburg Superintendent Barbara Trzeszkowski and the borough’s lack of attendance at the most recent Board of Education meeting, despite its voice elsewhere.

Jackie Corley posted something about this on her blog, as did Jim Purcell. My turn.

The APP also also posted an Editor’s Note on May 28 about the “record number of comments” received online regarding the situation.

I saw both Kevin Penton and Jim McConville at the school board meeting. I see the two kept tabs on exactly how long the board was in executive session, and also noted how the room seemingly filtered out as the hours grew long.

Penton wrote in today’s article that, when the board reconvened, “the only people sitting in the audience were two reporters, a woman and two barefoot children. None spoke.”

Gee, let’s not stereotype Keansburg or anything. Let’s also not pat ourselves on the back for being such diligent reporters. That’s rather self-indulgent, if you ask me. Good for them, though, they sat there to get a story. Now it seems as though the borough is being criticized for not doing the same.

I take it Penton spent “a recent afternoon” in the borough, as is stated in his article. I’m impressed, as I typically don’t see many other reporters in the area on any given day other than when there’s a meeting. Especially ones with laptops and fedoras. Just saying, no offense intended. (If you’re going to criticize Keansburg, expect it in return.)

I’ve spent a lot of time in the borough. I like the area and the people. Keansburg is a unique town in the Bayshore, the “gem,” if you will. From the time I’ve spent there, I’ve gathered a close-knit community constantly on the defense for actions taken by either the municipality or the school system. Some people don’t feel they have a voice in the town when it comes to issues like this. Especially when it comes to severance packages (aka money).

That is, however, no reason to articulate for them. Obviously, aside from spending two and half hours in an [empty] meeting, if you spend time in Keansburg, its culture comes out of the woodwork.

And hey, get this: I spoke to that woman and the two “barefoot children.” She actually had a lot say.

Most people do, when you take the time to listen.

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Filed under Barbara Trzeszkowski, Jackie Corley, Jim McConville, Jim Purcell, Keansburg, Kevin Penton, The Asbury Park Press

BREAKING NEWS: No more injunction, attorney general asks N.J. Superior Court to void Trzeszkowski’s severance

Below is the press release I just received from Lee Moore in the attorney general’s office.

Moore said the attorney general is asking the N.J. Superior Court to declare the Keansburg severance “null and void” because it violates state law, public policy, et cetera.

He said what is in the press release and the court papers stands as the attorney general’s comment for now.

For Immediate Release
May 30, 2008

For Further Information Contact:
Lee Moore (609) 292-4791

Attorney General Asks Court to Void Half-Million-Dollar Severance for Keansburg Educator

TRENTON – Attorney General Anne Milgram announced today that, acting on behalf of New Jersey Education Commissioner Lucille Davy, lawyers for the state have filed a complaint in Superior Court seeking to have declared “null and void” a $556,290 severance payout by the Keansburg Board of Education to Superintendent Barbara Trzeszkowski.

“For a school board to so outrageously enrich a former superintendent through this type of ‘golden parachute’ at the expense of the children of Keansburg and the State’s taxpayers is not only contrary to public policy and unconscionable, it violates the fiduciary duty and loyalty the Board owes to the public,” asserts a legal brief filed by the State this afternoon in the Law Division of Superior Court in Mercer County.

The brief was filed in support of a five-count state complaint naming Trzeszkowski, the Keansburg Board of Education and school district as defendants. The complaint alleges that the $556,290 in severance to be paid under contract by Keansburg schools is “nothing more than a bonus given to Trzeszkowski at the time of her retirement” and violates the law.

The State’s legal papers note that Davy has a substantial interest in the Keansburg matter because she has authority, as Education Commissioner, to ensure a thorough and efficient education to all school children in New Jersey, and has authority to guard against the misspending of public funds targeted for educational purposes.

A former Abbott or “special needs” school district, Keansburg received approximately $31 million in state aid for the current school year. In the previous school year, Keansburg received approximately $34 million in state aid. In both years, state aid made up the bulk of Keansburg’s overall school budget.

“Effectuation of the ‘severance’ provision and other terms of Trzeszkowski’s contract will mean that Trzeszkowski is to be paid $740,876 over the next five years – an amount that exceeds four times her final annual salary as superintendent. But the children of Keansburg and the taxpayers of the State will receive no services from her during those five years,” notes the brief filed on behalf of Commissioner Davy.

In addition, the state’s complaint alleges that the severance package is unlawful and should be voided because:

  • It violates New Jersey public policy in that public funds are being used to pay for an “unreasonable and excessive (severance) provision” benefiting Trzeszkowski and not the students of Keansburg
  • The Keansburg school board members who originally approved of Trzeszkowski’s contract in February 2004 “breached their fiduciary obligation to the citizens of Keansburg and New Jersey to adequately protect the public funds in their care from inappropriate and excessive expenditures.”
  • The contract lacks “valid consideration” in that the severance provision was calculated – and Trzeszkowski was made immediately eligible to receive the severance payout – based on her 30-plus years of service in Keansburg, most of which was spent in jobs other than superintendent.
  • It “inappropriately” binds future Keansburg school boards for related costs, including administrative costs, arising under the contract for five years after the contract has terminated.

Assistant Attorney General Howard McCoach is handling the Keansburg matter on behalf of the State.

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Filed under Anne Milgram, Barbara Trzeszkowski, Keansburg, Severance Package, State Attorney General

Super party?

Keansburg Superintendent Barbara Trzeszkowski will celebrate her retirement tonight during a party in Holmdel, from what I’ve been told.

Apparently, tickets for the event are $70, and there are still some available. Where and from whom, I have no idea.

It will be held at the PNC Bank Arts Center banquet hall, which has a name no one seems to be able to recall, including Google.

I heard from a bird that reporters might show up. I would think young people have better things to do on a Friday night than burden this woman who is trying to retire in peace.

No matter what the circumstances, I draw the line at some point. Especially when it comes to crashing Barbara Trzeszkowski’s retirement party.

I do, however, think the fact that one would have to pay to attend this retirement party is slightly inconsiderate. What if students want to attend? I’m pretty sure none of them have an extra $70 sitting around, nor should they have to spend money if they want to honor their superintendent.

Not to mention the cost is rather outrageous, even for an “upscale” location, the name of which is not well recorded, if you ask me.

I hope the superintendent enjoys her party. She put in all those years for something, even if it does involve money.

She should at least take a moment for reflection. And maybe another to have a drink.

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Filed under Barbara Trzeszkowski, Keansburg, PNC Bank