Thursday, May 04, 2006

BOARD OF ELECTIONS

This one has been somewhat below the radar, but it should be discussed.
Chairman Fred Niemann has quietly been making changes on the Monmouth County Board of Elections. This four-member board consists by statute of two Republicans and two Democrats nominated by their respective county chairman and appointed by the governor. The senior commissioners from each party become the Chairman and Secretary. The Board of Elections is responsible for the conduct of elections within the county, and oversees the hundreds of District Boards.
Until recently, the Republicans on the Board were Robin Lemesevski of Freehold Township, and Barbara Muzetska of Eatontown.
Last year, Niemann nominated Norine E. Kelly of Howell to replace Robin. Mrs. Kelly is also Vice Chairman of the Monmouth County Republican Committee, and GOP Municipal Chairman in Howell. This changed the seniority on the board, and Democrat Leah Falk became secretary.
Barbara Muzetska was still chairman, until earlier this year when Niemann nominated Karen Haines of Middletown as a replacement. Karen is the Republican Headquarters manager.
This has thrown the seniority on the board squarely to the Democrats, with Leah Falk as Chairman.

11 comments:

Sue Veitengruber said...

Honest Abe,

I believe Kelly became the secretary because there are some bylaws to the effect that the chair and the secretary have to be opposite political parties. These two positions are paid $12,000 more than the other two commissioners.

During the school board elections there was an all out effort by Kelly to stop programs and events in the Howell elementary and middle schools such as a Blood Drive, Clothing Drive and Inventor's Fair, Spring Art Show and Jazz Concert, Staff and Student talent show, "Make it and Take it" craft night for the kids", and a Poetry Reading in Celebration of Poetry Month simply because she did not want a good turn out for the school election.

Yes Norine Kelly actually put her demands to the Howell School Board in writing on Commission letterhead. Of course she only directed her wrath towards Howell Township and only she signed the letter to the Howell Board of Education. Kelly was angry that these programs might bring out voters.

By her own admission she was so incensed about the BOE and individual schools not caving into her demands that she contacted the Attorney General's office who also refused to cave to her demands.

At the Howell GOP County Committee meeting Kelly was angry that the High School District had "allowed" 18 year olds to register and encouraged them to vote. Contrary to the rumor now being passed around by those who are angry that they did not manage to shoot down the high school school budget, the students were not given a day off if they went and voted.

This is a first for the Monmouth County Board of Elections. In thirty years I have never seen this kind of interference with school elections.The Board of Elections job is to oversee the elections,not determine what programs can be run in the schools on what days, or who can encourage voters to vote. Not one word of how to vote was incorporated into these programs which have existed for at least thiry years in the Howell School district and occured in many, many more. If anything the actions were an attempt to stifle voter turnout.

john doe said...

seems howell needs a new chairman

William H Seward said...

More than Howell needing a new chairperson, it sounds like Monmouth County needs a new Election Commissioner.

If what Sue says is true, and I'd bet she could back it up, Ms. Kelly should call the Attorney General's office again to arrange her surrender.

Honest Abe said...

Sue, do you have the text of Norine's letter?

Sue Veitengruber said...

The letter was received by the Howell BOE at 9:15 am on April 7, 2006. April 7th was a half day for the Howell Schools.

On Monmouth County Board of Elections letterhead:(as typed in caps)

April 7, 2006

ATTN: xxxxx xxxxx
HOWELL TOWNSHIP SCHOOL BOARD

AS PER OUR CONVERSATIONS, I WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU WOULD FURNISH ME WITH A LIST, AS REQUESTED, OF ALL PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES BEING HELD ON TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 2006.

I WOULD LIKE THIS INFORMATION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE -
PREFERABLY BY NOON TODAY.

SINCERELY,

NORINE KELLY
COMMISSIONER/SECRETARY

The letter was preceeded and followed up with demands to cancel the programs by Kelly, not the rest of the commissioners.
**************************
Kelly publicly opposed the school budgets, Howell and Freehold Regional.In one communication Kelly stated:

"I objected to the planned Scavenger Hunt. Notice was sent to the Board of Education telling them to cancel the plans for the Scavenger Hunt. I thought that would end the problems. I guess I should have realized that they would try another trick to get their voters out to support the budget." --------- (Kelly listed all the programs she objected to) ----- "I guess they are going to bring out the voters no matter what we do. I tried to stop these events because they are all within the flaged area of the polling places. The School administrators said they should not interfere with the voting process." ---------
" I contacted the Attorney Generals Office in Trenton ."
**************************

Now whether you were for or against your local school budget, im my opinion, it is not the Board of Elections Commissioners job to keep voter turn out low in hopes that a school budget would be defeated. The get out the vote efforts of PTAs, Education groups and BOEs really are no different than the GOTV efforts of the Republicans and Democrats and the numerous offers of free rides to polling places in November. The job of an Election Commissioner is to oversee an election, not dictate an individual's vote. Just my opinion.

john doe said...

fred is not running as of yesterday.

COME TOGETHER

THE BEATLES

Honest Abe said...

And your source, Herr Kaiser?

john doe said...

WHY WOULD KS NEED A SOURCE

JIM_PURCELL said...

sue from howell may be controversial sometimes, and who isn't? but kelly stopping a blood drive, clothing drive, art show, etc. ranks right up there with putting one's finger into a lightbulb socket for intelligence. it's not unexpected in howell politics, but this sort of thing does put the critical thinking skills (or lack thereof) of fred's inner circle on display.

what's fred's formula for choosing leaders...darts?

i don't blame kelly...being dense is a one day at a time thing. naw, fred owns the samsonite on this one. i guess he's burning things down before he turns over the keys to the building.

he'd do that. no one ever accused him of being a good chair. this sort of nonsesne should be remembered later, when he's scratching for work after anything that happens in june.

i guess no more all-expense paid super bowl junkits then for chairman spray on tan.

Honest Abe said...

JIM_PURCELL addressed...

"i guess no more all-expense paid super bowl junkits then for chairman spray on tan.
"


No, now he has to settle for the party buying gasoline for his car.

Sue Veitengruber said...

Jim,

Kelly only tried to stop the events. She was thwarted by PTA officers and school officials, and apparently the attorney general's office who stood up to her nonsense. But it was a really bad move on her part, nonetheless.