Their motivation has not been and is not good government. Their motivation has been to elect Democratic freeholders. Period, end of story.
In order to bring about this goal, the APP and its editors, while hiding behind the screen of populism and good government, criticizes every action and policy of the county.
Now, let's have a go at their editorial [Bold & bracketed comments are mine.]:
Before William C. Barham was elected Monmouth County freeholder director for a second straight year last week, board members were stalemated on whether the job should be rotated.
We agree with Freeholder Lillian Burry's position that no freeholder should serve as director for more than two consecutive years, though she was likely jockeying for the job in 2008. [Jockeying for the job. And this is a problem because? Wouldn't Burry as director meet your goal of rotation?] Burry campaigned on tenure limits when she ran with Barham in 2005. Barham has made it clear he doesn't want to surrender the title anytime soon.
"The director's job is more about what has to be done tomorrow than today," he said. "You have to see what needs to be done 20 years down the road." Actually, that's the job of the whole board.
Barham cited his qualifications in presenting the case that he should retain the position. Which ones? His employment with a construction firm now hundreds of thousands of dollars over budget and three years behind schedule on its renovation work at the County Hall of Records? [This project is nothing new. And you only report on it now?] Or being the handpicked successor of the late Harry Larrison Jr., who served as director for 21 of his 39 years on the board and was charged shortly before his death with soliciting bribes from two developers? [Simply because Larrison was charged with taking bribes doesn't mean that Barham takes bribes too. Guilty by association? Or does the APP know something we don't? If so, please report what you know to U. S. Attorney Chris Christie. Otherwise, knock off the National Enquirer garbage.]
Barham said the job's "not a political position, it's a working position with a lot of responsibility." No, it's not. It's about ego. [Ohhhh. So that's why the State Legislature provided for the selection of a Freeholder Director. Ego. Riiiiight.] He gets to run meetings and sign county documents. [Running meetings. That's the people's business. Signing county documents. Like multi-million dollar contracts? But none of that is a lot of responsibility. Noooooo.] Those are the only additional official duties of the director. [Welllll, if the directorship is not that important, why even bother with this editorial?]
Last year, though not all board members had publicly declared who they supported and Freeholder Ted Narozanick expressed interest in the job, Barham was able to produce a nameplate identifying himself as director immediately after the vote. [Maybe he had privately polled the membership beforehand and realized he had the votes. You need to count to three to get anything passed by the Board of Freeholders. In fact, last year, Barham actually got only three votes.]Craving the job that badly is unhealthy. [Unhealthy? Oh, like repeatedly slanted and inaccurate reporting? Hellooo Bald Avenger.]
Burry, who was voted deputy director last week, said she would support Barham this year, but that "I strongly believe two years is enough and someone new should be picked next year." Namely, herself. [And this is a problem because??? You have a problem with a second year for Barham, and you have a problem with Burry being interested in the directorship. Who, pray tell, does the Asbury Park Depress actually want for Freeholder Director??? And, no, you can't dig up Raymond Kramer.]
Barham said he won't go along with any restrictions on how many consecutive years a director can serve in the future. No surprise there. And Freeholder Robert Clifton, who has presented himself as a reformer but has moved in lockstep with Barham [Lockstep? Like on the vote to reappoint County Counsel Malcolm Carton? Come on, what does the APP take its readers for? Stupid? Note that most routine business votes on the Board are unanimous; the County Counsel is a pretty important vote; Clifton and Freeholder Anna C. Little were the dissenters.], would only say he prefers an unofficial agreement that directors not serve more than two years.
The other freeholders — Democrat Barbara McMorrow and Anna Little — should join with Burry and insist on a two-year limit for the director's job. [I would even go for a one-year limit. But anything the Board does can be undone by a later Board, making it an unenforceable gentlemen's agreement. The State Legislature can impose a limit on a director's terms, and even on a freeholders' terms.] And they should work to ensure that it goes to someone next year who doesn't regard the post as a birthright. [And who does the APP think that should be? If they really believed this issue to be important, and not simply an opportunity to sling mud, they could have made a recommendation prior to the reorganization, i. e., "We like ____ because...". ]
Rotating the directorship is a good idea, but it's not a be all - end all. For the Depress to act as though it is is disingenuous at best. They have set a policy wherein every action taken by the Board of Freeholders is wrong.
The Depress' goal is twofold: To elect a Democratic Board, and to be a "player" in the New Jersey political scene. Their parent company, Gannett, can be viewed as either a third political party, or a special interest group like the New Jersey Educational Association.
It is important in a free society to have a free press vigilant to governmental abuse. But when that press goes beyond vigilance and slants its reporting to suit an agenda, just how free are we?