Friday, January 04, 2008


Happy New Year!

History was made yesterday afternoon with the unanimous selection of Lillian Beneforti Burry as the first woman to serve as Director of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders. She is also the first Italian - American to lead the Board.

Director Burry's selection also puts to rest fears that her predecessor as director, Bill Barham, would continue to hold the post in a Larrisonian imperial directorship.

Rob Clifton, who was reelected at the last election, will be deputy director for 2008.

The Asbury Park Press article is here; in the hard copy of the paper an editorial decision was made to place the article not only "below the fold", but at the very bottom of the page. For all their crying about Bill Barham's second year as Director last year, I guess an actual change in the directorship is not really newsworthy in their eyes.

A big thank you to Bill Barham for his service as director for the past two years. This blog has sometimes been critical of Bill, but director is a tough job and we thank him for his time. We also thank Highlands Mayor Anna Little for her service as a freeholder during the same time. During her term on the Board, she was subjected to vitriolic attacks from a faction within our own party, the ultimate source of which is yet to be exposed. Freeholder Little handled these attacks with class and aplomb, and I'm sure we have not heard the last of Anna Little.

The Monmouth County Republican Blog wishes Director Burry, Deputy Director Clifton and the entire Board of Chosen Freeholders the best of luck in 2008!

Some Friday Randomness

Many of you have been following the news coverage of the dispute between the Board of Chosen Freeholders and the County Board of Elections vis-à-vis who has the authority to hire Election Board staff. (Here and here.)

We hate to say we told you so, but we told you so. Back in 2005, then-County Chairman Fred Niemann decided that he would make changes on the County Board. He began by replacing Commissioner Robin Lemesevski of Freehold Township with Howell Municipal Chair Norine Kelly. He followed up in 2006 by replacing Election Board Chairman Barbara Muzetska with Karen Haines of Middletown, his county headquarters office manager.
This threw the seniority on the Board to the Democrats, led by Leah Falk of Aberdeen Township. We now have the dispute leading into the February 5th Super Duper Tuesday Presidential Primary.

Giving the issue the flavor of The Jerry Springer Show is a near Rasta-esque comment by loose-cannon Chairman Adam Puharic publicly bashing an applicant for one of the positions to be filled, and by currency bashing the Board of Freeholders for recommending the applicant. This is standard Puharic policy, making foes where friends used to be, and it appears to go back to his days as a Municipal Chair, when he chose to use his power as Chairman to punish dissent, instead of healing, bringing people together, and fostering debate without resentment. Since becoming chairman, Adam has unnecessarily alienated many, including a former freeholder, at least two out of the three remaining Republican freeholders, the past sheriff and others.

We now come back to candidate screening, which may have the chairman really cycling up to a crescendo. Read Art Gallagher's analysis at More Monmouth Musings.

Have a nice weekend!


Teddy Roosevelt said...

I am a HUGE Reagan fan but we have got to stop trotting out the old 11th commandment.
If a Republican deserves criticism we should be the first to do it.
What Nixon did not desrve criticism? The only other option is hypocrisy
You do not mention who Adam is dissing but if it is who I think it is then this time I agree with Adam. In fact I will applaud Adam and he is absolutly right to tell the Freeholders they are wrong. Why? because their actions are hurting the party. They are injecting a political patronage appointment into the election Board for crying out loud. The press will crucify us.
I have said it before and I will say it again we have crazy people with-in all of the factions in the party and we would be better off with out all of them wether they are an attorney an elected official or a secretary

Honest Abe said...

TR, I mulled over your comment over the weekend. I would ask you to re-read Peggy Noonan's article, like where she says, "The 11th commandment meant the fight should never be mean, low or unnecessarily injurious to the person, or the party. But a fight could be waged--should be waged--over big, big things."
Adam has made a general policy of keeping the fight "mean, low and unnecessarily injurious." It's what he does.
Let's now take a look at the issue at hand.
1. There's nothing wrong with a corporation finding new employment within its organization for an employee who's current position has ended, provided a job opening exists. Private corporations do it; the county itself has done it in the past.
2. Was the Board of Elections the right place for the freeholders to try to transfer this employee? Maybe, maybe not. They probably should have looked at openings in departments where there is no question as to the hiring authority. The entire Election Board brouhaha has the fingerprints of curmudgeonly County Counsel Malcolm Cartoon ("...someone of questionable legal ability, who is a political liability and has the personality of a cranky nasty old man.") all over it, and can be added to the long, long list of his controversies.
3. Patronage. It is what it is. Monmouth County is Republican controlled, at least for the next twelve months, and that means that Republicans will be hired. Are jobs limited only to Republicans? Of coures not. But if anyone thinks that the Democrats are a paradigm of political reform, just take a look at the counties the Dems do control. Hell, look at the Monmouth County Democrats' ELEC reports.
4. This is a personnel matter. How this employee's name got released to the media is beyond me, but it seems that the individual(s) in the Hall of Records who leaked to RastaBoy is still there plying their trade.
5. Finally, by Adam criticizing the Republican freeholders in the Asbury Park Press, he makes the entire Party look like the gang that couldn't shoot straight. It was a personal vendetta against the employee in question, nothing less.

Honest Abe said...

Oops. That's curmudgeonly County Counsel Malcolm Carton. Carton. With one o.
My bad.

Teddy Roosevelt said...

I do not know Adams motivations as I am not inside his head.
I do know that he is right that it was a bad idea to make this appointment to this board.
Anyone who has been around politics in Monmouth County knows which people always seem to be at the edges of any controversy. They also know which people are good at ingratiating themselves with the right people in order to make sure they get a public job.
Do you think they could have found someone less controversial to appoint to that particular position and avoided this whole controversey. Of course but once again personal agendas and egos ruled the day. Yes spolitical patronage is a way of life but apply it with some common sense. The party has to put its own best interests above somebody looking for a job.
Maybe the only way Adam can get through to these knucleheads is to publicly call them out.
I do not get Adam. He is inconsistant in my view. So, when he is right i will support him ahen he is wrong the he gets the Bull Moose Slam.
One final note there is a lot of blame to go around on this one, freeholders, attorneys,political hacks, board of election members. This is a real bumble _ _ _ _. A real bad cast of characters with no good guys in it.