JACKSON-Jackson Township’s planning and zoning boards which have been plagued by resignations and terminations over the past few years are now involved in another controversy. Three appointed members of those boards and a sitting school board member are now under fire for their attendance at a meeting by a group named CUPON (Citizens United to Protect Our Neighborhoods).
Jackson planning board member Richard Egan and zoning board member Joseph Sullivan submitted their resignations to the township today. A third member at the meeting, zoning board member Sheldon Hoffstein has yet to tender his resignation. Another public official, school board member Gus Acevedo attended the meeting that discussed how to curb the rapid growth of the town’s growing Orthodox Jewish community.
Today, Mayor Michael Reina confirmed the resignations.
While their presence at the meeting was not illegal by any means and may not even cross ethical lines, their presence and comments made could jeopardize present and future rulings by the boards they serve on and put the township into further legal complications in its court battle against Orthodox Jewish developers and Agudath Israel of America.
Sullivan, who also serves on the executive board of the Jackson Republican Club lashed out this week against Jackson Republican committee chairwoman Clara Glory. Sullivan came under fire by Republican Club leaders and fired off a retaliation message on his Facebook page after being asked to resign from the board.
“Clara Glory and her family have run the Republican party into the ground in Jackson,” Sullivan said. “They stab people in the back, secure jobs for their family members and let their personal vendettas and hatreds take out innocent bystanders.”
Sullivan said that members of the club wanted him to resign earlier in the week over his attendance at the meeting.
“They are mad because I won’t go quietly and let myself be sacrificed on their altar of greed,” Sullivan said.
Then on Friday, after audio excerpts from the CUPON meeting were released on the Orthodox Jewish news website, the Lakewood Scoop, Sullivan voluntarily tendered his resignation An attendee of that meeting had audio recorded the entire meeting, much of which was previewed by Shore News Network on Thursday to ensure its validity.
After hearing the audio, we reached out to New Jersey Assemblyman Gregory P, McGuckin over the past two days, the planning board attorney and alerted McGuckin to the presence of an audio recording. McGuckin did not answer any texts or phone calls regarding the incident.
At that meeting, while checking in, the three Jackson board members admitted they should not be at the meeting and requested to not sign in.
“We’re not supposed to be here,” Sheldon Hoffstein is heard saying. “Nobody saw us.”
“We didn’t sign in, we’re neutral like invisible,” Egan said.
“We weren’t here,” Sullivan said.
Shortly before resigning from the board after the audio was published by the Lakewood Scoop, Sullivan retracted his comments about MUA Chairwoman Clara Glory and the Republican Club.
“It was once said to me that politics is a dirty business. I don’t want to help to keep it a dirty business. It was wrong of me to attack Clara Glory and her family. I wish to apologize to her and Pat Wood and the rest of their family,” Sullivan said, “I am sorry. One man caused an issue that le[a]d us to all of this. He knows who he is and that man is responsible alone. I am responsible for what I posted, and I apologize to anyone hurt by it.”
Sullivan did not say who he was referring to.
On Thursday, Glory’s MUA board approved a resolution allowing for the construction of water and sewer lines along the length of South Hope Chapel Road to facilitate the construction of the Jackson Pines residential development.
Jackson Township has yet to release an official statement on the matter.
Photo by The Lakewood Scoop