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Election Hangover?

How Important is it to Keep Campaign Promises?

Just three weeks after winning re-election, Ann Marie Conte has decided that Wall Township Committee is not good enough for her.  During the campaign, Conte was heard from little and did not attend important meetings with stakeholders such as the Wall PBA, but instead sent Mr. Newberry to do much of her campaign work.  A review of many of the news articles and reports of the campaign show a similar trend in that Mr. Newberry was quoted much more frequently.  Perhaps the reason for this was that Ms. Conte was working backroom deals to secure a nomination for a possible opening on the Freeholder board.  After all, is it a coincidence that in two consecutive years Wall Township committee members have submitted their names for Freeholder while the township attorney also happens to be the Monmouth County Republican Chairman?

In fact, this year's possible opening came to fruition when Freeholder Rob Clifton won an assembly seat.  As a result, he will be required to give up his Freeholder seat, leaving an opening for a gaggle of Freeholder hopefuls to throw their names into the cauldron of Republican political soup.  Those hopefuls will learn their fates in early January at a party convention to be held for the purpose of selecting a lucky winner to take Clifton's seat on the board.

The major issue addressed by this post has less to do with the partisanship of the Freeholder Board or the local Township Committee and has more to do with the unfulfilled promises of Ms. Conte in placing her name into contention for Freeholder.  This is not unlike what Mr. Newberry did last year when a Freeholder seat opened up and the County Republican Party needed someone to slot in next to Lillian Burry.  Mr. Newberry was one of the first to step up and ask for a chance, even with another year to serve out in Wall.

When running for election or re-election it is always implied that you are committing yourself to serve the voters you are asking for votes from for the term of your seat.  Not only dicard Ms. Conte discard this commitment in favor of her own self interest, but she did so in less than 30 days. 

Her reasons for seeking higher office are meaningless to this discussion.  The fact that she campaigned (mostly on the platform that she "is a lifelong resident of Wall") for the Wall Committee and asked people to support her knowing that she wanted to seek higher office is just plain wrong and is deceitful to the voters that voted for her.  Those that voted for her likely did so believing that she was the best person to serve out the next three years.  In a clear act of selfishness, she duped voters in an effort to merely build a resume to move onto the next level. 

While Mr. Newberry did the same thing last year, at least he did so at the end of his term and not 30 days after being elected.  While his actions are more explainable, they certainly demonstrate the same self interest as Ms. Conte.  In fact, Mr. Newberry boasted to the Wall PBA that he "came within just a few votes" of becoming the Freeholder candidate.  Newberry's statement, made at the end of October, demostrated that Mr. Newberry still seemed to believe that it was just fine to push aside his commitments to Wall Township in favor of seeking higher office for his own benefit.  What his statements and Ms. Conte's actions show is that their first interest is themselves and not the residents of Wall Township.

While I am confident that the Wall Republican Army will submit endless, anonymous, attacks to this piece citing how nice or what great contributions Ms. Conte has made in the past, the fact is we are talking about a town trying to keep its head above water, and its "leaders" doing whatever they can to jump ship for a better boat.  Happy Holidays. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Clint Hoffman December 01, 2011 at 02:41 PM
Wow - this is simply overly vicious and also highly inaccurate. This will not be an anonymous reposnse. My name is listed and I am sitting Repbulican Township Committeeman. First, that bit about the PBA meeting is ridiculous. The Township Commiittee had a business meeting that night of the PBA meeting in question. Mayor Conte had to be at that meeting to run it, so Committeeman Newberrry went to one meeting and she came to our regularly scheduled meeting of the Township Committee. Second, Committee Newberry might have been seen to be more vocal during the election season becuase he was unforunatlely involved in that nonsensical "sign on the back of the fire chief's truck" incident and he was also the one that paper happend to reach first on the "will you disclouse the names of people who contributed less than $300" nonsese. Which of course led to that horrible piece of campaign literature where a man, ostenisvely Committeeman Newberry, was stuffing his pockets with money. Third, I think the fact that county wide the municipal officials in Wall Township are being recognized as superior candidates for higher office is positive for Wall Township. I do believe though that Mayor Conte, after being approached about a possible opportunity to be a Freeholder, not having initated the contact herself, declined the opportunity (I will let her verfiy that). She will proudly remain serving her friends and neighbors in Wall Township.
Clint Hoffman December 01, 2011 at 03:30 PM
I ran out of characters so will continue in this post. I think there is an important fact that Mr. Brophy is missing. As a Wall Township resident, a very significant portion of my tax bill is for the county and determined by the Board of Freeholders. If Committeeman Newberry had succeeded in his attempt to become a Freeholder or if Mayor Conte was truly interested in pursuing a inivitation to consider an opportunity to serve as a Freeholder, they would in fact be serving the residents of Wall Township just as they do today, just in a different "seat". They would not be "jumping ship" or abandonding Wall residents. That is silly. Lastly, let's talk about our town trying to "keep it's head above water". It is easy to make a sweeping statement like that with no backup. What are the issues that concern you Mr. Broply? Please don't say transparency or being busiiness friendly, because if you go there, I think you will be disappointed with the realities versus the perceptions I have heard and read about on these topics. PS - For the record - If either Committeeman Newberry or Mayor Conte were in fact to accept an invitation to be a Freeholder and represent Wall Township at the county level, I would gladly and proudly support them as I know they would make great decisions and work on important initiatives that would benefit Wall residents as much as they do from their Committee positions today.
Chairman Vin Gopal December 03, 2011 at 02:34 PM
Mr. Hoffman, you think it is okay to campaign and ask voters for a three year term on the Wall Township Committee, then after getting elected, decide to seek a new office three weeks laters? You don't think that is decieving to the Wall residents who just voted for you?
Clint Hoffman December 03, 2011 at 07:21 PM
Hello Mr. Gopal, Please - let us be very clear on all the facts here. First of all, Mayor Conte was approached about the opportunity after the election and she has turned it down. So, we are arguing hypothetical’s here. The most important "fact" here is she did not personally campaign or seek another position while running for Wall Township Committee or after being elected. She was "approached" about the opportunity to be a Freeholder after the election, a position where she could in fact serve Wall residents equally as well. She has obviously demonstrated that she is already an excellent municipal official on behalf of the people of Wall in order to be recognized in this manner. And, she turned down the opportunity. So, with the facts as they are, yes sir, I do not think there is anything wrong with that. In fact, I am proud to serve with someone whose talents for public service are considered so highly coveted that she would be approached in this fashion. I think your point is that you feel that after getting elected she sought out this opportunity and you think that is wrong. You would consider that action "deceitful". The problem is she did not "seek new office three weeks later" as you say - the opportunity found her. The opportunity presented itself to her and you cannot blame her for that. She did nothing wrong except be recognized for passion and her talents that she has demonstrated in serving the residents of Wall Township.
Gary Faraci December 03, 2011 at 09:56 PM
I see Mr Hoffman carries over the long-winded, arrogant, condescending manner he using at Township Committee meetings to written form. He loves to hear himself speak and now write! Perhaps this is why he doesn't want Committee meetings televised. Too many people will see how he talks down to people who have legitimate concerns. He is though right on one count. As he states Mrs. Conte "serves her friends & neighbors." And there in lies the problem. Committee members need to serve all the people in Wall, not just their friends and political party. Unfortunately, the one-party Wall Township Committee only serves those in their camp and what the Republican political bosses tell them to do. Honesty, transparency and accountability are not virtues long-winded Mr Hoffman & the Committee follow.
Gary Faraci December 03, 2011 at 10:11 PM
More Hoffman partisan spin - he justifies Conte not going to a Wall PBA function because of a Committee Meeting, but thinks it's okay for Newberry to skip the Committee meeting where the people's business is done to go campaigning at the PBA. Sorry Clint - you can't have it both ways.
Clint Hoffman December 04, 2011 at 01:14 PM
I may be long winded at times. I think you got me on that. Mr. Gopal, if my response could be in anyway construed to be condescending, I apologize. I can assure you I did not intend that. I believe I am passionate and maybe that at times can be misconstrued or at least easily portrayed as something else. All audio of Township Committee business meetings is posted on the Township web site. Anyone can hear every word and every inflection just by going to the web site. Anyone can hear how I treat people at the meetings first hand. There really is not a need for video. Finally, the PBA asked the candidates from both parties to come to their regularly scheduled meeting. The challengers in the election had both accepted an invitation and thus it was important for one of our candidates to go as well. The Mayor runs our meetings so Committeeman Newberry attended the PBA meeting. The PBA is a very important Township stake holder and though there was a conflict, it was dealt with effectively and the business of the people of Wall was carried out effectively. Mr. Faraci - if you have concerns about honesty, transparency and accountability, please be specific. To just say we need honesty, transparency and accountability is empty without specifics. I encourage you to enumerate your concerns as you did at our last meeting and we will address them professionally and with courtesy as we did that night. The audio is available to substantiate that. Thank you.
Gary Faraci December 04, 2011 at 08:51 PM
Nice try on the PBA misstep Clint. Ever think of sending a surrogate (like the campaign manager) instead of skipping the people's work Committee Members were elected to do? With your rationale, it would be okay for the cops on duty to leave and go the the PBA meeting. As for your request for specifics on the lack of honesty, tranparency, and accountability - how about the illegal deer hunting in Shark River Park? After meeting with the Committee I was promised no hunting signs erected and a call back after your meeting with County officials. I got neither. I was told by you personally at another Committee meeting that you did a study on televising meetings several years ago and it was too expensive. But you have yet to produce the study. You also said you contacted Brick & Howell who televise their meetings. But you have yet to produce any evidence that happened. I left a list of questions for the Committee to answer. And I have received nothing. That specifically shows the lack of honesty, transparency, and accountability..
John Wayne December 07, 2011 at 04:25 AM
It is amazing what the different town councils get away with. They are all a bunch of lying misfits. It appears to be everywhere in so many different towns. Do they really feel they are fooling the residents of their town. The answer is NO!


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