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.