Borough Council Members Cannot Agree in Atlantic Highlands

January 9, 2017
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Councilman Lou Fligor

Story and photos by Joseph Sapia

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – As town government reorganized for 2017, Democrat Roy Dellosso retained his position as Borough Council president in a divided vote.

The vote was 4 to 2 in Dellosso’s favor. Council members voting for Dellosso were himself, fellow Democrat Charles Lero, newly sworn-in Republican Stephen Boracchia and unaffiliated Lou Fligor. Voting no were two Republicans, Peter T. Doyle and John Archibald Jr.

Boracchia expressed he was willing to go along with Dellosso, but Archibald later said Dellosso “hasn’t shown any ability to be council president.” Archibald added that Dellosso’s performance as chair of the council finance committee last year was “abysmal.”

“If he can’t handle finance chairman, why should he be council president?” Archibald said.

Doyle declined to comment on his vote against Dellosso.

Dellosso later declined to comment on the split vote, but Mayor Rhonda C. LeGrice, a Democrat, said “that’s strictly political, as far as I’m concerned.”

The reorganization was held New Year’s Day at noon at Borough Hall.

Other split votes included the yearly appointments of Anthony J. Pannella as bond counsel and James Butler and Patrick Healy as chief municipal prosecutor and prosecutor, respectively. Voting no were Archibald, Doyle and Boracchia, while voting yes were Dellosso, Lero and Fligor – with LeGrice breaking the tie with her yes vote.

Generally, though, the council voted unanimously on the various appointments. “I’m hoping this year will be more pleasant,” LeGrice said.

Last year, the council was composed of two Democrats, two Republicans and two unaffiliated with a political party, or “independents.” The unaffiliated, Fligor and Jacob Hoffmann, had been Republicans, but broke with the party.

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In the November election for council, Fligor and Hoffmann ran against Republicans Boracchia and Susan Tidswell. Democrats had no candidates in the race.

Fligor and Boracchia were the winners. On New Year’s Day, when they were sworn in to their full three-year terms, both spoke of working in a nonpartisan manner for the good of the town.

“When I make my decisions, they’re not for party,” said Fligor, 56, beginning his 16th consecutive year on the council. “I make my decisions (on) what’s best for the town. I will continue to do the best I can for the people of Atlantic Highlands.”

Councilman Stephen Boracchia

“In a small town as ours, put our party affiliations aside because we are working for our neighbors,” Boracchia said.

“It’s going to be a great experience (serving on council),” said Boracchia, 55, holding his first elective office.

Both Boracchia and Fligor talked about making difficult decisions.

“I have to sleep with my decisions,” Fligor said. “Some are more difficult.”

“I’m sure it’s going to be easy times, but there’ll be difficult times (too),” said Boracchia, a borough resident for 10 years. ”It affects all our neighbors, I think that’s the tough part.”

“Once the election’s over, we’re all neighbors,” Fligor said. “We’re going to have disagreements, but, in the end, the council usually works together.

“The town has good people,” said Fligor, a third-generation, lifelong resident. “We have a lot of good people, here.”

Fligor said he will remain unaffiliated with a political party. Fligor is a computer engineer for flow applications. His wife, Cindy, runs the family’s Salon at 68 on First Avenue and is president of the local Chamber of Commerce.

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Boracchia, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, is a sales manager for a petrochemical company. He has a law degree, but does not practice law.

During her annual address, LeGrice said three important things to work on this year are traffic flow and safety; parking for residents and visitors; and strengthening the steep slope ordinance to protect the hillsides that give the town its name.

Former Mayor Frederick J. Rast swore in Fligor, while borough Republican Chair Jane Frotton swore in Boracchia.

Lero participated in the meeting via telephone from Texas. He was out of town because of the death of his mother, said Borough Administrator Adam Hubeny.

Brian Sheehan was sworn in as fire chief, along with Deputy Fire Chief Martin Hawley Jr. and Fire Captain Paul Murphy. All positions are for one year.

Other appointments included:

Borough Attorney: Bernard M. Reilly, one-year appointment

Special counsels: Jeffrey R. Surenian, Eric D. Brophy and Michael B. Steib, one year

Code enforcement officer: Richard Rast, one year

Zoning officer: Michelle Clark, one year

Auditor: Andrew J. Sabine, one year

Public defender and alternate: Henry Wolff III and Douglas Widman, respectively, one year

Animal control officer: Kerry Gowen, one year

Deputy fire marshals: Murphy and Stephanie Hawley, two years, two years

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