West Side Gadfly Files Complaint Against Red Bank

October 27, 2011
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Freddie Boynton hasn’t shied away from battles, having once been a boxer. He regularly spars, verbally, with borough elected officials. And now Boynton again is battling local officials and has lodged a complaint with the local NAACP.

Boynton, 57, who is a retired borough employee who owns a Shrewsbury Avenue home, said he has filed a complaint with the Greater Red Bank Branch of the NAACP, alleging the borough’s West Side community is being neglected and is receiving less in the way of public services.

“This side of town isn’t getting the support,” as compared to the East Side, Boynton said this week.

As for specific examples, Boynton is alleging the West Side storm drains aren’t cleaned as often, causing flooding on certain streets during heavy rain; pedestrian traffic crosswalks aren’t repainted as frequently, leading to a hazard for the area’s large number of walkers; code enforcement officials haven’t been as diligent in investigating quality of life issues such as noise and overcrowding complaints; and that the four days of unpaid furlough instituted for budgetary reasons in summer 2010 for borough workers meant public works personnel weren’t available to collect trash on Fridays, that being the usual day for West Side pick up.

Boynton said he has been raising these issues at public council meetings, “and nothing was done.”

“They don’t take no action,” he said.

Boynton has held a series of three public meetings for West Side residents to voice their concerns, the most recent held last Thursday at the Celestial Lodge Number 36, 141 Drs. James Parker Boulevard.  This complaint is an outgrowth of the issues raised at those meetings, he said.

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The borough’s West Side has traditionally been a diverse community and one that is more economically modest than the East Side. The population continues to be largely African- American with an ever-increasing Hispanic population, and home to a business community reflecting the needs of the residents.

Mayor Pasquale Menna said this week he wasn’t aware of the NAACP complaint but did recall the issues Boynton has expressed at previous council meetings.

“He’s entitled to his opinion; I respect his opinion,” Menna responded this week, “and I respectfully disagree.”

“Frankly, this a difficult time for everybody and it doesn’t help anybody if you start picking on which side gets 1/10th of one percent more or less than anybody else,” Menna added, “because it all comes out in the wash.”

Boynton said he has submitted his complaint with the list of issues to the mayor and the borough administrator at a council meeting earlier this month.

The Rev. Henry P. Davis, president of the NAACP branch, said this week the organization is investigating Boynton’s allegations.

The NAACP, by its charter, will take up allegations that can be seen as civil and human rights issues, Davis explained.

With this complaint, “that means the borough has to answer these questions,” Boynton said.

Boynton, who is African-American, has regularly locked horns with local officials. As a 29-year public utility employee he had come forward with allegations against co-workers and superiors charging harassment. And in 2002, Boynton himself had faced allegations for neglect of duty and “willful” violations of policies and procedures as a sanitation foreman. Those charges led to Boynton being suspended for five days.

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He and officials had reached an agreement in 2003 to drop the charges after Boynton lost his appeal, and Boynton decided to retire.

In 2004, Boynton, who had been a formidable boxer in his prime, threw his hat into the political ring and filed his intention to run for borough council as an Independent, but was forced to drop out when his residency status was challenged.

Boynton has been critical of the incumbent Democrats running for re-election to the borough council this year. But when asked if this complaint was politically motivated, he would only respond, “My opinion, we do need a change.”

Boynton has also hinted he’s considering a borough council run again next year but this week he said, “I want to see how this election goes and then I’ll make up my mind.”

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