Ocean County’s “Good Old Boys” Network Putting Pressure on Public Employees on the County Committee.
TOMS RIVER-Several public workers in Ocean County this week reported to Shore News Network that the forces behind the Ocean County GOP’s preferred new chairman have received phone calls from party leadership elites with veiled threats and intimidation to vote for new party boss Frank Holman.
Photo: George Buckalew (Left. Black suit, white shirt) and George Gilmore (Right) at the 2019 Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders reorganization meeting.
Three employees, two county workers, and one municipal employee, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear for their jobs reportedly received calls from a high ranking GOP figure who is backing Holman to replace lawyer George Gilmore who resigned last week after being found guilty on three tax charges in federal court.
The said they received phone calls soliciting Holman, the owner of a high-powered influential accounting firm that receives millions of dollars annually in public contracts.
Several public workers are also members of the Ocean County Republican Committee, a body of several hundred registered Republicans voted into their office by their respective voting districts. Each municipal voting district is represented by one man and one woman on the county committee. It is this body who will cast their votes on May 15th to decide Gilmore’s successor.
There is a strong movement within the county committee to back Island Heights engineer Frank Sadeghi. That movement seeks to end the succession of leadership of the Buckalew-Gilmore era to an allied successor.
Holman, according to the New Jersey Globe’s David Wildstein is being backed by Gilmore. He is also being backed by Gilmore’s predecessor Joseph Buckalew, a partner of Connor, Strong & Buckalew, an influential political powerbroker and insurance carrier.
Connor, Strong & Buckalew, like Holman and Frenia’s accounting firm earns millions of dollars annually in public contracts.
But the rank and file Republicans countywide are attempting to put an end to big party boss politics in Ocean County, backing Sadeghi, whose firm Morgan Engineering is a successful private company that does not receive any public contracts. The firm specializes in commercial engineering projects.
Since the campaigning for Holman has begun by party elites, not ready to give up control of the hundreds of millions of dollars in annual municipal, county, school board and utility authority budgets they currently control, employees are fearful for their jobs if they vote against the party machine in May.
Sadeghi said he was not happy when he learned of the allegations.
“There is a natural process that needs to occur in the election process. It’s alright to campaign for your preferred candidate,” Sadeghi said. “It’s ok to make phone calls and rally support, but if these allegations are true, this is not good for the process.”
Sadeghi has received the endorsement from many Republicans who are ready to turn the page on a long, dark era of political corruption in Ocean County and to transfer power to a new generation of Republicans who put party ideas and values ahead of the former system of party power and control, often referred to in Ocean County as the “Good Old Boys Network”.