Jackson Republicans to Require Background Checks, Social Media Checks on Potential Council Candidates

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Jackson Township Council. Photo by Gavin Rozzi, Ocean County Politics. www.politicsoc.com.

JACKSONAfter a year filled with follies by members appointed to Jackson’s various public boards by the all-Republican council, the Jackson Republican Club is now asking those seeking their endorsement to be subjected to a background check and a list of all social media accounts used by the prospect.

“The Jackson Republican Club is now accepting submissions for it’s endorsement in the upcoming 2018 Mayor and Council races. The Club’s Screening Committee requires the following to be eligible for the endorsement: – Candidate must be eligible for Office as prescribed by Law. – Candidate must submit Personal/Professional Resume – Candidate must submit a Full and Complete List of Social Media accounts under their name and/or control – Candidate must grant permission to be subject to a background check,” a post on the club’s Facebook page said.

The request for background check comes after the council itself began asking volunteers to community boards to provide the information after a series of mishaps plagued the council in the past year.

First, a long time member of the Jackson Club, John Burrows, who was appointed to the zoning board lashed out at the club and wished death upon Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore and New Jersey State Senator Robert Singer.

Next, the council was forced to remove another member they appointed to the zoning board, Anthony Marano.  Marano was arrested at gunpoint by Jackson Police Officers after a tense standoff in which he held a gun at police officers after they came to his home to arrest him on child pornography charges.

Yet another zoning board member, Peter Kitay resigned after calls for his resignation after being challenged by residents in town over the activities of Kitay’s construction business, claiming conflicts of interest in his position as a zoning board member.

Another zoning board member abruptly quit after being appointed by the council.  That member cited personal time restraints, but the next day, a barrage of negative media articles from Orthodox Lakewood news outlets was unleashed against he and the township.

Yet another member, abruptly resigned before taking office.   Last month, the council again appointed one of their own, political operative Joseph Sullivan.

Now, the club is taking it one step further, requiring candidates seeking the establishment Republican line endorsement in November to subject to background checks and to reveal their social media activity.

This year, Jackson will be electing a mayor and two council positions.  Insiders have reported that current councilwoman Anne Updegrave, who works as a confidential secretary for the Toms River Township Council will not be seeking re-election this year after three consecutive terms in office.

Club insiders also have said the club has not yet made any decision to endorse incumbent councilman Scott Martin to run for a fourth consecutive term in office.

So far, no Jackson Republican Club members have officially announced their candidacy for 2018, but others have.

John Maneri, a Republican who works an employee manager at iPlay America has announced his run for the office of mayor, challenging longterm Republican Michael Reina.

Gene Davis, a former North Jersey Councilman has also declared his intent to represent Democrats against Reina.

Michael Mitchell, an employee of the Jackson Township Public Works Department has also indicated he will run for the office of Mayor in November.

No candidates for council have publicly stated their intent to run for office.

“Please submit all Documents and Documentation to the committee via email (ffriker@aol.com, toddporter62@gmail.com and/or recyclingqueen1951@gmail.com), regular mail (Screening Committee c/o Jackson Republican Club, PO Box 519 Jackson, NJ 08527), or In-Person at the April 25th Meeting of the Jackson Republican Club,” the club told prospects.


Photo: File Photo – Jackson Council by Gavin Rozzi.