TOMS RIVER, NJ – The queen of Ocean County, Virginia Haines, 84, has decided to go through with her plan to use the Ocean County Natural Land Trust Board appointments to punish Berkeley Township Councilman John Bacchione. Bacchione will be replaced with Marty Flemming, a recently appointed councilman in Jackson Township and small business owner to replace Bacchione’s spot on the advisory board. Bacchione will be handed a consolation prize by the freeholder.
Bacchione is the latest Ocean County elected official to feel the venomous wrath of Freeholder Haines, who was appointed to the board by former Chairman George Gilmore and former…former chairman Joseph Buckalew.
Bacchione’s crime? His town of Berkeley did not hire New Jersey Assemblyman Gregory P. McGuckin to another job as township legal counsel. While McGuckin does hold several jobs in Berkeley, his demand to force that council to hire him fell on deaf ears. Additionally, Berkeley Township Republicans refused to support another public patronage firm owner, Frank Holman when he ran for GOP Chairman.
Those actions caused Holman to brand all Berkeley Township Republicans as dissenters and now Bacchione will pay the punishment, courtesy Freeholder Haines.
Haines last week also pulled an ordinance to purchase millions of dollars in already protected open space from the Township of Toms River. Under the law, open space money cannot be used to buy already preserved open space from other government entities.
That purchase was to be used to help Toms River Mayor Mo Hill balance out his budget in a town where many homeowners just received a 10% tax hike, expected to increase more in the third quarter bill if Mo can’t find Mo’ cash.
A plan by Haines to fund Mo Hill’s purchase of the former Joey Harrison’s Surf Club has also fallen short, leaving Hill with another check he can’t cash to offset his 6% tax increase in this year’s budget.
Now, Hill will have to scurry around to find other illegal ways to balance the budget after learning he can’t just sell public land from the township to the county.
And they would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for us meddling kids.