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HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ – An election ballot recount is underway in Howell Township as just 320 votes separate Howell Township small business owner Andre DeGarmeaux and Republican incumbent Evelyn O’Donnell. The margin of difference is under the 1% threshold necessary for a recount. As election officials begin the recount, the fate of Howell Business Manager Brian Geohegan, of Toms River once again remains uncertain.
If Democrats win, Geoghegan, a Republican operative, is out, according to political insiders in the community. Geoghegan fell out of favor with the people of Howell after he unilaterally shut down sports back in October. Geoghegan, without input from the council or Mayor Theresa Berger shut down the township parks, later reopening after striking a deal with his political allies in nearby Lakewood to clean the parks.
The council and mayor were quickly able to clean up the mess created by Geoghegan, but they are still dealing with a costly whistleblower lawsuit against Geoghegan by a former employee. That case could end up costing the township hundreds of thousands of dollars. Geoghegan also raised eyebrows when he paid a six-figure township employee for a no-show job this year.
Even if Republicans win, Geoghegan’s future in the township is uncertain as a reappointment by township Republicans by an outsider who is arguably the most powerful public employee in town continues receiving a six-figure salary, operating at times, in opposition of the mayor and council and occasionally, in the dark.
If the township Democrats and Republicans agree to not rehire Geoghegan, he will most likely land on his feet elsewhere. The politically connected GOP insider has moved from town to town as business administrator since retiring from his job in Jackson Township. Now, collecting a pension, Geoghegan has served as the business administrator in two other communities before being delivered the job in Howell, presumably though his ties with Monmouth County GOP Chairman, Sheriff Shawn Golden. Golden served as a police officer in Geoghegan’s hometown of Toms River with Geoghegan’s brother Kevin, also a former police officer. Kevin is now a councilman in Toms River.