OCEAN GATE, NJ – The Mayor of Ocean Gate was paid $50,000 per year by the borough until today. In addition to a heavy part-time mayor’s salary, he also worked full-time with the County of Ocean as a carpenter. Now, combined, at both public jobs, he’s making $1 per year.
Last week, after being arrested and charged for stealing government funds, Ocean Gate Mayor Paul Kennedy was allegedly suspended without pay from his public patronage job as a county carpenter and electrician.
On Wednesday, the six-member borough council voted unanimously to reduce his municipal paycheck from $50,000 to $1 per year. Kennedy himself was not at the meeting. During the meeting, the council could not commit to the public that the crimes Kennedy has been accused of are the only ones he committed.
The borough of Ocean Gate has also retained municipal law attorney Jean Cipriani as James Gluck, the borough’s appointed general counsel, has recused himself in the wake of Kennedy’s arrest and confession.
Cipriani told the audience why Kennedy was earning so much money as a part-time mayor, saying he had given himself many public jobs over the years and was also being paid to be a municipal employee, at the same time, holding a full-time job with Ocean County. In Kennedy’s absence, Berkeley Township Administrator John Camera will be managing day-to-day operations in Ocean Gate.
Residents at the meeting were frustrated and upset after learning about Kennedy’s rampant theft and lack of financial oversight in government.
Each year, Ocean Gate retains the accounting firm of Holman Frenia to audit municipal finances. Those audits never detected Kennedy’s wrongdoings. The firm was headed by Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank B. Holman. Kennedy is a Republican under Holman’s wings.
The Prosecutor’s Office has refused to speak to whether or not their investigation into the thefts will expand, but investigators have spoken to witnesses.