Wednesday's first post-reorganization meeting of the new Democratic-controlled Brigantine City Council was a first in its history.
Democratic Councilmen Tony Pullella (who was absent), Frank Kern and Rick DeLucry were joined by new colleagues Lisa McClay and Joe Picardi, who were elected in November along with DeLucry giving the party control of council for the first time ever.
Among the first moves made by the new council were several changes in the city's professionals, including replacing Solicitor Tim Maguire with Fred Scerni, of Parker McCay, and former Auditor Leon Costello with Mike Cesaro, of Bowman and Co.
Mayor Phil Guenther, who along with new Councilman Andy Simpson are the only Republicans on the governing body, stopped to introduce Scerni to those in attendance after he had started to speak.
The city is also adding Eric Bernstein as labor counsel and William Reynolds as municipal prosecutor.
The hiring process for professionals was long a sore point for Democrats Pullella and Kern, who had criticized low bidders not getting chosen because of criteria such as "familiarity," which awarded points for already holding the position or being a resident.
The council also created a unique process for the engineering position, City Manager Jennifer Blumenthal said, keeping engineer Ed Stinson but mandating that certain projects go out to bid among six different engineering firms.
The council changed the starting times for most meetings to 6 p.m. from the old time of 5:30 p.m. They also rolled over an existing $530,000 special emergency note that was originally issued to fund a scheduled revaluation, which has since been delayed.
DeLucry also took issue to the wording of a resolution opposing a proposed state Senate bill that would ban beach tags in towns that accept federal money for beach projects — projects like the one going on now at the north end of town.
DeLucry said the resolution was too "political" and he preferred simpler language. The resolution was pulled in advance of drafting a new bill, though all councilpeople expressed their opposition to the bill.
While Wednesday's meeting was mostly routine, more changes could be expected in the future, Kern said.
"Looking forward, we're going to implement other aspects of our platform for fiscal responsibility," Kern said prior to Wednesday's meeting.
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