The first casualty of the 2015 election season came months before a single ballot was cast. Councilman Bob Moore, a Democrat, was not supported by his party to run for re-election and did not file paperwork to run a primary campaign against his former running mates.
Moore, a well-known volunteer firefighter in town who was elected to the council in 2011 alongside fellow Democrats Susan Lydecker, Jim Fozman and then-councilman John Ducey, said Tuesday that his party did not support him running for re-election on their ticket. Moore will be replaced on the ballot by Arthur Halloran, a real estate agent from the township’s barrier island portion who has previously served as a Democratic county committee member.
“They kicked me to the curb,” Moore said Tuesday, a day after the deadline passed for partisan candidates to file to run in the June primary election.
Moore said his relationship with the other Democrats on council began to sour after he voted against a controversial plan in 2013 to oust Township Clerk Lynnette Iannarone and replace her with Kathy Russell, a former Democratic councilwoman. The day the vote was rumored to be taking place, this reporter – then working for Patch.com – wrote a story on the matter. At the council meeting that night, before the normal proceedings could begin, Fozman immediately motioned to appoint Russell as clerk. Three Democrats – Fozman, Ducey and Lydecker – voted in favor of giving Russell the job – while two Republicans – Domenick Brando and Joseph Sangiovanni – voted against the measure. Moore’s ‘no’ vote resulted in a tie, ultimately defeating the motion and shooting down Russell’s appointment and keeping Iannarone in the position.
The 3-3 vote against Russell’s appointment led to Iannarone keeping the position and earning her tenure under a state law to protect clerks who serve more than three years. The vote led residents in the audience to erupt in cheers and hand clapping.
After the vote, sources said Democrats on council wanted a clerk who would be friendlier to the majority and not abide by an edict in place at the time to communicate to council members through the mayor’s office. The clerk’s position is one of the few that is technically controlled by the governing body, rather than the mayor, who at the time was Republican Stephen C. Acropolis. Republicans claimed the move was a patronage appointment that would bolster Russel’s public pension. At the time, Democrats on the council publicly stated that the move was a cost-saving measure, since Russell would have purportedly earned a lower salary than Iannarone.
“If I had to do it all over again, I’d do it the same way,” Moore said. “I don’t play political games. I want to get the job done.”
As for his political future, Moore stopped short of divulging whether he has any plans of seeking office again, but said his “heart is still in it.”
“I’m not done helping the people of Brick yet,” Moore said.
Though it is too late to file to run as a Democrat, independent candidates have until June 2 to file the necessary paperwork to run for council.