Monmouth Beach, NJ
The first borough commissioner I ever knew well was Sidney B. Johnson. No surprise there — he was a Monmouth Beach icon. Those familiar with town politics and government will mostly remember Sid Johnson as the town’s mayor — a post he held for 29 years.
In 1978, he resigned from the borough commission to take a job in the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. Once his family-owned fish cold storage business was sold, “I had to find a real job,” he told me.
In 1989, Sidney made a political comeback. He approached me early in the race and asked me for some help. Although I was a political science grad from Monmouth College, I had little practical experience with campaigns and elections. I ended up helping with strategy and mailers — and Sidney was still a master politician. He easily won a special election that November defeating appointee-commissioner Anthony Villane, III. In 1993, Sid ran unopposed and was elected to another four-year term.
When he really retired in 1997, Sidney had a perfect 10-0 record in Monmouth Beach commission elections. The man who the Asbury Park Press once said “speaks faster then the human ear is capable of hearing” died in March 2001 at age 86. I feel very fortunate to have to known him and helped him.
As a journalist — reporter, editor, columnist and now blogger — I’ve watched the MB Board of Commissioners since 1985. Here are some photos and news items regarding MB’s top governing body.
MB Borough Leadership: Commissioner Timothy Somers, Mayor David Stickle, and Commissioner Larry Bolsch, 2021 (Jack Flaherty Photo). The team was elected in November 2020; re-elected in May 2021. Congratulations and good luck to all!
“Committee Work” — for new Monmouth Beach Mayor Garrett H. White. Long Branch Daily Record, January 1909.
News story about the new form of government in Monmouth Beach, APP October 1929.
Mayor Sue Howard and Commissioners Jim Cunniff and Dave Stickle, 2018.
David Stickle (r) is sworn in a borough commissioner as his wife, Lisa, holds the bible, 2017.
Commissioner Jim Cunniff, Mayor Sue Howard, and Commissioner Dave Stickle, 2017.
Commissioner Bill McBride, Mayor Sue Howard and Commissioner Jim Cunniff, 2008.
Seated: Mayor Sue Howard. Standing: Borough Clerk Bonnie Moore, Commissioners Kim Guadagno and Jim Cunniff, 2005.
MB commissioner’s election, 1997.
Borough Commissioner Jim Cunniff (l) with then NJ Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, the NJ GOP governor candidate 2017.
MB commissioner’s special election, 1989.
Campaign flyer for Sodano, Meyer, Bradley ticket for MB Commission, May 1989. They ran and won unopposed.
Mayor Louis Sodano and Commissioners Bruce Bradley and Joan Meyer re-elected, 1985.
Mayor Lou Sodano, and Commissioners Joan Meyer and Bruce Bradley celebrate election victory, 1981.
Seated: Mayor F. Brent Neale. Standing: Commissioner Louis Sodano, Borough Clerk Bonnie Moore, and Commissioner Bruce Bradley, 1980.
Bruce Bradley sworn in as a borough commissioner, Sept. 1978.
Mayor Sidney Johnson, 1978.
Commissioner F. Brent Neale, Mayor Sidney Johnson and Commissioner Edwin Peterson celebrate victory, 1977.
Mayor Sidney Johnson, Commissioner F. Brent Neale, and Commissioner Edwin Peterson after victory, 1977. Speaking to the Red Bank Register afterwards, Mayor Johnson called this race the “most vicious campaign” of his political career.
Commissioner Edwin Feste, Mayor Sidney Johnson and Commissioner Harold Peterson re-elected, 1973.
Commissioners Harold Peterson and Raymond Tierney and Mayor Sidney Johnson win unopposed, 1965.
Mayor Sidney Johnson, 1965.
Mayor Sidney Johnson (l) congratulations Raymond Tierney (c) on his appointment as borough commissioner to replace Clarence Cook (r), February 1963.
Commissioner Harold Peterson, Mayor Sidney Johnson and Commissioner Clarence Cook re-elected, 1960s.
Commissioner Clarence Cook, Mayor Sidney Johnson and Commissioner Harold Peterson re-elected, 1961.
Harold Peterson, Sidney Johnson and Clarence Cook sworn in as borough commissioners, 1957.
Clarence Cook, Sidney Johnson, and Harold Peterson ticket elected to borough Board of Commissioners, 1953.
New MB Government: Commissioner Henry Mihm, Mayor Sidney Johnson, and Commissioner Clarence Cook at an borough organization meeting, May 1949.
Campaign flyer for MB Commissioner’s race, 1949.
Campaign flyer MB Commissioner’s race, 1945.
Campaign card for MB Board of Commissioner’s race, 1941.
MB Commissioner’s race results, 1941
MB Board of Commissioner’s election, 1937. Johnson was appointed mayor. (APP.com)
MB Board of Commissioner’s election, 1933. (APP.com)
MB Board of Commissioner’s election, 1929. (APP.com)
MB voters approve commission form of government, September 1929. (APP.com)
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More MB Commission related items …
Mayor A.O. Johnson.
Story on the Asbury Park Press, August 1929. (APP.com)
Red Bank Register front page, Sept. 12, 1978.
Ballot for first MB Board of Commissioners election, October 1929.
Atlanticville front page, March 1989.
Kim Guadagno Inauguration Day front page news, APP January 2010.
Kim Guadagno is sworn by as NJ’s first Lieutenant Governor. January 2010 (Kim was a MB commissioner from 2005-07).
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno after winning the Republican nomination for NJ Governor’s race, 2017 (Kim was a MB commissioner from 2005-07).
William Barham is sworn in as Monmouth County Freeholder Director, January 2006 (Bill was a MB commissioner from 1997-2005)
William Barham is sworn in as a Monmouth County Freeholder, December 2004. (Bill was a MB commissioner from 1997-2005). At far left is the man he replaced Freeholder Harry Larrison, who died in May 2005.
• Monmouth Beach Mayor’s Gallery — HERE
• Monmouth Beach’s Political Beginnings — HERE
• MB Politics: Johnson & Johnson Style — HERE