There’s going to be some change in Monmouth Beach municipal government. Commissioner Jim Cunniff has resigned his seat after 23 years on the borough Board of Commissioners. Elected to six-terms, Jim was in charge of the town’s revenue and finance department, which he ran with credibility and care. In short, taxes in Monmouth Beach were always stable during his tenure.
Monmouth Beach, NJ
The remaining two commission members, Mayor Sue Howard and Commissioner Dave Stickle, can either fill the seat right away with an appointee or they can wait for a special election and let the voters decide. Once a new commissioner is seated, the three will vote to make one of them mayor.
The first borough commissioner I ever well knew was Sidney Johnson. No surprise there — he’s a Monmouth Beach icon. Those familiar with borough 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 the family-owned fish cold storage business had closed, “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 for my help. Although I was a political science grad from Monmouth College, I had no practical experience with campaigns and elections. I ended up assisting him with campaign 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 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. Now then, here are some photos and news items regarding the top MB governing body.
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.
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.
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 Clarence Cook, Mayor Sidney Johnson and Commissioner Harold Peterson re-elected, 1961.
Clarence Cook, Sidney Johnson, and Harold Peterson ticket elected to borough Board of Commissioners, 1953.
Commissioner Clarence Cook, Mayor Sidney Johnson, and Commissioner Henry Mihm election winners, 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 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 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)
• Monmouth Beach Mayor’s Gallery — HERE
• Monmouth Beach’s Political Beginnings — HERE
• MB Politics: Johnson & Johnson Style — HERE