Stone Harbor, NJ City Council Votes to Censure the Mayor
Even though Stone Harbor is a destination town for many vacationers coming to the Jersey Shore, there seems to be "trouble in paradise" as the Stone Harbor City Council voted to censure Mayor Judith Davies-Dunhour.
At the August 1st Stone Harbor City Council Meeting, the Council Members voted 5-1 to censure the Stone Harbor Mayor in response to her public comments made at the council's July 3rd meeting where she expressed concerns about a resolution to appoint Manny Parada as the permanent city administrator. The City Council voted 5-1 to fire previous City Business Administrator Robert Smith in February and Public Works Director Manny Parada was selected to handle the Administrator job on an interim basis.
The resolution to censure Mayor Judith Davies-Dunhour stated that the Mayor improperly targeted a city employee for criticism on an issue she was not even qualified to vote on while in a public forum. The concern in Stone Harbor is having one person holding two city jobs simultaneously on a permanent basis. Manny Parada already was the Stone Harbor Public Works Director before he was appointed the Interim City Business Administrator. Mayor Davies-Dunhour said at the August 1st city council meeting that she requested a Performance Review of Manny Parada and the results to be discussed in a Closed Session to allow all Council Members to have a full discussion about Parada's future as City Administrator. The Mayor further claimed in Public Session that she was unaware that anyone in the city government didn't want any positive or negative information made public about Parada's job performance.
Parada has come under scrutiny in part because of the ongoing issues with the new Virtual Parking Meter system in Stone Harbor. In May there were 564 Parking Tickets issued and then Stone Harbor saw an increase of 62 Percent of Parking Tickets issued for the month of June. The catalyst for this gross increase in Parking Tickets issued was the change over from the Parking Meters on the street to the virtual setup with the ParkMobile App. Manny Parada in his role as the Stone Harbor Public Works Director was the point man for this change from concrete to virtual parking meters. Parada explained at previous Stone Harbor City Council Meetings that this decision to go with the ParkMobile App was to have continuity with neighboring communities who also use the same setup for their city parking.
Cape May County communities Sea Isle City, Ocean City, and Wildwood made a step-by-step transition from the traditional Parking Meters to Virtual Parking with Metered Kiosks and/or the ParkMobile App. But Stone Harbor jumped straight from the Concrete-anchored meters on the street to the Virtual Parking System without any real public information campaign or any major signs to elaborate on the parking changes. It wasn't until the June and July Stone Harbor City Council Meetings that the idea of placing special signage to inform the public about the ParkMobile App was brought into the conversation.
There are concerns about a lack of transparency in Stone Harbor City Government and the handling of the Virtual Parking Meters plus the discrepancies about the handling of the City Business Administrator situation have brought the wrong type of attention to the Jersey Shore community. Watching the Stone Harbor City Council Meetings online over the last few months portrays a city government with some Passive-Aggressive attitudes towards different people and the censure of the Mayor seems to bring some of those issues boiling to the surface. I would think Stone Harbor Voters would like to have more information about what is being said in these Closed Sessions and what is really going on behind-the-scenes that is creating this disharmony in the small community government.