Democratic line has shakeup in Eatontown

Staff Writer

The names of two Eatontown Borough Council incumbents will be missing from the Democratic slate in the Nov. 3 municipal election when their two council seats are up for grabs.

After failing to gain the support of the local Democratic Party, Councilman Anthony Talerico Jr. will be seeking election to a third term as an independent candidate.

“While it is true I did not receive the local Democratic Party’s nomination or support, it is also true that I did not seek it,” Talerico said on April 24. “My focus is Eatontown.”

Carl Sohl, municipal chairman of the Democratic Committee, confirmed that the two-term councilman was not nominated to run for re-election by local Democrats.

In addition, incumbent Democratic Councilwoman Janice Kroposky did not file a petition to run for re-election on the Democratic line by the March 30 deadline, Sohl said.

“I have decided not to seek re-election,” Kroposky said in an April 25 statement. “I am not seeking re-election for both personal and professional reasons. I recently made a career change, which contributed to my decision.”

The deadline for independent candidates to file a nominating petition is June 2.

Sohl said local Democrats have nominated newcomers Pamela Caputo and Lisa Wilson to run on the party line for the two available council seats.

The Eatontown Republican Party nominated newcomers Edmund Fitterer Jr. and Douglas Ronan to run for the open seats.

Newcomer Virginia East, a former educator, will run with Talerico as an independent candidate.

With at least six candidates having announced that they are seeking the two council seats, the outcome of the Nov. 3 election could change the political makeup of the council, which currently has four Republican and two Democratic members.

Republican Mayor Dennis Connelly only casts a ballot on council business in the event of a tie vote.

In an interview on April 23, Talerico said his decision to run as an independent is about putting the borough and its residents before a political party.

“I feel that many decisions made have to do with party [affiliation], and I want to remove myself from that,” he said. “The goal is to accomplish more and to work with both parties to get more done.”

Talerico said he believes Eatontown is at a crossroads and hopes that having independent elected officials on the council would encourage greater community involvement and a more inclusive environment.

East, his running mate, has been involved in the borough for more than 40 years and currently serves as a member of the Planning Board. She has years of experience as an educator, working as a teacher at the middle school and high school levels, and as a vice principal and principal.

“I love Eatontown,” East said on April 24. “This is my home, and this is something I have wanted to do for a long time. And I am happy that I now have the time and the opportunity to be able to commit to this.”

East said she wants to work to make Eatontown prosperous again after the toll the closing of Fort Monmouth had on the borough.

“I want to make Eatontown lively again … a place where people will be happy to shop and live in,” she said.

Caputo, founder and managing director of Community Green Market Organizers, moved to the borough in 2010. She has volunteered with borough committees such as the Green Team and the Downtown Business Association to create the Eatontown Downtown Farmers’ Market.

“This election is about all of Eatontown’s residents and a bold vision for our town, and I want to be part of the execution of that plan,” she said.

Caputo said she would not only focus on creating more positive communication between borough officials and residents, but also between council members.

“I would support decisions that create sustainable improvements to our quality of life and would work for innovative execution that supports expedient and efficient plans of action to grow Eatontown in a way that serves everyone,” Caputo said.

Wilson currently works as the executive director with the Long Branch Concordance Family Success Center, a nonprofit organization that provides services to assist at-risk families.

Fitterer, who has been a resident of Eatontown for about nine years, is vice chairman of the Eatontown Republican Party. He is a partner at the law firm of Widman, Cooney, Wilson, McGann & Fitterer in Oakhurst.

He has been involved with several committees and organizations since moving to the borough and currently serves on the Eatontown Board of Education and as vice chairman of the Eatontown Republican Party.

Fitterer said his background as an attorney would be helpful in dealing with statutes, ordinances and other legal documents.

“The council has members from all different walks of life with different backgrounds, and I think each has a lot of input and a lot of abilities they provide to make the borough great — and I want to add to that,” he said.

Ronan has been a resident of Eatontown for 14 years and has been an active volunteer.

“I have volunteered with many sports organizations, and my three children have gone through the Eatontown school system,” he said.

Ronan said he hopes to work with fellow council members on projects that will benefit residents.