Brigantine City Hall: Still No Contract for Collapsing Road

hi tide brigantine mayor phil guenther
Environmental Abuse

Brigantine’s collapsing road along the wetlands; Harbor Beach Cove, is more than just municipal repair headache for City Manager; Ed Stinson. An engineer by trade, Stinson is likely having DEP nightmares too. Will Stinson call the Department of Environmental Protection for advice?

Local residents claim that Stinson and the City still don’t have a valid contract or plan to fix this growing problem, one that has festered for almost 3 years.

(Note: Stinson was once employed by Doran Engineering, a company known for questionable invoices and possible DEP infractions in Brigantine. See Below. )

On Brigantine’s lovely south side near the entrance of the infamous COVE, these 58 homes have premium views of adjacent waterways, wetlands, wildlife and of course, Atlantic City.

As is occasionally done in areas prone to flooding, these homes may have been built on land that was built up to a higher elevation, using a variety of non-native material used as fill.

In Spring of 2013 after Hurricane Sandy, Brigantine City Hall was notified by concerned residents. Their street was slipping into the adjacent lagoon & wetlands area. They wanted it fixed. They were afraid of potential injury and liability if someone tripped into the gaps. Sometime soon thereafter, the City placed 4 orange safety cones in front of the precarious, mini-cliffs along the side of Harbor Beach Cove road.

Jump ahead to Fall of 2015. City Manager Stinson and assistant Ellie Mae Derrickson claim there IS a contract to fix the problem. Unfortunately, they can’t find it. The alleged contractor won’t comment on the situation.

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The problem will get worse as winter accelerates the breakdown. 

While it looks like a dangerous mess, the bigger fear is what’s brewing underneath: a Pandora’s box of questionable blacktop and road bed. The City of Brigantine has yet to find a contractor willing to take a chance and open the street to assess the stability and condition of it’s underpinnings.

Built on top…..and right against the water with no bulk head, seawall or other engineering tactic, high tides easily flow into the gaping holes and cracks along the deteriorating roadway.

This isn’t the first time Brigantine City Hall has misrepresented the facts and likely violated environmental protection laws. Just read Brigantine Greenhead Politics; pages 128 & 129.

Here’s the excerpt from Greenhead Politics :

A much more willing accomplice as the new Director of Public Works was Ernie Purdy. Councilman Frugoli was on hand to help break in the new Director correctly.

Within a month of taking over the DPW, Purdy had rolled over and built Councilman Frugoli his private road at Coquille Beach without so much as a whimper. In fact, the job was done so quietly that it never even generated any official paperwork. No plans were drawn up for the project, and City Engineer Doran was never notified.

Neither did anyone bother to obtain authorization from the DEP regarding the encroachment onto protected wetlands. In fact, according to Costello, upon further investigation, no DEP permit could even be located for the existence of the entire Coquille Beach condominium development itself!

True to his word, Frugoli also made sure that the dirty fill, consisting of asphalt, broken pipe and other remains of a broken sewer line, was used. The proposed improvement was never presented to the taxpayers, who were nevertheless expected to foot the bill for the Councilman to assure himself the block vote of at least one grateful condominium association.

The project was such a secret, in fact, that the final job was never even inspected.

When questioned about these annoying little details, Frugoli dismissed the matter with a very Godfather-like wave of his hand, “It’s a very small town, you know, we don’t have to go into a whole dissertation. It’s a matter of putting the dirt on the ground and leveling it off with a grader.”

More importantly, it was a matter of securing a few hundred votes for the low, low price of some city-owned resources. Soon after, the city began to assert that the Coquille Beach path had existed since at least 1980, and that it was actually an emergency access road maintained by the city.

These statements are patently false, as no alleged “emergency access road” is depicted in any official map of Brigantine. Nor is any such road authorized in any resolution or ordinance ever adopted by the city.

Moreover, during his three and a half years as director of Public Works, Costello never once saw this road used by any emergency vehicle, nor did the city or DPW ever maintain it during that time.

This road was actually nothing more than a footpath that was widened and raised.

Read more about the Greenhead Politics of Brigantine here.

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3 thoughts on “Brigantine City Hall: Still No Contract for Collapsing Road”

  1. Accountability Now

    So let me get this straight… because I don’t live on the island of backwards bullshi..

    The City of Brigantine hasn’t mandated the use of e-mail? (the City Manager’s office employees do not use e-mail?) Because in the world I live and work in, we sent things (like Contracts) in PDF format. And then when someone says “I lost the contract”, I simply go into my In-Box or a folder to retrieve the message.& attachment.

    And who is the Contractor who has “No Comment”? A relative of someone in power on the Island ? This is all unacceptable in the world just over the Brigantine Bridge..

    Keep up the antics guys at the City Council Meetings… you’re doing a great job amusing all the dumb second home owners who pay the majority of the real estate taxes on the Island of Backward thinking.

    Oh yeah – I love the new houses being built on the Circle…I wonder who owned those parcels of land? Seems like a great place to build a house… …

  2. Accountability Now

    Has the 2014 Audit Report of Brigantine been released? The 2013 report prepared by Bowman and Co (a large and reputable firm) was dated August 4, 2015. More importantly who were the Brigantine officials who signed off on the Group Affidavit of the 2014 Audit Report and Management Letter ?

    My recollection of this process is…

    1. The appropriate government officials should meet with the auditors to discuss the findings and recommendations

    2. A Corrective Action Plan is due 60 days after the filing the Audit Report

    3. The Chief Financial Officer to required to file a plan describing how the Finance Department will correct the deficiencies identified in the Audit/Management Letter.

    4. The Government officials who signed the Group Affidavit are required to follow up with the appropriate department Managers impacted by the findings, tasked with determining if changes have been implemented and corrected.

    Any thoughts ?

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