BRIGANTINE, N.J. — Mayor J. Edward Kline resigned last night, one month after residents of this island town north of Atlantic City voted to change the form of city government in what Kline acknowledged was a referendum on his leadership.
Kline – a contractor who also last month lost a bid for a third Assembly term – did not appear at the City Commission meeting at which his resignation was announced.
Thomas R. Burns, a recently retired state police lieutenant, was sworn in to complete Kline’s term as a commissioner. Burns, 52, said last night he would serve until the new city council form of government took effect in early 1991 and would not seek election.
Commissioner Robert J. Shipley, whom the other commissioners named to replace Kline as mayor, gaveled down residents who tried to speak last night.
Kline came under intense criticism in the summer for a deal in which the city was to borrow $1.5 million to buy a piece of waterfront land from former Mayor John A. Rogge, who twice before had tried to sell the land to developers for far less money. The city later withdrew from the deal.
Last month, Kline lost his bid for a third Assembly term largely because of a poor showing for him from his home town. Kline said in an interview earlier yesterday that the resignation freed him from municipal political battles so he can devote his efforts to regaining his Assembly seat in 1991.