TOMS RIVER, NJ – Jean Mikle is one of the last people standing at the flailing Asbury Park Press newspaper. Last week, her name swirled in rumors around the county administration building as a potential successor in the Ocean County public information department. It has been announced that Donna Flynn, who heads the department is considering retirement, and county officials would like to see Mikle in that spot.
“She had told us she wants to do freelance work in the future,” said one freeholder who wishes to remain anonymous.
The Asbury Park Press is in decline and its parent company has been conducting round after round of layoffs. Mikle has been one of the few veteran reporters to weather the storm and survive the multiple rounds of layoffs.
Mikle rejected the Freeholder’s assertion that she’s poking around the county for a plan B.
“I have never discussed or shown any interest in getting a job with the county, township, or any other entity, either in Ocean County or throughout the state. That’s ridiculous,” Mikle said.
Many laid-off former reporters of the Asbury Park Press and the former Ocean County Observer have found a second life in the form of new jobs working for the county or local municipalities as public information officers. Those jobs often carry six-figure salaries.