HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ – Howell Township Business Manager Brian Geoghegan must go. There aren’tt too many things the Howell Democrats and Republicans agree on just four days ahead of the contentious 2020 election, but one place both parties find common ground on is that 2020 could be the last year for Geoghegan’s employment with the township.
Geoghegan, a lifelong resident of Toms River, under Howell’s form of government wields more power than any elected official in the township and that’s not sitting well with many residents on both sides of the political aisle. Earlier this month, Geoghegan made a unilateral decision to close all of Howell’s parks after a large number of Orthodox Jewish residents were caught using them, not social distancing and according to complaints, not wearing facemasks.
The decision to close the parks and effectively all of the township’s youth sports programs was Geoghegan’s order. Mayor Theresa and members of the township council worked quickly to undo Geoghegan’s gaffe and restore youth sports without interruption.
Geoghegan is also facing a lawsuit by a former township employee. He is the focus of a new lawsuit that alleges unequal pay for women and a hostile workplace for females and older workers. Rosemary O’Donnell, 65, filed a lawsuit against Geoghegan, a retired Jackson Township police officer in July. O’Donnell claims Geoghegan retaliated against her by firing her, citing whistleblower retaliation, according to an Asbury Park Press report. In that report, O’Donnell alleges Geoghegan fired her for her role in a whistleblower lawsuit. She claims he ruined her life and she has had to sell her home.
Then, there’s the case of the former Director of Community Development who hasn’t shown up for work but was paid during an unexplained leave of absence by Geoghegan.
James R. Herrman, the Director of Community Development for Howell Township resigned on September 6th, but nobody in town has heard from him since February of this year. Today, Herrman’s disappearance was confirmed by the Asbury Park Press. Residents have been questioning where the township employee who earns $173,000 has been since the winter. Township Business Administrator Brian Geoghegan declined to comment about Herrman’s absence from town hall and from township meetings since February. Howell officials won’t disclose why Herrman was paid for so long during his absence.
Geoghegan retired from the Jackson Township Police Department and has served as a business administrator in three towns since his retirement. This year, Geoghegan sold flailing Lampost Inn restaurant which he owned in Bayville.
Sources within the Democrat party in Howell said that if Berger is re-elected and newcomer Andre De Garmeaux wins his election, Geoghegan’s time in Howell will end on December 31st. On the other side of the aisle, a political consultant paid by the Republican party ticket also said Republicans want Geoghegan out at the end of the year.