HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ – As election day ballots and provisional ballots are counted in Monmouth County Republican Councilwoman Evelyn O’Donnell is closing in on small business owner Andre DeGarmeaux’s lead. It is projected now that O’Donnell will win the election as the remaining ballots will likely lean Republican. DeGarmeaux’s running mate, Mayor Theresa Berger however has pulled ahead of her Republican challenger Susan Brennan.
Currently, Berger, who staunchly opposes the Republican plan to build a massive recycling facility on Randolph Road leads Brennan by nearly 10 points.
A win for O’Donnell might save embattled Business Manager Brian Geoghegan’s job. It might not. Geoghegan has been under fire for a series of questionable unilateral moves he has made in recent months that have upset the residents of Howell. First, Geoghegan wields more power than the mayor and council combined. Many residents say, Geoghegan, who is not a resident of Howell doesn’t exactly have the township’s best interest at heart.
A Monmouth County Republican who is close to Geoghegan told Shore News Network, “Both sides really want him out, but it will be hard for the Howell Republicans to get rid of him because of his connections to the party.”
If DeGarmeaux and Berger both win, it’s definitely the end of the line for Geoghegan, but let’s face it. Numbers don’t lie and those numbers aren’t looking good right now for DeGarmeaux as the final batches of late mail-in and provisional ballots will likely eat away at his current 157 vote lead he maintains over O’Donnell in the next couple of days.
Geoghegan can breathe a sigh of relief but has to continue explaining his actions to the people of Howell. Geoghegan is involved in three scandals. First, a whistleblower lawsuit by a former employee who claims workplace harassment has been filed against him. Secondly, when Geoghegan unilaterally made the decision to shut down the township parks and effectively shut down youth sports, residents from all walks of life were shocked at the power one out-of-towner wielded in their community. Lastly, Geoghegan recently was involved in a cover-up that saw a former executive employee get a huge payday after not showing up for work for months. Once again, residents are still waiting for answers on that decision, but Geoghegan has thus far refused to speak about the incident.
Geoghegan right now is the most powerful public official in Howell. He doesn’t need the council or mayor’s consent to run the township and he knows it. Arrogance has always been the Achilles heel for the business manager and that arrogance is what might drive Republicans in the township to make the move necessary to appease voters ahead of the next big election after the tight 2020 election has shown, party lines can…and will be crossed across Howell if it’s in the best interest of the community.