LITTLE EGG HARBOR – In a video interview with Ocean County Politics, Mayor Eugene “Gene” Kobryn alleged that “hidden agendas” from Republican township committee members were the driving force behind the drawn out investigation into the Little Egg Harbor police chief and administrator, which has been the source of political turmoil in the small southern Ocean County town in recent months.
Alleges “Lack Of Ethics” From Little Egg Committeemen Gormley & Kehm
Mayor Kobryn first addressed the months-long “investigation” into the township’s administrator, Garrett Loesch, and police chief Richard Buzby. That affair has led to contentious public disciplinary hearings and heated township meetings in the past few months.
“The current committee people launched an investigation with the sole purpose of firing Garrett Loesch and going after the chief,” the mayor said of the ordeal.
“The result of that is they crossed the line as far as ethics – their moral compass was shot – because they had a hidden agenda.”
The mayor also told us that he believes the hiring of Sal Perillo to conduct the investigation – and the expenditure of thousands of dollars on legal fees with his firm – was not done in the best interests of the public the township committee was elected to serve, as the committee ultimately voted to fully clear Mr. Loesch and Mr. Buzby of any wrongdoing in connection with the subject matter of the reports.
“None of the investigation was for the benefit of the taxpayers,” he said. “It was only for the benefit of the two of them [John Kehm & Ray Gormley] who knew what they wanted to do and had a hidden agenda.”
Little Egg Mayor: Resignations Are Appropriate
When asked if he agrees with the two law enforcement organizations calling on Committeemen John Kehm & Ray Gormley to resign in light of the investigation’s outcome and effects on township business, the mayor did not hesitate and said he agreed with those calling for the two Republican elected officials to resign.
Asked to elaborate, the mayor said “They’ve had some ethical lapses, and as a result they’ve had hidden agendas which they’ve pushed forward. In this case it was an investigation they did with two township employees.”
“They crossed the line, their integrity to me is gone,” he added.
Kobryn said that he along with Deputy Mayor Dave Schlick and Committeewoman Lisa Stevens – 3 out of of the 5 committee members – knew nothing about the investigation until March of this year, when he requested a copy of Perillo’s report.
He feared that if he did not formally make a request for a copy of the confidential report in his capacity as the township’s mayor, he would never get a chance to see the end result of the investigation.
The mayor said he will be continue to press for the release of the report to the public again at next week’s township committee meeting. Both Mr. Loesch and Mr. Buzby have made statements through their attorneys indicating that they consent to the report’s release in full, in the interest of transparency.
“The public has a right to see the report that they paid for, and the two employees have a right to request the report to be released.”
Democrats Must Organize Better To Retain Majority, Kobryn Says
Having now seen Ocean County politics from both sides of the aisle, Mayor Kobryn said in an interview that a limiting factor for Democratic candidates has been an organizing deficit on the part of the county Democratic party.
“They need a more robust organization to focus on what they need to do in Ocean County,” Kobryn said. “The Democrats themselves can set a new direction and not do the ‘same old same old’ that’s been done before.”
“Events like this should encourage them to do more than they have been doing,” he added, speaking of the recent shakeups in Little Egg Harbor’s municipal government.
“The opportunity exists where they can make a substantial inroad in this town by reelecting me and sustaining a Democratic majority going forward.”