A quirk in New Jersey state employment statues forced a popular member of the Seaside Heights borough council to step down last year, but he has now returned – with the town thanking the long-serving official who held his seat for nine months.
Richard Tompkins returned to the dais this month to replace Councilman Guy Mazzanti, who was appointed to fill the remainder of Tompkins’ term on the governing body after he retired from his full-time job at the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. In order to receive his pension, he was barred from public employment in New Jersey for six months. Though council members receive just a nominal stipend for their service, the position is still counted as a job, thus forcing Tompkins’ resignation.
Mazzanti had previously served on the council as well as the planning board. He, himself, resigned earlier this month and was replaced by Tompkins, whose seat he held.
“I’d like to thank all of you for assisting me for nine months,” said Mazzanti, who received a plaque from Mayor Anthony Vaz, who thanked him for coming out of civic retirement to fill in on the council. “You gave me an education. You’re all aware of what’s going on and you people are as smart as a tack.”
Tompkins said he believes in the administration’s plan for the revival of Seaside Heights and was happy to be back.
“If I didn’t think this town was heading in a positive direction, I wouldn’t have come back up here,” he said. “With this mayor and council, this town has a bright future and I want to be part of that.”