Barnegat Mayor Censured Over ‘Out-of-Control Actions’

Mar 14, 2018

One of the four Barnegat Township committeemen who censured Mayor Frank Caputo over what they called excessively rude behavior said he is willing to bury the hatchet.

“We have a lot of work to do, so we have to get past this and get back to working together because that would not be good for the township,” said Deputy Mayor Alfonso Cirulli.

At the March 9 meeting, Cirulli and fellow committee members John Novak, Albert Bille and Joseph Lopes passed a resolution to not only censure Caputo but also give him a “vote of no confidence.”

“Today’s task is not a pleasant one, but a necessary one,” said Novak, who proposed the resolution. “While the public may evaluate us each November, we must be ever watchful throughout the year. We need to police ourselves, and when a situation requiring action presents itself, as this unfortunately does, we must act. Failure to do so would be inconsistent with our office and our oath. Due to the improper touching and/or assault of a committeeman, the display of an out-of-control, profanity-laden tirade and the threat of violence against another committeeman, I am compelled to move for the censure of Frank Caputo and do so at this time.”

Cirulli said tensions have been building with Caputo since he was chosen by a majority of committee members to serve as mayor for 2018 at the Jan. 1 reorganization meeting. Cirulli said the situation boiled over prior to the February meeting when Caputo “went into a rage” at Novak.

“I was trying to calm him down and then he (Caputo) put his hands around my throat,” said Cirulli. “I’m saying, ‘Frank, Frank what are you doing?’ Then he let up.”

Novak said Caputo “seemed to change” when he became mayor.

“It was nit-picky stuff, like where the committee people sit at the dais,” he said. “But what happened last month was totally out of line. If we didn’t take a stand, it would look like we are approving this type of behavior.”

Caputo declined to comment, other than to say, “It has been resolved.” He did not indicate if he would seek re-election in November.

The March meeting was the second for Lopes, who last month was appointed by the committee to fill out Susan McCabe’s unexpired one-year term. She resigned to take the new position of labor attorney/human resources director for Barnegat Township.

“What happened was very inappropriate,” said Lopes. “But I think they’re all good men who have strong personalities, very passionate about Barnegat.”

Bille declined to comment. 

— Eric Englund


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