Last night the Jackson council gave it’s blessing to an ordinance creating a new $200,000 per year job, that of Public Safety Director. Prior to the 3-2 vote, which saw councilman Borelli and councilman Chisholm vote no, the public was given the opportunity to comment on the proposed ordinance.

It was during publuc comment that council President Jennifer Juhn, angered by a resident's words, ruled that resident out of order and instructed Jackson police to escort that resident out of the meeting.

Jackson resident and CUPON head Elenor Hannum spoke in opposition to the ordinance citing what she considered an improper vote taken by members of the police union. Hannum alleged that a formal vote was never taken but rather only a show of hands vote.

But Hannum wasn’t done.

Hannum accused Mayor Reina of supporting the new ordinance as a means of undermining Jackson police Chief Kunz, an allegation supported by a secret recording of Reina previously exposed here on FAA News. In that recording Reina expressess his disdain for Kunz because “he pulled over my daughter, he impounded my son’s car…”

Hannum then targetted council President Jennifer Kuhn.

Accusing Kuhn of using law enforcement as a prop to support Kuhn’s business, JLK Realty, Hannum expressed her belief that Kuhn might be too close to law enforcement to cast an unbiased vote. Hannum referenced a February 16 post on Facebook made by Kuhn that described her “current situation” by posting a photograph of 6 Ocean County Sheriff Officers poised outside of a home the Kuhn was evicting residents from. It is rare that such a show of force is needed for an eviction and the posture of the officers didn’t indicated any imminent threat.

Hannum then accused Kuhn of having a romantic relationship with PBA President Jeff Henba which drew an audible shout from the audience. It also drew a strong reaction from Kuhn who gaveled Hannum down, ruled her out of order and then ordered Hannum removed by Jackson police officers, a clear violation of Hannum’s First Amendment right to speak freely.

The Open Public Meetings Act grants members of the public an opportunity to be heard at public meetings. Hannum was speaking in the proper order and expressing her views when Kuhn ruled her out of order simply because she didn’t like Hannum’s views.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union it was Kuhn who was out of order.

“The public body cannot censor your speech during a public comment portion because it does not agree with you or like what you are saying. The public body also cannot prohibit comments based on subject matter so long as the comments relate to any issue “that a member of the public feels may be of concern to the residents of the municipality or school district.”

Efforts to reach Hannum and Kuhn went unanswered prior to publication of this article.

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