Manasquan Councilman Donald Grasso, a former Republican and current Conservative Party member, has resigned his seat effective immediately.
Grasso cited "malicious attacks, no compromise, hateful mail and vile comments by bloggers" in an email Monday to explain why he "cannot fulfill the balance of my term.
"This is not what I expected when I moved to Manasquan," the first-term councilman wrote.
"I must move on and concentrate my efforts in other areas."
Grasso's resignation means residents are assured of two new faces aboard the six-member governing body next year. Grasso and Councilwoman Patricia Connolly's three-year terms are expiring, and Connolly
Grasso, who would have had to file as an Independent by June 5 to run in the fall, said as recently as this month that his
Mayor George Dempsey said Monday that the governing body "would definitely replace" Grasso, and the governing body will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday to formally accept his resignation.
Grasso's status as a former Republican initially posed a legal quandary as the borough sought guidance on the process by which he will be replaced.
However, the governing body and administration has been advised by borough counsel that the municipal GOP, the party that initially nominated Grasso, will be tasked with submitting three possible replacements to the Borough Council, Dempsey said.
The GOP have until May 7 to forward possibilities to council, which will select a replacement via majority vote.
"We want to get the wheels going as soon as possible," the mayor said.
Although Grasso's tenure was at times contentious, Dempsey said he wishes the former councilman no ill will.
"There's no animosity, no hard feelings. He had good ideas, he just didn't always research them enough," Dempsey said.
"I wish him well."
Four candidates will vie for the two seats in the November election. Republicans Greg Olivera and Michael Sinneck will look to fend off Democrats Peter Pappas and Michele Batista, whose election would result in an all-Democratic governing body.
The full text of Grasso's resignation letter is as follows:
Effective immediately I am submitting my resignation as Councilman of the Borough of Manasquan. I am currently involved in opportunities that will require my utmost attention, energy, and immediate extensive travel.
Over the past 2 years as your Councilman there were many policies enacted, reports instituted, and "Bold Fresh Ideas" recommended by me to assist Manasquan. I'm proud that I had the courage and moral conviction to ask all questions that needed answers in helping not the few but the many whom live in here.
It was a pleasure being associated with the employees at Borough Hall, and I want to thank them for their hard work and dedication in helping the residents of Manasquan.
I honestly wish the citizens of Manasquan all the best and good fortune.
Councilman Don Grasso
The Borough of Manasquan
Grasso and borough Administrator Joseph DeIorio could not be reached for immediate comment. Come back to Patch for more information on this breaking story.