BARNEGAT – During the Barnegat Township Committee’s first 10 a.m. meeting on March 6, committee members announced a motion to censure Mayor Frank Caputo.
A censure, in terms of government, is a “judgement involving condemnation,” according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. To censure someone means that the collective body denounces a certain member due to actions or transgressions that run counter to the governing body’s accepted values and behavior.
Committeeman John Novak proposed a censure on Mayor Caputo due to acts of improper touching and threats of violence against a fellow committeeman, according to a release.
At the beginning of the meeting, Committeeman Albert Bille made a motion to move up the discussion items portion of the meeting to immediately follow committee reports. This motion gained a yes vote from all committee members aside from Mayor Caputo, who voted no.
Committeeman John Novak noted that, “today’s task is not a pleasant one – but a necessary one. 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.
“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,” stated Novak during the meeting.
Following Novak’s remarks, Deputy Mayor Alfonso Cirulli motioned to amend the censure to incorporate a vote of no confidence, which was granted. A vote of no confidence adds to the censure the proposal to remove the selected individual from a position.
All four committeemen – Novak, Cirulli, Joseph Lopes (the newest committeeman), and Bille – all voted yes to the censure. Mayor Caputo was the sole vote against.
In response to this action, Mayor Caputo remarked that he was offended and called the motion an effort to “discredit” him as mayor.
Once the moment had passed, it was not brought up again during the meeting. However, there were some noticeable moments of tension between the committee members.