Borough council censures Robert Merriken again

Heights Councilman Robert Merriken's court apperence in Neptune, NJ on 7/19/18. [DANIELLA HEMINGHAUS | THE COAST STAR]

SPRING LAKE HEIGHTS — For the second time in four months, Councilman Robert Merriken has been censured by the borough council.

The latest resolution of censure, approved on Monday night, followed Mr. Merriken’s arrest by Brielle police during a traffic stop on Aug. 8. The council had previously censured him on May 21, following his earlier arrest in Neptune City on April 4.

Monday’s censure resolution was approved unanimously by the members present. Mr. Merriken and Councilman Joseph Tompey were absent.

Council President Chris Campion, Rich Diver, James Shuler and Sara King voted for censure on Monday — Ms. King reversing her lone vote against censure on May 21.

The censure, which was read aloud by Councilman Diver, called for Mr. Merriken to resign in part because of the “ridicule” the borough is subjected to as a result of his legal problems.

Along with the sharp criticism, however, came some expressions of sympathy for Mr. Merriken, whose wife died earlier this summer.

Mayor Thomas O’Brien was the first to voice his concerns, saying that while he has been relatively quiet on the matter, he is tired of the continuing controversy stemming from Mr. Merriken’s recent arrests.

Neptune City police charged the councilman with possession of a hypodermic needle, drug paraphernalia, and motor vehicle violations on April 4 with a trial scheduled for Sept. 20. Brielle police charged Mr. Merriken with possession of a “controlled deadly substance” and drug paraphernalia on Aug. 8.

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