Atlantic Highlands Council meeting

ATL. HIGHLANDS – Although Councilwoman Lori Hohenleitner asked that a Council resolution urging the state Department of Health get vaccines to approved independent pharmacies such as Bayshore Pharmacy be taken from the routine approval of resolutions at last week’s council meeting because it was political, she ultimately voted in favor of it after a more than ten minute discussion. Councilman Jon Crowley, who indicated his agreement with the councilwoman’s reasons, abstained on the vote, which was ultimately passed 5-0 . At issue during a three hour long council meeting which included a two hour public hearing on proposed parking on Ocean Blvd., was a resolution urging the Department of Health to provide vaccine for distribution by independent pharmacies approved by the state for the administration of the vaccine. Mayor Tony Perry had approved a similar resolution in Middletown and Mayor Loretta Gluckstein was asked to ask this borough’s council to do the same, since both communities have independent pharmacies without Covid-19 vaccine. In Atlantic Highlands, Bayshore Pharmacy at the Food town shopping center is the only pharmacy in either this borough or neighboring Highlands. Bayshore Pharmacy owners had spent an estimated $7,000 and filled out all the necessary applications and paperwork so they could administer the Covid-19 vaccine after the Department of Health approved them for a distribution site. However, in spite of the state approval and the pharmacy’s expenditures, up until this week only the chain store pharmacies had received the actual vaccine. In requesting the resolution be pulled from the standard single vote to approve resolutions on the agenda, Hohenleitner said that she would not “agree to anything political” at a council meeting. Mayor Gluckstein expressed surprise the councilwoman thought the matter was political rather than support for a local business, which was its sole purpose. Other council members agreed with the mayor. Hohenleitner continued to ask what plan the borough was suggesting to the state to have for distribution to local pharmacies to receive vaccine, and Councilmen James Murphy, Brian Boms and Steve Borrichia each stressed they were not suggesting any plans, but rather showing support for local business and “it’s the squeaky meal that gets the oil.” They stated they were not advocating taking vaccines from any other facility, simply that since the state had approved independent pharmacies for distribution, they should give them the vaccine so they could accomplish what they were approved to do. Crowley suggested they not take any action on the resolution, since the local pharmacy had received, according to the borough administrator, 25 vaccines that day, vaccines the administrator said he was certain the pharmacy had already administered. However, he said, the pharmacy had no indication of when or whether they would receive any further vaccines. Crowley termed the resolution filled with “a lot of vagaries” and “not specific enough” saying he needed more facts. Holenleitner made it clear she is a customer of the local pharmacy, is friendly with the owner and did not question the resolution for any reason other than she felt it was politically motivated. However, when the resolution was moved to a vote, she voted in favor of the resolution, leaving Crowley the only member of the governing body to abstain, and all five other members, including Councilman Roy Dellosso, approving it.


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