12369367268?profile=RESIZE_584xBy Anne Geggis

If Manalapan property owner Billy Joel gifted town commissioners concert tickets — as the piano man did for commissioners years ago — accepting them wouldn’t be a problem, Town Attorney Keith Davis explained to a Town Commission filled with new faces.

But doing it within the dictates of the law is not as simple as saying “thank you,” he added.

That little dose of honesty was one of many for-instances Davis covered during a Jan. 23 workshop on the new life that five commissioners are about to embark on.

One newly minted commissioner, David Knobel, gave Davis high marks for keeping things interesting.

“I was expecting this to be very boring, but he did a great job,” said Knobel, who was sworn in to replace Commissioner Kristin Rosen, representing Point Manalapan, in December.

The commission’s ranks thinned to two sitting members after four commissioners and the mayor opted to resign instead of meeting new state requirements for disclosing personal wealth.

Not all the replacement appointments are official yet.

At January’s workshop, Elliot Bonner was seated, fully sworn in to replace Richard Granara. So was Orla Imbesi, who is filling the seat once occupied by Chauncey Johnstone.

Sometime in the next few months, a vote is expected on Vice Mayor John Deese’s slide into former Mayor Stewart Satter’s chair, as is Cindy McMackin’s appointment to move into Deese’s seat. Dwight Kulwin will be representing the ocean district that Aileen Carlucci once filled and is expected to be sworn in along with McMackin soon.

Got that?

Davis had a lot for the new commissioners — at least four who have never served on an elected board before — to remember as he briefed them for more than an hour. He covered the functions of the town staff, the town charter’s requirements and, perhaps most intricate, the new standards that they must meet when it comes to everyday activities such as sending emails, accepting gifts, chatting with each other and even commenting on social media posts.

Being active on social media is fine, they heard. But it should not be about town business unless certain precautions are taken, Davis said. And posting online when they are making public decisions should not be done without thinking about it, because they might be creating a public record subject to a request, Davis said.

“Social media is really the challenge these days,” Davis said. “There are elected officials who ... want to reach out to their constituents through that.”

Imbesi said she’s not one of those: “I share with my close friends and children, so I can see all my grandkids.”

She would definitely fill out a form in order to legally accept those Joel tickets, too.

“Then, I think he had just moved in and thought it would be a nice thing to do,” Imbesi said.

However, she expects serving will be its own reward.

“I don’t think there’s going to be anybody wanting to gift me for anything,” she said.

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