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Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton.

Facing re-election, Thornton sees no shortage of scandal

Freeholder faces retaliation lawsuit, censured fellow Republican, chided another

By Nikita Biryukov, August 02 2019 11:19 am

There’s been no shortage of bad news for Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton in recent weeks.

Roughly two weeks ago, an appellate court reinstated a lawsuit alleging Thornton retaliated against Kim Allen, a two-term purchasing agent for the county who was not reappointed after she raised concerns over the county hiring a law firm without issuing a request for proposals as required by law.

Allen further claimed County Counsel Jeff Lindsay, who was then director of the county’s human resources department, sought to allow a law firm he preferred to amend its bid. Such amendments are disallowed by state law.

The suit alleged similar conduct on behalf of county nursing home administrator Linda Thornton, who is Thornton’s wife.

“Often those who act as the conscience of the community are disfavored: There was a reason Pinocchio bludgeoned Jiminy Cricket with a hammer,” the judges wrote in their 2-1 decision reinstating Allen’s suit.

The appellate court’s decision was first reported by the Press of Atlantic City.

The 70-odd-year-old lawmaker faced allegations of nepotism during a freeholder meeting in early July when the board voted in favor of two censures against Freeholder Marie Hayes, a fellow Republican.

Hayes claimed she was being retaliated against because she voted against merging the positions of board clerk and county administrator. The vote passed 3-2, and both positions are now held by Beth Bozzelli, who filed a retaliation claim against Hayes over her vote on the matter.

Hayes claimed the censures were retaliation for that and for her refusal to vote for raises for Thornton’s stepson.

Thornton and Hayes are both seeking re-election this year, though they declined to say whether they would run as a team following the censures in early July.

Most recently, Thornton had to chide Freeholder Will Morey for driving across in a go-kart a recently-renovated bridge that had yet to be reopened to the public, the Cape May County Herald reported.

The Townsend Inlet Bridge reopened two months late.

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2 thoughts on “Facing re-election, Thornton sees no shortage of scandal

  1. Gerry is the poster child for politicians who stay in office way to long by believing their tenure allows them to disregard best practices and at the same time screwing long time employees because they don’t believe in their politics. The recent exposed nepotism controversy has been brewing under his leadership for a few years. Our county government is broken and it’s time to have some checks and balances that will stop the lawsuits. There are two highly qualified democratic candidates running this year, it’s time for change.

  2. Mr.Harron, you couldnt be further from the truth. Mr. Thornton has dedicated himself to the families and employees of this county for years. His leadership and compassion for the people of this county is above no one else. If you cant handle the FACT that the people in this county have supported him for many years because of the job he has done maybe you should try and support him instead of trying to divide everyone

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