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Former Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Guadagno gets a new job, again

Former Lt. Governor will head Asbury Park-based non-profit

By David Wildstein, August 18 2021 6:25 pm

Embattled former Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, who lost her job at a Monmouth County food bank in April, has been hired by a non-profit organization that helps underserved communities in Asbury Park.

ROI-NJ reported on Wednesday that Guadagno is now the executive director of Mercy Center.  She succeeds Sister Carol Ann Henry, who recently retired after 39 years in the post.

“Kim is passionate about our vision and will help to ensure that Mercy Center continues to grow and serve the greater Asbury Park community for many more years to come,” said Mary Beth Radke, the Board of Trustees chair, in a statement posted on the group’s website.

This completes an aggressive four-month job search by Guadagno and is her fourth job in less than four years.

Mercy Center has a $5.8 million annual budget, according to documents posted on its website.

Guadagno served two terms as Lt. Governor and was the GOP nominee for Governor in 2017, losing to Democrat Phil Murphy by a 303,527 votes, 56%-42%.

Last month, Guadagno left the Republican Party and notified the Monmouth County Board of Elections that she no longer wished to be affiliated with a political party.

The board at Mercy Center does not appear to be overtly political, although their vice chair, former acting New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Mary Catherine Cuff, was one of eight names proposed by Democrats to be the tiebreaker on the Legislative Apportionment Commission.

Radke said the organization’s “search for a new Executive Director allowed us to consider a number of excellent candidates from many walks of life.”

Strained relationships with Monmouth GOP leaders over the last year – including her successor as Sheriff, Republican County Chairman Shaun Golden — led to her ouster as the CEO of Fulfill, a Jersey shore food bank she ran for two years.

Guadagno has been sharply critical of Golden since his decision to dump one of her closest political allies, Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-Holmdel), from the Monmouth GOP organization line. Guadagno campaigned actively for DiMaso, who lost the Republican primary to Vicki Flynn, the Holmdel school board president.

Guadagno faced heavy criticism for failing to apply for COVID-19 relief funding administered by Monmouth County under the CARES Act.  That followed Guadagno’s own letter chastising the Republican-controlled Board of Commissioners for not sending stimulus funding to her non-profit.

Strained relationships between Guadagno and county elected officials has left some board members concerned that she might cause them to lose future county funding, especially after Monmouth County obtains additional funding under President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief package.  She was also never able to forge solid relationships with her own board and top executives of the organization.

Guadagno had a tense relationship with Christie during her two terms as Lt. Governor.  Her friends say she is openly hostile toward the candidacy of Jack Ciattarelli, a former Republican assemblyman who challenged her in the 2017 Republican gubernatorial primary.

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