• September 21, 2019

Upper hires GOP leader as new media consultant - Ocean City Sentinel: News

Upper hires GOP leader as new media consultant

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Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2019 11:04 am

UPPER TOWNSHIP — Township Committee has approved a contract for media consulting services with Larry Trulli, the Republican Committee leader for Upper Township.

Committeeman Hobie Young abstained from the otherwise unanimous vote on the contract Monday, May 13. Young wanted the duties of the position outlined in more detail. 

According to Mayor Richard Palombo, Trulli will help publicize township events in the local media.

He said the contract is for $10,000 a year. Because 2019 is almost half over, he said, it would end up being closer to $5,000. Palombo described the contract as being approved on a trial basis. 

“The number is not staggering by any means,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to try something to see if it works. If it doesn’t work then we all walk away from it.” 

Trulli is a local radio personality and also serves on the township Zoning Board. He said he works for Cape May County at the Upper Township Senior Center. He has also advocated for a full interchange off the Garden State Parkway at Exit 20 in Seaville. After Monday’s meeting, Trulli said his political activities would not overlap with his work under the township contract. 

In addition to serving as leader of the Republican Committee for Upper Township, Trulli is listed as the campaign chairman for the re-election efforts of Committeemen Jon Coggins and Young this year. He served in the same capacity for Palombo and running mate Ed Barr last year and for Committeeman Curtis Corson in 2017, meaning he worked to elect everyone on the township governing body. 

“That’s not why he was picked,” Palombo said in an interview Tuesday. He cited Trulli’s work in radio and knowledge of local media. 

In the interview, and at Monday’s meeting, Palombo expressed frustration with the amount of coverage Upper Township receives, even in publications with Upper Township in their name. He said Trulli would help publicize local events, saying that in some cases, the township’s Independence Day celebrations are not even listed in area publications. 

At the meeting Monday, Young read from the contract with Trulli, which stated he was to prepare promotional materials for events in Upper Township. 

“It’s kind of vague,” Young said. “I think we need to take a look at this to make sure we have the job description pretty clear.”

Young said that would help protect Trulli. 

Young suggested he wanted the Township Clerk’s Office to have a stronger voice, stating that clerk Barbara Young already performs some similar tasks. 

“The contract can be amended. However, the way it’s written currently, the outside media consultant doesn’t produce anything unless it’s approved by the township administrator,” said Dan Young, the township attorney. 

While the committeeman, the township attorney and Township Clerk Barbara Young share a surname, none is related to each other.

Anything Trulli produced as a consultant would need to be approved by Township Administrator Scott Morgan, the attorney said. 

Still, there seemed to be some confusion over Trulli’s duties. At the meeting, Corson said the contract would not entail advertising the Fourth of July events. 

“It’s for activities that are going on in the township, things that unfortunately are not getting reported in the newspapers,” Palombo said. “Not everyone has access to the computers.” 

Palombo said the township is doing a lot of work online already. 

At previous meetings, Morgan has discussed the township website as a way of keeping in touch with residents, posting information such as the leaf collection schedules, meeting agendas and notices of upcoming events at uppertownship.com.

Corson said the contract could be amended if needed. 

The township attorney said he could make changes but needed direction from the governing body. 

“As it stands now, the township administrator decides who does what, under this contract,” he said. 

After the meeting, Trulli said there are times residents have not heard about major events in the township. Trulli has lived in Upper Township for four years and has been a Cape May County resident since 1977.

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