M&C: Massage Parlors Eyed, F.F. Harassment Report…

After a smattering of prostitution busts at massage parlors in Secaucus in the past year, the town council introduced an ordinance Tuesday night to give local officials more authority to regulate and enforce standards on such establishments.

Business administrator David Drumeler said the proposed statute is intended to target “less legitimate” massage parlors as it gives police and health officials “a little more teeth” through enforcement and licensing rules.

Gonnelli addresses a resident at the Jan. 25 meeting of the mayor and council.

Secaucus Police recently made prostitution busts in November and December at local parlors, including two women on Nov. 16 at the Blue Spa on Route 3 East and two more women at the Garden Health Spa on Dec. 2, following undercover operations.

A sting operation with the FBI in early November also netted five prostitutes and a driver at a hotel in town.

Drumeler said the ordinance will give local officials greater power to revoke a license and shut down a business found to be engaging in illegal activity.

REPORT UNDER REVIEW: Second Ward Councilman James Clancy said the council has received an independent report on the 2004 incident that led to a large civil judgment against the town and the resignation of three firefighters.

The report, produced by law firm McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, was commissioned after firefighters and some town residents petitioned the council for the three firefighters to be reinstated last year.

Clancy said the council will review the report and discuss it in a closed session next week.

Most of the members of the council were not in office when the incident occurred. Secaucus was ordered to pay nearly $5M after a gay couple sued the town for harassment.

A gay rights group last year protested at a town council meeting to voice opposition against the reinstatement of the three firefighters.

BOARDING BUSTS: First Ward Councilman Gary Jeffas said officials have been following up on complaints of boarding houses and excessive numbers of residents in homes in town.

Jeffas said one such dwelling was discovered last week and action taken. He is urging residents to report any suspicious activity to the town as homes exceeding occupancy put a strain on schools and other services. He also stressed that it can be timely to conduct such investigations and asked for patience.

Mayor Mike Gonnelli said last week’s violator was the fourth dwelling found in the last year. “In this economy, people are looking to generate income [by renting out rooms],” said Gonnelli, who noted crowded or sublet dwellings also pose hazards to emergency services personnel.

MOMENT OF SILENCE: The governing body opened its Jan. 25 public meeting with a moment of silence for Al McClure, the well-known lifelong Secaucus resident who died Jan. 19 at 85.

McClure, who was grand marshall of the Memorial Day parade last year, was a building maintenance and animal control officer in town for 14 years remembered for his work at the town’s animal shelter.

He was predeceased by his wife, Mildred, and is survived by daughter Irene Auriemma, son Alfred McClure and his wife Donna, son Larry McClure and his wife Jill, son Bruce McClure, daughter Ruthann Reuther and her husband Brian, and son Edward P. McClure and his wife Pamela.

He was a member of Secaucus Memorial V.F.W. Post #3776 and belonged to the Secaucus Masonic Lodge F & AM for 55 years. He was a U.S. Navy veteran during World War II and owned and operated McClure’s Bus & Truck Service in North Bergen, as well as Graham Stationary in New York.

NEW EMTs: Gonnelli said eight firefighters have completed training to become emergency medical technicians, providing an “extra layer of protection” for the town during weather emergencies and other events. The trainees took a three-month course and passed an exam ahead of state certification.