NJ Mayor Apologizes for Calling Residents "Annoying"

Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher apologized for comments he made about Ortley Beach residents last week

By Ida Siegal
|  Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013  |  Updated 11:23 AM EDT
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Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher had some choice words for homeowners who complained about the slow pace of post-Sandy recovery, and on Tuesday he got the chance to apologize.  News 4's Ida Siegal reports.

NBC 4 New York

Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher had some choice words for homeowners who complained about the slow pace of post-Sandy recovery, and on Tuesday he got the chance to apologize. News 4's Ida Siegal reports.

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The mayor of Toms River apologized Tuesday night for comments he made about an area battered by Sandy, but not all residents were satisfied.

Last week, Mayor Thomas Kelaher told Bloomberg News that he thought residents of Ortley Beach, where many are still without homes, were "annoying." 

"I certainly never intended to be disrespectful to the people who live in Ortley beach," Kelaher said at a meeting Tuesday.

Some residents said they didn't think his apology was sincere.

"I think it was disgraceful," said Peter Suriani. "He addressed the council members; he never looked at the people of Ortley."

The mayor explained that the "annoying" comment referred to people who accused the town of doing nothing, which he says is untrue, and people who made demands that are rude.

Kelaher was expecting a big public backlash at the meeting, but it didn't materialize.

"The remarks hit me as insensitive," said Mike Shumsky, another Ortley Beach resident. "But the fact is, it's over with and we're beating a horse to death here I think we need to move forward."

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