Residents of Keyport, NJ are celebrating in the streets since the beautiful Monmouth County shore town has existed --indeed, thrived -- for 2,100 days since the last time a mayor has been arrested.
"You know how some workplaces have those signs that say 'number of days accident-free'?" asked Keyport resident Anthony Rosania. "Well, ours says 'Indicted Mayor-free', and 2,100 days is a heck of an accomplishment."
It was on February 22, 2005 that Keyport Mayor John J. Merla, along with almost every other Mommouth County politician, was taken from his home in handcuffs, after being charged with accepting a series of 'corrupt cash payments' from a snitch, in exchange for steering contracts for public work in Keyport to the briber.
Merla eventually pleaded guilty to one count of official misconduct and spent 22 months in prison.
"It should be noted that Mr. Merla has paid his debt to society, is fully rehabilitated, and seems like a wonderful, wonderful man," continued Rosania, who lives about 500 feet away from Merla. "I'm no dummy."
And now, some 2,100 days after his arrest, Keyport is focused on remaining corruption-free.
"We are far too busy to get involved with such nonsense," said an anonymous Keyport official. "Our focus remains on the important things: Raising property taxes, charging residents $25.00 for a 'storage-unit permit', and ignoring the day-laborers that assemble on Maple Place."
"Who has time for shenanigans?"