A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ken Aitken Wins Aberdeen Write-In Seat on MARSD Board

Kenneth Aitken received 20 write-in votes to fill Aberdeen's one-year unexpired term on the board of education of the Matawan Aberdeen Regional School District, per APP. The 2009-2012 term was held by Joey Warren (2009-2010), then by Paul Evangelista (2010-2011), but no one applied to fill the unexpired term for 2011-2012, making the spot vulnerable to a write-in candidacy. Presumably the board would have empaneled a search committee to fill the unexpired term this summer. Who knows whether Mr Aitkin would have been their first choice?

Mr Aitken lives at 65 Juniper Place, in the J Section of Strathmore off Van Brackle Road. According to published reports, he was a US Navy submariner for 6 years, earned a master's degree in telecommunications from Stevens Institute in Hoboken, and worked for AT&T in Holmdel. In 2005 he had two children in the school system here.

My internet research suggests that Mr Aitken served on the school board 2005-2008. He ran for the board and lost at least one time before 2005 and again in 2008. The minutes of the 27 Aug 2007 board meeting indicate that he chaired the Finance, Transportation, and Technology Committees.

He echoes the "protect the taxpayer" refrain that always seems to come up when someone, Republican or Democrat, is wrestling for power in the form of control over budget monies. He voted against major football field, lighting, and track improvements back in 2006 but supported steep administrator pay raises in the above minutes from August 2007. His editorial in the 18 June 2003 edition of The Independent complained about inadequate communication from the "Democrat-controlled Aberdeen Township Council" on its plans for the Railroad Plaza project.

Mr Aitkin filed an accusation of ethics violations against a fellow board member after a contentious April 2008 election. His complaint developed into a valued member's suspension from the board for what turned out to be the remainder of her tenure. And it set a tone that makes public service seem more like a minefield than a contribution to community.


  1. I recall being upset originally about the very negative campaigning that was the basis for the election of two of the candidates during that 2005 election. I wrote to the group that put out the colorful poison pen mailers, refuting point by point the half-truths and innuendos listed in their handouts.

    However, Mr Aitken was among three Board of Education Members that came out at my request to assist with the hosting of the High School Honor Roll Breakfast in 2005, making the event a wonderful success. He also came out during the public protests at the Aberdeen Town Council meetings to speak against the plans to build COAH housing off of Salem Drive on what would essentially be a wetlands transition area.

    This shows that classification of people into labels is a messy business at best. I prefer to think of people in terms of those that I can work with on substantive issues, versus those I must work around.

  2. I have two takes on this 20 vote write in effort: 1) People thought of writing him in as a candidate, as he was technically the last person to lose a school board election - in 2008 (2009 SB election and 2010 SB election there were no losers), or 2) A way of self-promotion, given the fact that he is also running for town council this year.

  3. Ken neither campaigned nor asked nor expected anyone to put his name down. He has agreed to serve but still intends to run for town council.

  4. I'll amend the title of the article to remove the suggestion that he actively sought the position, but what's the rest of the story? It sounds like only half of it.

  5. I think that the fact that Mr. Aitken is willing to give up his time to serve on the school board, a volunteer position that requires an enormous amount of time, while running for a Council seat is admirable. His sense of community activism should be held up as an example to others. I have to take issue with your assessment of Mr. Aitken's role in Jan Rubino's downfall & it's impact on others doing their civic duty. If you are honest & have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Based on the link you provided, the Judge seemed to think Ms. Rubino was less than truthful about her knowledge & role in asking MARSD employees for campaign contributions. The same employees she voted to give tenure & raises to, despite being told by the then BOE attorney to abstain. Also, giving Map Quest directions in your link to anyone's house is incredibly irresponsible on your part, especially when there are children involved. Shame on you!

  6. Nobody gets 20 write in votes by accident, this was a coordinated effort, despite the Aberdeener's claims.

  7. Mr Aitken is a public figure and his address has been published in the local media on previous occasions. His filing as a candidate for Aberdeen Council, which appears in the 11 April 2011 edition of The Asbury Park Press, includes his home address. And do you think the readers can't invoke Google Maps? You're reacting with emotion, not thinking clearly. You know these things.

    As for the rest of your comments, they aren't pertinent. I choose to focus on Mr Aitken's choice to lodge a complaint with the State of New Jersey regarding a fellow board member after a heated campaign and its impact on public service in our community. You can retry the case on someone else's time.

  8. Let readers google for themselves. Providing a link to an aerial view of their house is quite another thing entirely. There are other children who live there too.