Breaking news of the resignation of Asbury Park City Manager Donna Vieiro. The article also offers highlights of her administration.
In a memo to the Mayor and Council, Donna Vieiro, Asbury Park’s City Manager, has resigned as of December 31, 2023, giving the Mayor and Council more than six months to find a replacement.
Vieiro stated, “It has been a privilege to work with all the amazing and dedicated staff members of the City as well as Mayor and Council. Throughout my tenure, as a team, we have had many accomplishments and have continued to prioritize the quality of life for our residents and businesses. It has been my pleasure to serve the community of Asbury Park and I wish you all much success with all your future endeavors.”
Vieiro was hired as Interim City Manager in December of 2019 after the former City Manager Michael Capabianco resigned. Capabianco brought Vieiro on as a consultant to assist with the Budget Committee and manage special projects after she left her former post in Holmdel in a public split. Her position was made permanent in July of 2020.
With a no nonsense, no showboating demeanor, Vieiro quietly ran a sometimes-contentious City. She was a hired by a Mayor and Council that had gone through four previous City Managers since 2013 (Reidy, Kelly, Nuccio, and Capabianco).
Mayor Moor confirms that Vieiro resigned and gave six months’ notice, underscoring that contractually she was only obligated to give three months. “She was a good City Manager and we’re going to miss her. I think she did a great job for the City in some really trying times. I wish her well,” Moor emphasized.
There are many issues that Vieiro as the City Manager had to face in the City of Asbury Park during the last four years, but here are some of the top five she had to navigate:
- The COVID-19 pandemic and Asbury’s economic recovery: Hit hard by the lockdowns and restrictions that affected its tourism and hospitality industry, the City had to find ways to support its local businesses and workers, as well as attract visitors back to its beaches, boardwalk and downtown. It was uncharted territory, and Vieiro played a key role in developing and instituting the policies and procedures to keep the government and City up and running and safe.
- Affordable housing and gentrification: A surge in development and investment, especially on the east side near the ocean, and increased property values and rents. This creates a challenge for low-income and minority residents, who face displacement or exclusion from the city’s revitalization. Most notable was Vieiro’s oversight of the creation and administration of rent control in Asbury Park.
- Racial justice and police reform: The City has a history of racial tension and inequality, including the 1970 riots that divided the city along racial lines. Asbury Park faces criticism for its police department’s practices and policies, especially after the 2019 shooting of Hasani Best, a Black man who was killed by a police officer during a domestic dispute. Vieiro was City Manager when thousands of people peacefully rallied at the Municipal building and marched throughout town in Asbury’s George Floyd Rally and Protest March against police brutality in one of the largest showings in the state of New Jersey.
- Environmental sustainability and resilience: Asbury Park is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise, coastal erosion, flooding and storms. The City has adopted a green team and a sustainability committee to promote environmental awareness and action. It was Vieiro who ushered in the redesigned beach and new boardwalk at the North End of Asbury Park, assuring that the will of the community override an outdated dated plan that took away public access.
- Arts and culture: As the top administrator of the City, Vieiro has thrown her support behind local artists and cultural organizations through various programs and initiatives, such as the Public Arts Commission, the mural project, the film challenge, music foundations, the library expansion, and the Arts Council. The City also hosts numerous festivals and events that celebrate its artistic heritage and diversity, such as Juneteenth, the Sea.Hear.Now festival, the Asbury Park Music + Film Festival, the Asbury Park Pride Parade, and the AsburyFest.
She also oversaw the Participatory Budgeting Process that enabled residents to decide how to spend $250,000 earmarked for community projects. From 2019 to 2023, under Vieiro’s helm, the municipal budget grew 11% from $47,448,000 to $52,788,000 according to the City’s website.
Vieiro previously served as the Township Administrator of Holmdel and as the Municipal Manager in Franklin Township. She holds a Master’s degree in public administration from Rutgers University.