Hon. Edward J. McKenna, Jr., Esq.
Edward J. McKenna, Jr. attended Villanova University graduating in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a major in Accounting. Mr. McKenna then attended Fordham University School of Law graduating in 1975 with a Juris Doctor degree, having served as Vice-President of his class. Mr. McKenna subsequently attended post-graduate courses at Harvard Law School.
Upon graduating law school Mr. McKenna served as law clerk to three Superior Court Judges for one year and then entered the private practice of law. He is admitted to practice law before the States of New Jersey and New York, the District of Columbia, the United States Supreme Court, the United States Tax Court, the United States Claims Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
In the year 1980 Mr. McKenna formed his own law firm now known as McKenna, DuPont, Higgins & Stone, which continues through the present time. In his practice he currently represents over 50 financial institutions, a number of private businesses, real estate developers and has extensive experience in Matrimonial Law. In addition, Mr. McKenna represents hundreds of private clients. He has served as the Borough Attorney for the Borough of Tinton Falls and has served as the attorney for both Planning Boards and Zoning Boards as well as housing authorities. He has served as an Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association since 1982 handling a number of cases in the areas of Labor and Employment Law, personal injury, construction law, contract law, and many other areas. Mr. McKenna served as a medical malpractice panelist for the Superior Court of New Jersey and has served as a Blue Ribbon panelist for the Superior Court on Family Law matters for over 20 years. In the year 2000 he was designated as a mediator by the New Jersey Supreme Court to mediate cases selected by the Courts and has been highly successful in settling over 90% of the cases assigned to him. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Monmouth Bar Association for 17 years and chaired a number of committees for the Bar Association and held all of the officers’ positions for the Association to include serving as its President from 1996 to 1997. Mr. McKenna also was a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Ethics Committee for District IX and served as Chairman of that committee. He also served on the boards of the Legal Aid Society of Monmouth County and Ocean-Monmouth Legal Services. Mr. McKenna has lectured extensively throughout the United States and particularly in the State of New Jersey on Credit Union Law, Matrimonial Law, Employment Law and Municipal Law, serving on many panels as a guest speaker and making both radio and television appearances.
Mr. McKenna’s government service began in 1976 when he was appointed to the Borough of Red Bank Parks and Recreation Committee where he served as Vice Chairman and helped in the renovation and redesign of Red Bank’s main waterfront park. He became a member of the Red Bank Zoning Board of Adjustment in 1978 and served until 1981. Mr. McKenna was elected to the Red Bank Borough Council in 1986 and served until being elected Mayor Mr. McKenna was appointed to the Red Bank Planning Board in the year 1989 and served on that Board until 2007. In the year 1990, Mr. McKenna was elected as Mayor of Red Bank and was re-elected in 1994, 1998 and 2002 and has the distinction of serving as the longest sitting Mayor in the history of the Borough of Red Bank. Upon becoming Mayor he initiated a new way of conducting government business and was cited for operating the Borough of Red Bank as a business model, eliminating much of the red tape normally associated with government. In 1991 the Borough, under Mr. McKenna’s leadership, created a Special Improvement District that is now ranked as one of the top Special Improvement Districts in the United States. Red Bank’s downtown vacancy at the time Mr. McKenna was elected was approximately 40% and at the time that he left office in 2007 was less than 1%. In the 1990s Mayor McKenna received a special invitation to the White House to meet with President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore as one of 75 mayors nationwide to participate in discussions of issues concerning the cities of their respective states. Mayor McKenna chaired the Master Plan Review Committee for the Borough of Red Bank and helped in the drafting of a new Master Plan for the Borough that was revolutionary in nature and received numerous planning awards. Mayor McKenna also received the distinction of being named Planning Official of the Year for the State of New Jersey in the year 2001. During Mayor McKenna’s administration the Borough of Red Bank was designated as a Regional Center by the Office of State Planning qualifying the Borough for priority for state funding for special improvements and projects which resulted in the Borough receiving over $10,000,000 in funding from the State of New Jersey during his term of office. Red Bank was also cited by a number of publications, to include the New York Times, the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, Smithsonian Magazine and New Jersey Magazine to include being named as one of the best examples of the renaissance of a city throughout the United States. Mayor McKenna also was one of the founders of the Two River Council of Mayors which is a group of 13 mayors who meet monthly to share information and exchange ideas on money saving methods to reduce taxes and to provide the best service to their respective communities. Mayor McKenna served as Chairman of this group for his last 12 years in office. In the year 2000, a catastrophic event occurred in Monmouth County when there was a severe power loss for an extensive part of the county which resulted in significant damage to a number of municipalities as well as property owners. Mayor McKenna led the negotiations with Jersey Central Power and Light Company which resulted in a settlement on behalf of the municipalities that participated from the Two River Council of Mayors. Mayor McKenna has also testified before various legislative committees to include the New Jersey State Senate and the State Assembly. He was named to Governor James E. McGreevy’s Transition Team and was subsequently named to the New Jersey State Planning Commission and currently serves as Chair of that commission. Mayor McKenna was also named by Governor Richard Codey to Chair a Blue Ribbon Panel on the Development of Wind Turbine Facilities in Coastal Waters resulting in a Final Report which was presented to Governor Jon S. Corzine. In that capacity, Mr. McKenna dealt extensively with the Department of Environmental Protection, the Board of Public Utilities and the Department of Commerce of the State of New Jersey. While serving his term in office, Mayor McKenna appeared in over 200 television interviews on various National, State, County and local issues.
Mr. McKenna’s community service began with a lengthy term serving on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Trenton. Thereafter, he served on the Monmouth County Arts Council, the Board of Trustees of the Count Basie Theatre, the Monmouth County Urban League and the American Heart Association. In the year 2001 after the tragedy of 9/11, Mr. McKenna together with two other individuals formed a group called the Alliance of Neighbors of Monmouth County and was instrumental in raising over $2,000,000 through a series of four concerts as well as individual and corporate solicitation, which money went to the widows and families of victims of 9/11. The efforts of Mr. McKenna and the two other individuals were featured in Money Magazine and were also the subject of a number of other magazine and newspaper articles. As a result of Mr. McKenna’s efforts, he was also featured on “Good Morning America”on ABC TV. While Mayor, Mr. McKenna worked with Jon and Dorothea Bonjovi, Dr. Eugene Cheslock and others to form the Parker Health Clinic in Red Bank, New Jersey which was the first clinic of its kind in the United States where healthcare was provided to anyone coming to the clinic without question and all treatment rendered was done by healthcare professionals on a volunteer basis. The Parker Health Clinic was featured in a number of magazine and newspaper articles as well as being featured on ABC News on the show “20/20”. Mr. McKenna has also appeared on “The Today Show” and MTV in connection with other charitable efforts.
Mr. McKenna served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Cultural Center of Red Bank which was subsequently merged into the Community YMCA. While serving on the Board, Mr. McKenna was instrumental in obtaining over $900,000 in Federal and State grants as well as foundation grants which went for the instruction and operational costs of the Center. Mr. McKenna currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Riverview Medical Center Foundation, the Count Basie Theater Foundation and The Joan Dancy and PALS Foundation and has served on numerous committees charged with the responsibility of raising funds for various charitable causes throughout Monmouth County and the State of New Jersey.
Mr. McKenna serves on the Board of Directors of the Red Bank Affordable Housing Corporation and has worked for the creation of over 200 units of affordable housing built in Red Bank in his past.
Honors and Awards
Mr. McKenna has received a number of honors and awards to include the following:
- Spinnaker Award of the Eastern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce as the elected official of the year.
- Joshua Huddy Distinguished Citizen Award from the Boy Scouts of America.
- Citizen of the Year Award from the Red Bank Rotary Club.
- The Dr. Esther H. Chang Founder’s Award from the American Cancer Society.
- The Morris Miller Americanism Award from the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A.
- Two Certificates of Special Recognition from the United States Congress.
- Cultural Achievement Award from the Children’s Cultural Center.
- Friend of the Foundation Award from the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues.
- The Community Leadership Award from the Community YMCA.
- The Lou Gehrig Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
- Family Volunteer of the Year Award from 180 Turning Lives Around.
- Alumnus of the Year from Christian Brothers Academy.
- Humanitarian of the Year from the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean County.
- New Jersey Planning Official of the Year Award.
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society Humanitarian of the Year Award.
- Special Recognition from the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders.
- State of New Jersey League of Municipalities Elected Officials Hall of Fame.