Fozman: I Won't Take MUA Pay
Councilman says he'll decline stipend, health waiver as MUA commissioner
Brick Councilman Jim Fozman will work for free as a Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority commissioner.
Fozman announced Friday, via a press release, that he would turn down a $2,500 stipend as well as a $5,000 waiver for opting out of MUA-provided health insurance.
"The public deserves an explanation," Fozman said in his statement. "For the record, I am taking no salary, no stipend, no benefits package as the newest BTMUA commissioner."
"In keeping with 'eliminating Cadillac benefits plans for MUA appointees,' being a watchdog for the people is the right thing and this is the new norm."
Eliminating benefits for MUA appointees was incorporated as part of the campaign literature distributed by Fozman – a Democrat – and his three running mates who swept the 2011 township council elections and took control of the municipal governing body.
Fozman found himself the target of criticism earlier this week when the township council made the rare move of selecting a sitting council member to also serve as MUA commissioner.
Fozman, at the meeting where he was appointed, initially said he would take the $2,500 stipend that comes with the commissioner post, but would decline a $5,000 waiver incentive for opting out of MUA-provided health benefits.
Fozman, as of Jan. 1, receives a health insurance package for he and his wife as part of his council post.
Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis said he maintains that it is a conflict of interest for a sitting councilman to serve as an MUA commissioner in the same town.
"He said that he took everything because he had a change in his life circumstance," said Acropolis, in reference to Fozman's explanation on why he took township health benefits and his initial indication that he would take MUA pay. "What changed in 72 hours?"
Fozman called his move a "win-win" for Brick taxpayers.
"After speaking one on one with Council President Bob Moore, the best interest of the community is being served," said Fozman. "It's a win/win for the ratepayers of the Township of Brick. No salary, no stipend, no benefits, no pension. Absolutely no pay, of any kind, from the MUA."