Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis will give back his $52,000 mayoral salary regardless of an ordinance ordering him to do so, but cried foul at a measure proposed by Council President John Ducey on Tuesday.
Ducey proposed an ordinance that would keep the current mayoral salary in place unless a mayor had a salaried position at a public employer.
"The ordinance, which I am proposing, would lower the compensation under those particular circumstances," said Ducey. "If the mayor receives a salary from another public entity, the mayor shall not receive a salary."
But Acropolis implied that Ducey might have been looking out for himself. Ducey receives public compensation on a contract basis as municipal prosecutor in several municipalities, but such contract work would not be covered under the proposed salary ordinance.
"If people want to protect themselves for when they become the mayor, let them face that when they try to do so," said Acropolis, who proposed his own version of the ordinance – eliminating a mayoral salary for anyone who receives public compensation, or simply making the mayoral salary $1.
Acropolis also called on council members to halve their salaries and eliminate taxpayer-funded health benefits for council members. (Council members earn $8,000 per year. The council presidents earns $9,000 per year.) He polled the four new council members on whether they would elect to receive health benefits through the township, but all four declined to answer. In their answers to a questionnaire from Brick Patch prior to the November election, they would not take taxpayer-funded health benefits.
No action was taken on either Ducey's and Acropolis' proposals, though there was some discussion on the matter.
"Are we doing it because of taxpayer money or time here?" asked Councilman Domenick Brando. "The main thing is to have somebody here, time-wise."
Ducey said his proposal did not take time into account, or whether a mayor had a full-time job in the private sector.
"We can't make someone punch a time clock," said Ducey. "You're not necessarily here from 9 to 5."
Ducey's proposal did not make mention of council members' salaries, only the mayor's; it did not mention health benefits.
Acropolis' proposal also includes rescinding the health care waiver benefit, which pays council members $4,000 to waive health insurance.
Ducey indicated he had the public on his side.
"Here in Brick, it was pretty loud and clear throughout the election that two full-time, taxpayer-funded jobs is not well received," he said, referring to Acropolis' dual positions as Brick mayor and Toms River MUA director.