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Acropolis Cuts His Salary to $1; Council Members Trade Barbs Over Pay

Tense moments after mayor calls on council to cut salaries

Brick Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis will voluntarily cut his salary to $1 per year for the remainder of his term, he announced at the end of Tuesday night's township council meeting.

Acropolis currently earns $52,000 in his post as the full-time mayor of Brick, but has for also maintaining another full-time job as Toms River MUA commissioner from which he earns $92,000.

"The people have spoken loud and clear," Acropolis said, referencing the recent township council election, where incumbent Republicans were by Democratic newcomers."If we as elected officials don't heed what the people say, then shame on us."

Democrats, during the campaign, had threatened to to $15,000 per year if he did not give up his Toms River job.

"I am going to lead by example and give the taxpayers the best bang for their buck," Acropolis said, before urging council members to cut their salaries in half from $8,000 to $4,000.

Acropolis said he initially proposed cutting his own salary as well as council salaries at a meeting of the council's Business and Finance Committee in May, but the committee never brought it to the full council for a vote.

Acropolis' call for council members to reduce their salaries led Councilman Michael Thulen – who lost a re-election bid and will leave the council Jan. 1, 2012 – to propose an ordinance be passed before the new year that would make the reduction. Thulen's call was met with disagreement and some outright hostility by some of the remaining council members.

"We don't need anyone telling us what to do, especially people going out the door," said Councilman Joseph Sangiovanni, who will remain on the council next year.

"I don't think it's the right thing to do, to start changing things right now before this new council gets seated," Sangiovanni said.

"I heard what the voters said. I heard it loud and clear," said Councilman Domenick Brando, who will also remain on the governing body next year, directing his comments at Thulen. "You've worked at the MUA, I believe you've also had family members working in town. It's nice that on the way out you're proposing this. I know what the taxpayers said, and I'm going to do the best that I can to fix it."

Councilman Dan Toth, the third Republican who will remain on the governing body in 2012, did not address the issue directly.

But Council President Brian DeLuca got in a final jab before the meeting ended.

"It's a shame that some people come to some type of an epiphany after an election, when it's clear in your face all year long," said DeLuca, hinting that he supported reducing council salaries in the past year but did not push the issue because he is a "team player."

DeLuca, who earned a $9,000 total stipend for serving as council president, gave up his salary after at the Lakewood motor vehicle office earlier this year.

But regardless of whether the remaining Republicans and incoming Democrats take Acropolis' suggestion and lower their salaries, the mayor had a message for his fellow GOP officials: get back to the basics.

"Our government needs to get smaller, and we have to get back to our Republican principles, principles which may have gotten lost this past year," he said.

Sam Foster December 01, 2011 at 06:27 AM
Denny D: Since I filed an ethics complaint against Mayor Acropolis a few years ago when Virginia Lampman was township clerk, and considered filing an ethics complaint against Mayor Acropolis for harassment a few weeks ago, I can tell you that the ethics committee does still exist. In the past the township clerk was in charge of the ethics committee, with the actual committee selected from township council members. To me it is worthless: good luck complaining about a politician in town. I base this on my experiences with it. I had the same problem when I tried to file a criminal complaint against Mayor Acropolis for harassment. I received a big run around from Lt. Ling in the Brick Police Department, so I am now going to complain to the Ocean County Prosecutors Office and the F.B.I.
Concerned Brick Citizen December 01, 2011 at 05:30 PM
Denny D. filing an ethics complaint is a waste of your time. Even going to town hall meetings is a waste. I may never attend one again. The township personnel and all people who are working for or associated with the township are immune to mistakes due to “tort” laws. I’ve learned this first hand, when one “Township” employee told me that even if I’m wrong, I’m right. Justice was done when this arrogant employee lost his job. I’ve even received a letter from the township lawyer stating that township employees are protected when they make mistakes. It must be nice to screw up on your job and not get blamed or be financially responsible. I’ve been called a liar by the township engineering firm even though I had proof via bills when the work was completed, inspected, signed off along with dated photos that proved clearly it was an engineering code enforcement mistake. – Birdsall (sp) needs to go! The former plumbing sub code official told me I removed a required valve, because it was there when he inspected the property. He proceeded to tell me that I removed it to save money. .-- $5 valves! Get real! He also failed to find and recognize an open sewer vent I’ve learned that the buzz phrase town employees use to protect their A**s is that “You altered it. It was there when I inspected it.” It was Newman Jr. who told me photos mean nothing and prove nothing. And some people wonder why I’m so upset or negative.
lvdherelong December 06, 2011 at 05:30 PM
I cannot believe a few things in these comments....all 225 of them. I can't believe that Art has now turned his guns onto Dan Toth, and then as a follow up, that next to no one understands why he obtains, AND that there is no mention of other council persons obtaining all the time over the years. I can't believe that anyone who isn't certified by the state to do what Scott Pezarras is going to continually bash him on here, AND that he would waste his time even entering into a debate with anyone on here. I also can't believe that anyone reading this thinks that there could be an election that could involve independents, truly unbiased and unsupported candidate. I think Ed (God rest his soul) may have been the only and the last unsupported candidate to run. Brick's budget is too large for a party not to be backing it. It will always be a D or an R, and there will always be attacks of ones person and or family when they attempt to step up and do WHAT'S RIGHT FOR BRICK, regardless of party affiliation. And furthermore, I can't believe that The Patch allows half of this stuff to remain on their site, cause 90% of the stuff posted here is just hogwash posted by political cronies who don't really have a clue as to what they are talking about. Lastly, it's a shame no one, well close to no one, on here ever thinks of what's right for Brick....only what's right for themselves and or their political party.
Mark Story Jenks December 06, 2011 at 05:47 PM
The second and third sentences of your comment seem a bit cryptic. But the rest of it makes sense.
Jay Santos December 23, 2011 at 04:05 PM
Ya know Art, Dan was the only member of the Council who had the courage to tell the Mayor it was one job or the other. The other's to my diappointment just went along.

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