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Acropolis Vetoes Restructuring Ordinances

Council President says he will push for override

Brick Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis has formally vetoed a pair of controversial governmental restructuring ordinances that were passed by the township council last week.

The mayor promised after the Sept. 25 council meeting when the ordinances were approved that he would veto them. Council President John Ducey, one of the ordinances' proponents, said he expects the council will attempt to override the mayoral veto.

The ordinances, passed in a 4-3 vote that was not along party lines, eliminate several positions at town hall and create three new ones. They also eliminate the departments of Recreation as well as Community Development and Land Use. The functions of those departments will be rolled into existing departments.

Ducey has said the restructuring – which would cost Assistant Business Administrator Juan Bellu, Recreation Director Dave Francese and township council secretary Jennifer Hartmann, among others, their jobs – would save taxpayers $418,000 per year.

However Business Administrator Scott Pezarras calculated that, since some of the employees whose jobs will be eliminated could potentially bump back to civil service titles with higher salaries, the move could cost taxpayers about $130,000.

Acropolis also accused council Democrats of creating three new positions so political allies could be given jobs.

The move caused additional controversy because Township Attorney Jean Cipriani said portions of the ordinance may not conform with a state law that sets forth Brick's municipal government structure. Ciprinai also raised concerns that the ordinance's passage could be voided since affected employees were not given legal notice about the fact that their jobs were in jeopardy.

Ducey said Thursday night that, as he has said from the beginning, the ordinances were designed to save taxpayer dollars.

"I'm disappointed that the mayor vetoed an ordinance that was specifically put in place to give the taxpayers some savings," he said. "The mayor himself brags about how many less employees there are now, compared to ten years ago. By consolidating and eliminating those two departments, the taxpayers would save even more money."

But Acropolis, in a statement, decried what he sees as flaws in the plan.

"Everything about these ordinances – their intent, the way they were written, they way they were submitted, the way they were voted in after the attorney urged caution – leaves more questions unanswered then answered and has exposed the township to litigation," Acropolis said. "They are probably the most irresponsible and worst handled pieces of legislation I have seen in my seventeen years as an elected official in Brick Township."

Acropolis submitted a lengthy, legally-required letter to the township clerk Thursday detailing his reasoning behind the veto. The letter included references to what he sees as violations of the state's Open Public Meetings Act with reference to the notification of employees, as well as issues with the ordinances' compliance with the Faulkner Act – the law which sets forth the town's governmental structure.

"It is the intent of the mayor-council plan of government to confer on the council general legislative powers, and such investigative powers as are germane to the exercise of its legislative powers, but to retain for the mayor full control over the municipal administration and over the administration of municipal services," Acropolis wrote in his veto letter, which included several references to various court cases.

For the council to override the mayoral veto, a "super majority" of five votes is necessary.

The original vote in favor of passing the restructuring plan came out 4-3, with council members Joseph Sangiovanni, Domenick Brando and Bob Moore voting against it. One of those three council members would have to change their vote in order for the override to pass.

Ducey said he plans on pushing for an override vote.

"My obligation to the taxpayers of Brick is to save money," he said.

J.JONES October 05, 2012 at 08:58 PM
The way I see it Mr. Moore voted with his heart And did the right thing ..he nailed it he said its politics..
J.JONES October 05, 2012 at 09:00 PM
I understand try to cut taxes with over paid positions ..but do it legal and do it right ..No side is above the law here..Sit down in a room and talk about it and come up with a plan that works ...BUT DO IT LEGAL..
mb October 05, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Funny I heard they are parked on Herberville road in front of some attorneys office and some liquor salemans road.
BW October 05, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Nope last I heard they were on port road in brick allen rd in toms river and in front of a house in lavalette.
Dominick Rappoccio October 06, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Something fishy going on here...Ducey proposes seven jobs in the clerks office with three supervisors. Sounds ludicrous to me. This makes no business sense at all.
darrell October 06, 2012 at 02:43 AM
what are the black SUV'S?
Tired of the BS October 06, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Will those newly created positions be open for the public to apply? I thought they (D-Council) said they were going to stop the "Friends & Family Club". Isn't that exactly what they are doing? I don't know the financial situation of everyone on here, but I can not afford for my taxes to go up because of a lawsuit due to the ignorant behavior of all of them!!! We all know that Ducey wants the Mayor's job. But his childish antics, as well as the Mayor's, will earn him my vote. He has proven himself to be no more then a thieving liar. None of this is right, get rid of them all. Watch to see what morons will get those jobs. Some jacka** from DPW, and other Ducey a**-kissers. No different than any other administration over the past years. Just saying....
Thomas Anthony October 06, 2012 at 03:01 PM
The Clerk's office is fully staffed. The concept that another staff member is needed is ludicrous at best. And how many people are going to be hired for the position of the front desk receptionist. Didn't they hire a seasonal person to take over those duties from the volunteers so that other staff members would not be distrupted? Now, there is a different gal there . . . and now some incompetent is proposing moving another person into the Clerk's Office and having an existing employee help staff the front desk. It's like watching past reruns of the MURPHY BROWN TV SITCOM. How many folks, volunteer or paid positions will it take to properly staff the front desk reception area?
J.JONES October 06, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Scott P. Had a better explanation what would happen if the dem's do what they think they can do..HE had numbers that sounded more believable and he just found out about this on friday prior to meeting,while fumbled threw papers and sounded so confused trying to explain..Ducey started there will be 10 positions ,then he said 8 positions,for 3 seats not held and new titles for 3 positions ...Your a mess...and your thinking you can do something illegal ..AND Two sided coin agreed with you (Dan Toth) I'm just trying to help a business to get things going quicker so I can sell to another customer and make my money..Your such a phony..give up !!!!..
J.JONES October 06, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Hey Joe the facts are the only ones who knew about these changes where Doucy,Fazman,Toth ..No one else knew until the friday prior to meeting ..It was a secret ..Not even the 2 other dem's on council and the 2 republicans ...Back door politics at its best..Hey Joe is the room still available you may have visitors soon..And its illegal and we will lose money because of it ...LAWYERS WILL PROFIT ..
Senior sense October 06, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Come on folk's Council Pres, Duply promised a few old Brick Dem's jobs. The work is Kathy Russel is getting one.
J.JONES October 06, 2012 at 07:11 PM
What ever you like or dislike the mayor ..he was saying it was an illegal act by the Council Dem 's twoface toth...Its going to cost the town a large amount of money and the employees will win...We argue about this and we sat back on the waste of tax payers. money over the landfill cash loss joke that's going to cost us money...no saving
oldsoldier October 06, 2012 at 08:13 PM
I have to say first of all, that I am impressed that more of the postings on this thread (so far), do not mention "partisan". I also agree that our elected officials need to be held accountable. I too get frustrated with the leaders of this town, and our state and the Federal ones too. At the local level, we either know or know of our elected ones. I am sure they are basically good people, but that does not necessarily make them right for the jobs we the people voted them in for. To those of you that this applies (you know who you are): May I suggest getting rid of the word "partisan" and other party references out of your vocabulary. I believe you are able to judge and select quality people, regardless of party, who can get along with each other for the common good of our town. To every one else, rate our township "elected officials" on how they do their jobs using your own judgment. Don't call them "politicians" or say they are "playing politics". In my opinion, doing so just gives our elected officials an excuse to act the way they do. Our town is too important let problems like what we are seeing continue. 2013 can be the turning point, if we the people let it. Also, as far as Mr. Pezarras' "math" goes, I would not be so quick to criticize him. Blame the appropriate elected officials, blame us for electing them and fix it next year. Please remember: Vote for the person, not the party.
Reality October 06, 2012 at 09:35 PM
You make excellent points Rick. I think the public is entitled to see the org chart, with job titles AND salaries. One should not have to Opra this information; rather it should be on the Township website for all taxpayers to view. Although Data Universe does list salaries, it does not show job titles.
Dawn Marie White October 07, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Is this really in the best interest of the town? I tend to think not. The numbers are the numbers and creating positions that the council has control over leaves a sour taste in my mouth ......No matter how you spin it.. I give Mr. Moore allot of credit. If he said it once he said it three times " IF I HEAR, "THATS POLITICS" ONE MORE TIME." . Never stop speaking the truth Mr .Moore. Decisions based on influence are fainthearted…We need strong leaders in this community…. A decision such as this should be based on fact and the council members that were strong armed into voting for this without having the time to truly do your homework..... SHAME ON YOU.... Listening to someone else without VERIFYING that information, through not only the current administration but through the state of New Jersey and much higher legal authorities without a second thought of the potential lawsuit was irresponsible and Injudicious. Is it about the best interest of the people you represent or not? When you tell your kids this story someday, I hope you can say your decisions were based, first on educating yourself about the issue than making a well-informed, honest decision based on what you learned......
Dawn Marie White October 07, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Eloquent Statement... Thanks for posting
Mrgrumpass October 07, 2012 at 03:01 PM
JD is BoZo the Clown!
JD October 07, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Art Shoty is Bozo the Clown... you can't use my line on you Art... I mean grumpass...
Tired of the BS October 07, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Sorry. Correction: *will not earn*
Mrgrumpass October 07, 2012 at 07:09 PM
JD I'm sorry your moronic tendencies are showing once more! I am not Art check my record the only thing I seem to agree on with ART is the empty suit councilman Toth!
Joseph Woolston Brick October 07, 2012 at 09:48 PM
I don't look at them as politicians I look at them as employees plain and simple, they beg us for the job, they spend massive amounts of money on trying to convince us they are the best for the job (what I call their resumes) and they get paid by us. So what does that make them EMPLOYEES. If more people took the same attitude as I maybe we will get better employees. Pick the best from the litter of R&D's and Independents give them the job and tell them they better work together for US the town or we will fire them when their contract is up (figuratively speaking their term) I hardly EVER use political terms as it validates their own little world that the population has bought in to. Not I. ( Just for an example, have you ever heard a conversation on one of the news channels and they use the term "King Maker? That's what I mean, there is no such thing but it sure does stroke the good old politicians egos don't it!)
Alex W October 08, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Darrell You might want to call 732-741-0006 OR write a letter and address it to 331 Newmans Springs Rd East.....Suite 141........Redbank NJ. They are just a bunch of fans of the Brick Township.............And this aint the home of Barney the bed bug sniffing dog............these dogs are on a bigger mission........
oldsoldier October 08, 2012 at 02:59 AM
To Ms. White - Thank you and I believe your last post is right on the money. In my opinion, a "leader" does not get strongarmed in making uninformed, off the cuff decisions. Although emergencies can be a different matter. That reminds of me of a certain former Speaker of the House who said (if I'm not mistaken) something along the line of: We had to pass the bill and read it later. Not a quote but I think the meaning is there. Simply representative of irresponsible behavior at a different level of government, but we the people pay for it just the same. To Mr.Woolston - Agreed. Hopefully that mindset will prevail for future elections.
Sal Petoia October 08, 2012 at 01:39 PM
I would like to see the council hire a truly independent consultant, preferably one from out of state with no connections to local politics, to do a complete audit of every job in the township to determine its need and salary justification. That is the only way we will ever learn what jobs are absolutely essential and which are nothing more than patronage positions. Then a plan should be developed to eliminate any unnecessary personnel while minimizing the financial hardship to affected individuals as much as possible.
Sal Petoia October 08, 2012 at 01:46 PM
oldsoldier, your comments seem to me that you would support a non-partisan form of government. If so, I welcome your thoughts that the people should be electing the "person" and not the "party". The people should be given an opportunity to decide if a non-partisan form of government is what they want. Unfortunately, neither party will give the people that opportunity by passing an ordinance to put the question on the ballot because once in power, they do not wish to relinquish it!
Mrgrumpass October 08, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Jon I was thinking the same thing, but i don't think they are the towns boats must be a confiscation. maybe drugs arrest etc.
oldsoldier October 08, 2012 at 10:44 PM
To Sal - Fair question. In my opinion, voting outside the two-party system, other than as a true Independent, may not be realistic. However, as someone who had been a staunch party believer (stress had), I do not vote the party line anymore. I have voted across party lines (and yes, third parties, too) for years. My change came about during a local election years ago, in which a candidate for office was someone I knew to be of good character, but was in a different party from what I voted. Needless to say, I voted for that person. Since then, I vote for the person that I believe best represents my views. Also, if I vote for a person, I will remember if that person voted for something that either I did not believe in (if significant enough) or misrepresented him or herself by their voting versus what they campaigned on and vote for someone else. On the other hand, if that person stays pretty much true to the reasons I voted for him/her, I will vote for that person again. It does requires each of us to do a little thinking and soul-searching about the person before voting, and not to care which party they represent. In my opinion, to vote for someone just because of their party (and I too was guilty of it in the past), is to be little more than a lemming.
Sal Petoia October 09, 2012 at 01:59 AM
oldsoldier: Couldn't agree with you more. No party has a monopoly on smarts. there are good and bad on both sides. The same goes for independents.... you can get good or bad. Only by voters carefully vetting the candidates do we have the best chance of getting good elected officials. Unfortunately, too many vote the party line without giving any thought at all to what the person running for office represents,
knarfie October 10, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Again. Sal Petoai for Mayor.
Sal Petoia October 11, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Knarfie… You're too kind. But since I'm a non-partisan person, I doubt that I could get much support. Running as an independent in a partisan election is an almost guaranteed losing proposition. I suppose I could be a "write-in" candidate, but how many votes would that get me. If I was ever motivated to face off against Acropolis and whoever the Democrats come up with, there are a lot of things I would like to see done. Too numerous to list here.

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