That is the question from Republican Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis, who alleges in a press release that a request to the Council to introduce an ordinance that would prohibit elected officials from receiving health care benefits through the Township has fallen on deaf ears from the Council.
The Democrats' mayoral candidate, John Ducey, however, counters Acropolis' motion is politically motivated, and falls right during "campaign season."
Acropolis counters he has raised the issue before.
“The majority on the Council gained office on the back of a promise to not take taxpayer funded healthcare to save taxpayers money. With the exception of one of them, they have broken that promise,” Acropolis said in a prepared statement. “With a municipal election coming up, the people of Brick Township deserve to know if the majority has any plans to come through with one of their biggest platforms. It is a matter of trust.”
But Mayoral candidate Ducey said he has remained consistent in his message about taking benefits.
"When I ran for office two years ago, I specifically stated that it's
wrong for council members to take a salary and benefits. I said I'd take
one or the other, and I've chosen to take the benefits," Ducey said. "I haven't taken a
salary, and I am staying consistent with that message." He also questioned the timing of the motion, noting that Acropolis has had several years in office to introduce and pass similar ordinances.
Currently, elected officials can receive benefit packages that cost up to $27,388 for family coverage. The proposed ordinance would also prohibit elected officials from receiving the $4,000 incentive that is available to officials who waive benefits
According to Acropolis' numbers, the Township will spend an estimated $212,338 on healthcare for Council members in 2013. This is an increase of 64% from 2011 when $129,631 was spent on the former Council.
Councilwoman Susan Lydecker and Councilmen Joseph Sangiovanni and Domenick Brando do not receive health care benefits through the Township.