Fozman Appointed to Brick MUA, Will Remain on Council

Some residents upset with council's decision

Jim Fozman will simultaneously serve as a township councilman as well as a commissioner for the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority.

The township council appointed Fozman to a five year term on the regional water and sewerage authority despite the objection of fellow Councilman Joseph Sangiovanni, the sole member of the governing body to vote against his appointment.

Council members Bob Moore, John Ducey and Susan Lydecker – all Democrats – voted in favor of Fozman's appointment. Councilman Domenick Brando, a Republican, abstained from the vote because he is a BTMUA employee. Councilman Dan Toth, also a Republican, was absent from the meeting.

Following the vote, residents excoriated the council – especially Moore, the newly-elected council president – for not allowing public comment before the vote took place.

Moore would later apologize for the public comment flap.

Though not unprecedented in Brick, it is rare for a sitting councilman to also serve as a BTMUA commissioner, officials and former officials of the township said at the meeting.

Fozman, who this year decided to take township-provided health insurance benefits for himself and his wife, will also receive a $2,500 stipend for serving as a commissioner in addition to the $8,000 stipend he receives for serving on the council. If he was not taking township benefits, he would have been eligible for benefits through the BTMUA.

Fozman is also eligible for an additional $5,000 stipend for opting out of the MUA's health insurance plan, though he said he would not initially take that money. When pressed by members of the public, Fozman would not commit to permanently declining the additional stipend, however.

"Double dipping is double dipping, I don't care who you are," said resident George Scott during the council's public comment session.

"I've chastised Republicans for the same thing in the past. I've asked people to resign," Scott would later say. "There are people in here tonight who I like, but who I've taken to the carpet. I hope people in November don't have short memories."

"I think it's a direct conflict of interest to have two public jobs, especially being on the council," said resident Larry Reid, who serves on the school board.

School board members receive no stipend and are not eligible for any benefits.

Moore said multiple resumes were received by a council committee for review, and Fozman recused himself from the committee because he had submitted his.

"At the time, we felt that it was the proper thing to do," said Moore, regarding Fozman's appointment. "He's retired, so he's going to have more time to spend with the town. It's a critical position over there."

Fozman said during the meeting that he was no longer working and Brick Township was his only employer. He will replace Joseph Buttacavoli on the BTMUA board and serve through Jan. 31, 2018.

Fozman, as well as Moore, began receiving township-provided health insurance benefits for the first time this year. Ducey and Toth also receive those benefits.

Sal Petoia January 11, 2013 at 01:25 PM
Just read the Press this AM and am furious! This was Moore's explanation for choosing Fozman: "We looked over the (sic) all of the resumes that we received and we thought that he was the best person for the job" "It's a critical position over there and with Jim being retired it allows him to give more time to the position." This is pure B.S. coming from people we elected to make change! I'll compare my resume any day against Fozman's, and I am retired! Talk about adding insult to injury! If Moore has the courage, he should reveal all the resumes. Wake up people…. we have to stop electing these party clowns and get independents into office who will act in our behalf instead of feathering their own nests. Party leaders are smug because they know independents don't have the finances to mount a serious campaign, but with electronic communications perhaps expensive mailers are not needed to get a message out. We need to band together to stop the "politics as usual" game!
DennyD January 11, 2013 at 01:34 PM
For Scott Pezarras-Thank-you for your response!
DennyD January 11, 2013 at 01:37 PM
Truer words have never been spoken. The two party system has killed this country.
Vince Latchford January 11, 2013 at 03:27 PM
OK Sal. If it's going to happen in Brick, it will probably start with you or someone like you finding a facility that can host a meeting of like-minded voters and announcing that we will be forming an independentg party, and all interested should attend. I'll come.
Manny Espenoza January 11, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Cannot believe it, We voted for ths clown because they/he talked about doing the opposite of what Fozman and Ducey cooked up. This is no suprise as Ducey was talking about this all along as he himself lied and took health benefits when he said that he would not. Hope Ducey or Fozman do not even consider running for Mayor as we all have their number now.
Sal Petoia January 11, 2013 at 09:01 PM
Vince: Good suggestion! If we can generate enough interest from those who read the Patch, will try to initiate something.
knarfie January 11, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Ducey for Mayor? Please. What area of law does he practice? He is the most unimpressive lawyer I have ever seen. If he were assigned to defend me in a murder trial, I would arrive in court with my trousers slit and my head shaved. Fozman is barely literate. Steve is actually looking better each day because of these failures.
George January 12, 2013 at 05:50 PM
knarfie how would you know you sound like a republican refugee.
Lori Morrison January 13, 2013 at 12:15 AM
Justmeasking, Fire Commissioners DO NOT receive benefits or pensions. They only receive an annual salary.
Lori Morrison January 13, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Mr. Petoia, I would support an Independent Party. Non partisian government worked well for Brick in the past, many people from both parties worked together for the people without worries of backlash.
Melinda January 13, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Simply a disgrace but all too common for the greedy power-mongers to POLLUTE the process. The BTMUA was created in part to fall under the jurisdiction of the Council but NEVER intended for the Council to be a voting member (Commissioner.) This is an extremely heinious Act on behalf of those who voted for the disinegration of Separation of Powers. Surprized that Councilman Ducey, a lawyer would not fully understand the implications of such an unsound practice.
David N. January 13, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Say it isn't so. When will the corruption end? "Council president Bob Moore-his wife is now working for the town in the building Dept. You cant make this stuff up. Check it out Dan Nee" Talk about CONFLICT OF INTEREST. Imagine having to give her a directive. Unconsionable. Someone please verify. There is no way this can be true.
David N. January 13, 2013 at 08:10 PM
The potential for problems are clearcut. Most responsible companies do not allow for relatives to work in the same work location. This takes the cake. Conflicts of Interest are ASTONISHING.
Sal Petoia January 13, 2013 at 10:40 PM
Lori Morrison: If we can get enough people interested as indicated by responses on the Patch , I am sure we can get a team together to work for non-partisan government. Petitioning may be our only option since it is unlikely those in power will put an ordinance on the ballot. Just remember, it is a lot of work to get the required number of names, and that is what those in power count on.... that the people don't have the drive to pursue it. However, on the bright side is that we did it with the Ice Palace petition drive. Sal Petoia
mineeeemoh January 14, 2013 at 02:16 AM
From 1998 to 2003 Former Councilman Kavanagh served as Council Laison to the BTMUA, while also a sitting as a Councilman here in Brick. He also served as Alternate Commissioner to the BTMUA between 2001 and 2003 while serving as a Councilman here in Brick. Former Councilman Mr Michael Thulen was appointed Laison in 2004 after a Republican majority took control of the Council in 2003.
frances January 14, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Clear conflict of interest and challenges the spirit of the Separation of Powers! Wholeheartedly agree with the overwhelming objective non-partisan citizens comments. Bravo to Sal Petoia. Would you be interested in serving on the BTMUA at this stage of your life? Deflecting from the issues at hand will not change all that's wrong in a Sitting Councilman serving in both capacities. It is my hope that we can do better.
Sal Petoia January 15, 2013 at 11:41 PM
Frances: Yes, in fact I did submit a resume. . My goals would have been to investigate alternate sources of water to assure a supply untainted by upstream pollution; seek additional customers from outside communities so that the added revenue would allow lower costs for Brick rate payers; seek to be the eventual provider of water to our barrier island citizens so they would not need to pay higher costs to a private water company. I previously served 8 years on the MUA, during which I was instrumental in saving $2 million(!) by insisting we find a buyer for the material needed to be excavated to build the reservoir. Some of the commissioners at that time were ready to pay that amount to have the dirt removed but instead were persuaded to have our engineer, Steve Specht, seek other ways the dirt could be used. Monmouth County Reclamation agreed to remove the soil at no cost to Brick for use in covering their landfill in Tinton falls. Savings: $2 million!
Sal Petoia January 15, 2013 at 11:49 PM
To those interested in non-partisan government: It's a long shot, but if we can elect three independent council members in Nov, they can work to put an ordinance on the ballot. It is possible one of the remaining four council persons could be convinced to join in which would assure passage . If the ordinance creating a referendum is passed, then the people will have a chance to vote for or against a change to non-partisan. Maybe we can get three independents who can be "write in" candidates. Like I said, it's a long shot, but not impossible. Wouldn't that be a wake-up call to politics as usual!
frances January 18, 2013 at 12:50 PM
Sal: It is my strong belief that you should attend the next Council Meeting and request that they reconsider their Selection and appoint you to the BTMUA. Clearly, you have much to offer relative to the position. I am carefully considering your thoughts on non-partisan form of Government here in Brick Township. It may be time for me to put on MY Walking Shoes and Walk the Walk . . .
Sal Petoia January 18, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Frances: Thank you for your thoughts, but council members already knew of my interest to serve, and they certainly had enough information to choose wisely. I am sure that other candidates were well qualified to serve, too. They (council) advertised seeking candidates for the MUA, but in the end they proved it was all a charade by picking one of their own sitting council members for the position. That simply reeks of a back room deal! What I, and I am sure many, would like to see now are what are Mr. Fozman's goals for the MUA? I revealed some of mine in an earlier post. And what qualifications does he bring to the MUA? In my case I'm a licensed professional engineer and planner (now retired), and I had over 20 years on the planning and zoning boards combined, as well as 8 years on the BTMUA, all without ever having been a political party member. I doubt Fozman can match that. In the end, the newest members of the council are really no different than those they replaced… only their party designation is different. We need to open the door to allow more people rather than just party members to seek office. Non-partisan government can be a step in that direction. I hope we can get some independents to seek office in November to try to break the stranglehold parties have on our local government. So far, other than yourself and a few others, I don't see a surge in interest to changing the government, but we can certainly hope that will change.
Sal Petoia January 18, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Several of you (e.g. Lori, Knarfie, Frances, Vince,) expressed interest in Brick returning to non-partisan government and questioned how it could be done. I provided an overview in previous posts, but here is more info to consider… according to the Optional Municipal Charter Law for a town whose population is 70,000 or more, 10 percent of the registered voters would need to sign a petition. Brick has over 70,000 residents. As of March 2011, Brick had 48,760 registered voters. Accordingly, we would need roughly 5000 VALID signatures for a change in government question to be put on the ballot. A change of government committee should be formed to decide exactly what form of new government should be put before the people to vote on. I have proposed a mayor council form much like we currently have, except it would be non-partisan. In addition, I would recommend that we look into having wards so that the various sections of town could have their own representative. I suggest five wards which would need to be divided so that the population in each are roughly equal. One council person would be elected from each ward. Two council persons would continue to be elected "at large", much as they are now. This would avoid any one section of town from dominating an election or the council. The committee could also look into the possibility of incorporating term limits to avoid some representatives remaining in office for life, but this may be difficult. Anyone interested?
Sal Petoia January 18, 2013 at 09:48 PM
For Dan Nee: Is this site still active? Is there a way to give this message wider circulation?
frances January 19, 2013 at 03:45 PM
Sal: Patch could do an indepth piece on "A change of Government." Press release to the local media (radio/press.) Sal, I am carefully considering your recommendations and giving it serious consideration. Once I commit to a worthy cause I won't rest until achievement is sought.
Sal Petoia January 19, 2013 at 04:14 PM
frances: How can we publish a piece on Patch? I've already written an article which provides information. A petition drive is labor intensive. We would need a lot of people to get involved. We can also start a committee of interested people, meet to discuss government alternatives, how to implement, etc. My preferences are already posted above, but there hasn't been many responses other than yours. People need to get involved... not just gripe about what is going on in town. We CAN change things despite what the naysayers believe. They didn't believe we could pull off the referendum on the Ice Palace, but we did, causing the council to back down and repeal the ordinance to purchase. I am hoping to hear from several readers who expressed interest, but this particular site seems to be seeing less and less responses. Don't lose interest!
Katherine Lockwood February 24, 2013 at 09:25 PM
Sal this is a wonderful plan and I would like to talk to you more about it.
oldkodger February 24, 2013 at 09:31 PM
they should meet in secret like the old mafia
Mrgrumpass February 24, 2013 at 09:55 PM
Sal as for your comment on the Ice Palace you would not have done anything if the Dems didn't join you just too blemish the R's, so don't make it seem like it was an grass root campaign! As for your plan I am behind you 100% and will help!
Sal Petoia February 24, 2013 at 10:07 PM
Mr. Grumpass: Such is the world of politics. Nonetheless, the effort consisted of support by people who are both Democrats AND Republicans. This was a community issue which would have affected all of us tax-wise. It was a matter of principle to have the people vote on the purchase. Just as the matter concerning the Foodtown site should be a matter to be voted on by the people. Glad you agree with a move to non-partisan government!
darrell February 25, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Keep posting on Patch. I am telling all my friends to sign on to patch and read about what's going on. Especially returning to non-partisan government. I'm in.
Katherine Lockwood February 25, 2013 at 01:21 AM
Sweet, Darrell I hope you are a popular guy;)


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