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Mayor: I'll Hold My Own Meetings if Council Won't Let Me Speak

Acropolis threatens he, along with township attorney and administrator, will not attend council meetings

Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis said he was instructed by Council President John Ducey not to speak at council meetings unless directed, and if the practice continues, he'll hold his own town hall meeting at the same time as the town council's meeting.

Additionally, Acropolis said he will instruct both Jean Cipriani, the township attorney, and Scott Pezarras, the township business administrator, not to attend township council meetings and attend his town hall meeting instead.

Acropolis was silent during the vast majority of the council meeting Tuesday night, except when Ducey asked him a question, and allowed him to give comments. Ducey did not answer several questions from Acropolis during his comment period.

Ducey said keeping the mayor from participating in council discussions is simply a matter of keeping order.

"Just to maintain control of the meetings, pursuant to Robert's Rules, the questions go through the chair," said Ducey. "That's the fair way to do it. If we have everything going through the chair, it's just an easier and cleaner way to run the meeting."

But Acropolis took exception with the notion that he should not participate in the meeting.

"I will not be silenced at another council meeting by you, or any other elected official," he said.

"I have the right by Faulkner to comment and participate at these meetings, and shame on you for not letting me do so," he said, referring to the Faulkner Act, the state law which sets forth the provisions under which Brick's form of municipal government operates. Acropolis holds that the mayor is empowered by that law to participate during council meetings.

"If we can't come to an agreement, we will go to a town hall format of meetings," Acropolis said. "I will have town hall meetings when you have council meetings. We will advertise and invite the public, and we will answer questions from the public."

"We've always let the mayor have something to say," said Councilman Joseph Sangiovanni, the only council member besides Ducey to speak on the subject. "This mayor here happens to be a mayor who has a wealth of knowledge. This fella here knows more about this town than anyone I know, and we should allow him to participate. That's what this is supposed to be about. We're all supposed to participate."

Acropolis has legal footing to carry out his plan. Under the Faulkner Act, only the township council and the council secretary and clerk are required to be physically present to hold a public meeting.

Council members often lean on Pezarras and Cipriani to answer questions they have on matters of policy, as well as to answer questions brought up by members of the public, however. The absence of the pair could have a serious impact on the meetings.

"We can either have a good relationship, or not," Acropolis said.

John C January 15, 2012 at 05:04 PM
SNL, good one, I guess Mr Lazroe can see town hall from his house.
Sal Petoia January 15, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Frances: Glad you are open minded. Most Republicans oppose non-partisan because they have the larger number of registered voters. When people vote, most vote party line. Hence, Republicans stand a better chance of winning. Under non-partisan, most people don't know the candidate's party, so they have to THINK about who they vote for and what the person stands for. This last election was a fluke. People were so angry about the tax scam that anybody could have beaten the Republicans. Also, the party in power generally resists a change in government because it means they would need to run again, risking losing the power. Therefore, I don't foresee a Democratically controlled council passing an ordinance to hold a referendum to change the government to non-partisan. But the people can do it if they really want, using Initiative and Referendum. Just like the Ice Palace petition drive.
Joseph Lamb January 15, 2012 at 11:20 PM
It's a Council Meeting. John Ducey is the elected Council President. The Council President is the chair. The mayor is just upset that he isn't allowed to control the meeting and is relying on political cronies to cry foul. Get over it. This is the way it works. The mayor gets to speak at the end like everyone else.
Seen Enough January 15, 2012 at 11:27 PM
It's a Council Meeting. John Ducey is the elected Council President and BS Artist. The Council President is normally the chair. Thats respect he brought to the position.
Seen Enough January 16, 2012 at 12:17 AM
My issue is not that the mayor wants to speak or run the meeting. My issue is Ducey lied and was deceitful to the people of Brick. You don't want the mayor speaking at the meeting fine. Just get rid of this guy, Ducey. If he had any sense of honor he would resign. Put in another Democrat I don't care. After Ducey's first two weeks in office Donald Duck might be more effective going forward. No I'm not a Republican, I'm independent and voted GRIP. Get rid of everyone after one term. Ducey maybe the next poster boy for the GRIP, he would make an excellent choice. The more the Republican and Democrat backers respond here its clear Brick is going no where fast. Its always the same response here no matter what side you on, never deal with the issue, throw some mud around and see what sticks. Its okay he did this because so and so did this last year. Joe Lamb, you get over it and get over your cronie politics, I have had enough and there are many others. People don't want to hear this is the way it works. Things need to change. There are many people that were persuaded to vote the Democrat way based upon their platform which was clearly laid out in black and white. In case you forgot it already its very easy to find, just look the opposite way Ducey went and you will find it.
Dominick Rappoccio January 16, 2012 at 02:19 AM
N.J.S.A. 40:69A-41b states "The mayor may take part in discussions of the council". The question I have is...how can the Mayor take part in council discussions if Council President Ducey will only allowed him to speak during the public comment session?
Laura January 16, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Doesn't Brick have a contract with their Borough Attorney. Doesn't it stipulate what and how much they are paid for attending Council meetings?
Sam Foster January 16, 2012 at 05:57 AM
Mr. Petoia: You sound like you know who John C is. Could you identify him here? A former councilman? Is John C John Catalano? I'd like to know, and I think that if his real identity were revealed it would make people see if he has a hidden agenda. The way he writes I was leaning toward believing him being someone who was being paid to write favorable comments about Republicans and negative comments about Democrats. It certainly wouldn't be the first time someone accepted money in exchange for blogging about someone or some company online. That's the problem with brickpatch.com. When I tried to find the identity of Bricktonian to see if he/she was someone that might be involved in my pending legal action, and therefore I could use Bricktonian's comments as evidence in court, Mr. Nee could not help me because he said he had no way of checking. I never heard back from AOL on the subject, when Mr. Nee advised me to contact them. BTW, Mr. Nee. I do not mean any disrespect to either you, brickpatch.com or AOL. So please don't be upset with me.
Sam Foster January 16, 2012 at 06:00 AM
Mr. Petoia:     You sound like you know who John C is. Could you identify him here? A former councilman? Is John C John Catalano? I'd like to know, and I think that if his real identity were revealed it would make people see if he has a hidden agenda. The way he writes I was leaning toward believing him being someone who was being paid to write favorable comments about Republicans and negative comments about Democrats.     It certainly wouldn't be the first time someone accepted money in exchange for blogging about someone or some company online. That's the problem with brickpatch.com. When I tried to find the identity of Bricktonian to see if he/she was someone that might be involved in my pending legal action, and therefore I could use Bricktonian's comments as evidence in court, Mr. Nee could not help me because he said he had no way of checking. I never heard back from AOL on the subject, when Mr. Nee advised me to contact them.     BTW, Mr. Nee. I do not mean any disrespect to either you, brickpatch.com or AOL, so please don't take this the wrong way.
Sam Foster January 16, 2012 at 06:12 AM
Mr. Rappoccio: The same way Mayor Kelly and Mayor Scarpelli did. During the council comments section of the meeting. Just like the way council members take part, by waiting for the council comments section of the meeting. Just like the way citizens take part, by waiting for the public comments section of the meeting. Where were you when Democratic mayors were placed under the same conditions for speaking? Did you speak out and say they should be allowed to speak anytime they wanted? I understand that since Mayor Acropolis appointed you to your position on the planning board you must have a sense of loyalty to him. But you could at least try to apply your objections in a fair manner.
knarfie January 16, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Sal Petoia is so on top of everything that his words ring true every time he comments. Everything he said about himself can be documented and his view on non partisan politics are encouraging. As far as John C, comment about campaign fundings, he is totally wrong. It worked for years in Brick. Also, I believe Sal is correct in John Cs' true identity. He sounds like a fairly bright guy but his loyaly to failure is amazing.
frances January 16, 2012 at 03:39 PM
In honor of Martin Luther King Day, it would be appropriate to refrain from negative comments today and simply state our opinions. It is my belief that honor is a thing not to be bought or sold. Simply stated, it is not honorable to deny anyone from speaking out and voicing their opinions no matter how similiar of different they might be. To deny FREE SPEECH to anyone, especially those you dislike speaks more about your character or lack of. It is WRONG. Should it come from an elected official, we should be outraged because free speech is not a matter of subjectivity, it is our right. The most significant injustice is that of a hyprocrite who hides an act of revenge under the cloak of virtue.
Sal Petoia January 16, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Knarfie: I thank you for the compliment.
frances January 16, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Sal, thank you for your comments. Non partisan form of government is something that I am definitely going to be researching. Your information is much appreciated.
John C January 16, 2012 at 05:29 PM
LOL, Once again i am not former Councilman Catalano. Let me ask all of you a question, why is the main topic of the discussion against me directed at what is my name and trying to discredit what I say based on who I am rather than what I say? What are you all huddled overther in a booth at the RiverRock discussing who I am? Stop the nonsense and discuss the facts about what I say rather than using community organizer agitation tactics to try to discredit me. See if I am a Brick resident they can not discredit me but if I am some mysterious member of the bad bad Republicans then what i say isnt true. They want to know who I am so they can research me and drag all of my personal and family business out into the blogs. Here once again is a summary of their rule book and the tactic they are using: http://vcn.bc.ca/citizens-handbook/rules.html Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.
John C January 16, 2012 at 05:34 PM
And if I was getting paid to do this as accused above I would be using last names and making untrue nasty accusatioins about families and friends and connections and jobs and digging into the identity of the other posters and trying to contact the editor to get personal information that is non of my business. Anything i say here is widly known knowledge all you need to do is ask someone the question rather than trying to sow dissent in a blog site.
John C January 16, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I guess someone is familiar with Rules for Radicals because every one of these tactics is evident in many of the nastier posts on the site>>>>>> "According to Alinsky, the organizer — especially a paid organizer from outside — must first overcome suspicion and establish credibility. Next the organizer must begin the task of agitating: rubbing resentments, fanning hostilities, and searching out controversy. This is necessary to get people to participate. An organizer has to attack apathy and disturb the prevailing patterns of complacent community life where people have simply come to accept a bad situation. Alinsky would say, “The first step in community organization is community disorganization.”"
John C January 16, 2012 at 05:45 PM
For years in Brick under the "nonpartisan" Government everything was exactly the same. The same people were the members of their respective parties and the only difference was there was no D or R after their names on the ballot. If we were to do this how would an independant run? Can you co to an Independent County Commity and ask for their supporrt in your campain? No because it dosnt exist and there are no other political structures other than the Republican of Democrat Parties. I can reverse the claim I saw thet the Republican's want to keep things the same because there are more Registered Republicans in brick and if someone was to vote only on party lines it is an advantage. In reverse I can sam the Democrats dislike partisan government because there are less registered Democrat in Brick and if someone was to vote strait down party lines it is a disadvantage to them (a complete reverse of the majority of the state) If they truly beleived in non partisan government they would be trying to implement it on a state wide basis not just in Brick.
Seen Enough January 16, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Frances well said, "To deny FREE SPEECH to anyone, especially those you dislike speaks more about your character or lack of. It is WRONG. Should it come from an elected official, we should be outraged because free speech is not a matter of subjectivity, it is our right." What makes this so outrageous is that this was a LAWYER. Everyone in this township has the right to speak, ask questions and engage the town council in conversation, the mayor included. To ignore the mayor's comments, questions and concerns is unacceptable. Then to follow up later and ask the other council members for a motion at the last minute to correct the new council's mistake as pointed out earlier by the mayor was unbelievable. He should have have addressed this issue when the mayor brought it up with the mayor just like the council responds to any other citizen. Ducey chose to hide and not have a direct dialogue with the mayor. Ducey may wish to continue his senseless ways but sooner or later his actions are going to cost the township money and a ton of negative press. Sooner or later a COMPETENT LAWYER is going to nail him down.
frances January 16, 2012 at 06:21 PM
John C thank you for sharing your thoughts on the "nonpartisan" form of government here in Brick Township. In my opinion, it is worthy of consideration. Perhaps you or another fellow blogger can answer the following question: If for years in Brick under the "nonpartisan" Government everything was exactly the same why was the change sought?
Sal Petoia January 16, 2012 at 06:23 PM
John: Your rage is understandable since your people took a pasting! Whether you're Catalano or not is irrelevant... just as much as your rhetoric. You obviously know very little about the Optional Municipal Charter Law, so for starters how about doing some research as to why our legislators passed it and, by the way, included provisions for non-partisan government. Then I would suggest you do a little history about how the township committee form of government in Brick evolved into non-partisan mayor council form, and then into the partisan form we have now. If you feel there is no difference in the two forms, why do you so vehemently oppose non-partisan? At least under non-partisan the door is open for anyone to run. Why should you care who funds them? In addition to my favoring non-partisan, let me add two more variations: (a) divide the town into wards since we are geographically different and each area has its own unique problems; (b) let's seek to have a special charter that includes term limits. No more four term mayors!
John C January 16, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Suppression of dissent occurs when an individual or group which is more powerful than another tries to directly or indirectly censor, persecute or otherwise oppress the other party, rather than engage with and constructively respond to or accommodate the other party's arguments or viewpoint. When dissent is perceived as a threat, action may be taken to prevent continuing dissent or penalize dissidents. Government or industry may often act in this way. Suppression of dissent occurs when an individual or group which is more powerful than another tries to directly or indirectly censor, persecute or otherwise oppress the other party, rather than engage with and constructively respond to or accommodate the other party's arguments or viewpoint. When dissent is perceived as a threat, action may be taken to prevent continuing dissent or penalize dissidents.
Seen Enough January 16, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Brick Democracy at a glance integrity+consistency in positions+ credibility+electability+ loyalty+ teamwork+ dedication+working selflessly with no personal agenda+ethical conduct in the legal profession=denying free speech Everything before the = sign was taken from http://www.bricktownshipdemocrats.blogspot.com/ Is this the Brick Township you want to live in?
Sal Petoia January 16, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Frances: I can answer that for you. Under non-partisan government Republicans weren't getting enough of their candidates elected despite their numerical superiority. Nor was the county Republican organization kicking in sufficient money for non-partisan elections. So around 1987 or 88 after more than 20 years of non-partisan the R's petitioned to change elections from May to November. They never told the people that changing the date would make the government partisan. People were told that by eliminating the May election would save money. The word "partisan" never even appeared on the ballot. Many voted for the change but without knowing they were actually voting for partisan government. I was an outward opponent of the change and spoke at many organizations. I can tell you that mention of changing to partisan government was carefully avoided by the speakers favoring the change. I maintain that non-partisan is a "friendlier" form of government because during campaigns there should be no parties going at each other's throats. Non-partisan elections also had many more candidates, offering the people more choices. Only one election cycle took place where there was no competition.
knarfie January 17, 2012 at 02:09 AM
John C. commented about Ducey trying to silence Acropolis because he wants to challenge him for Mayor. If the Reps. even consider running him again, they should have their heads examined. He could not even beat Hitler with so many people disliking him. I hear there is at this time talk about the Reps. looking for him to resign to possiblly salvage a shot at the next election with a popular former politico.
Seen Enough January 17, 2012 at 04:25 AM
You maybe right you maybe wrong about the Republicans, but the Democrats would have to be nuts to let Ducey run for mayor. You remember Ducey don't you... integrity+consistency in positions+ credibility+electability+ loyalty+ teamwork+ dedication+working selflessly with no personal agenda+ethical conduct in the legal profession=Ducey denying free speech just the mayor we need...
Seen Enough January 17, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Roll forward a year or so and John Ducey announces his intent to run for mayor of Brick Township. His first advertisement will paraphase the Jim Mora Coors Light commercial --Playoffs, playoffs are you kidding me playoffs don't talk to me about playoffs Benefits, benefits are you kidding me, benefits I don't need no stinking benefits! Paid for by the Democratic Committee to elect John Ducey
Sam Foster January 17, 2012 at 06:37 AM
Mr. Lamb: And what really bothers me is that many people are ignoring the fact that Mayor Acropolis IS being allowed to speak, during the council comments section of the meeting. This is when Mayor Acropolis himself decided a mayor should speak when Mayor Kelly was mayor and Mayor Acropolis was council president. Mayor Kelly showed respect for Councilman Acropolis and the position of Council President by following this condition on speaking, and now it is time for Mayor Acropolis to show respect to Councilman Ducey and his position of Council President by complying with this same condition, regardless of how Mayor Acropolis may feel about Councilman Ducey and/or the outcome of last November's election. Also, the mayor does not have any authority to advise the council, as some people seem to want him to be able to do. That's why we have a township attorney, township business administrator and township clerk; to advise the council as to proper procedures regarding a council meeting. That's why Mr. Pezzarras and Ms. Cipriani are there. They have many years of experience, not to mention education and certifications in their respective fields that makes what they say knowledgeable. It is good hearing your comments. I hope to see you at the caucus meeting Tuesday.
ListenUpOcean January 18, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Did you know that Mayor Acropolis's pension will be based on his highest year combined salary, so that not only did we pay hime $150,000 last year, but the taxpayers will be stuck paying him over $70,000 a year in pension the rest of his life!
Betty Ann January 18, 2012 at 01:30 PM
after their steel cage meeting, I feel that everything is all good in Brick. Respect for all. Now we can move on to the important businesses at hand. Thank you Mayor and Council President. Now al the rhetoric can stop on this segment of the site.

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