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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.

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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