New Brick Council's Power Will be Tempered

Brick's form of government provides for a 'strong mayor'; Brick to re-up with Gilmore firm for legal services in 2012

Here's a quick lesson in New Jersey municipal government for everyone: there are five types of municipal government structures in the Garden State, and there are 11 forms of those governments.

In Brick, our type of government is a township (that part is kind of obvious) and our form of government is the Mayor-Council form, under what is known as the Faulkner Act, a law passed in 1950 and updated in 1981.

Simply put, that means there is a "strong mayor" and "weak council" in Brick. The mayor acts as a chief executive, while the council controls the purse strings. It also means, however, that while elected council members set policy and are responsible for passing the municipal budget, they are not empowered to make such appointments as municipal attorney, engineer and some other professional services providers.

Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis said Brick will continue to retain the services of Gilmore & Monahan, a locally influential, GOP-aligned law firm that may not have been the first choice of the four Democrats who in the November council elections. He said Birdsall Engineering will continue on as the township's engineer services provider. There is little wiggle room for the council to oppose certain professional appointments, no matter how they may feel about them, the mayor said.

"The courts have held that the township council cannot hold up the administrative functions, or the running of the township," said Acropolis. "The council's powers really lie with the budget."

Indeed, while the mayor will propose a municipal budget after the new year, the council will have the final say as to what, where and how much money will be spent next year.

Many municipalities in New Jersey use the same type and form of government as Brick. In Ocean County, municipalities using the Faulkner Act type of government include Berkeley Township, Jackson Township, Manchester Township and Toms River Township.

Joseph Lamb December 20, 2011 at 05:24 PM
In the 5 years Acropolis had the Gilmore firm, Brick has paid the firm $1.728 million. The fees over 4 years were $1.378 million, were more than double the last firm, and there is nothing to show for it. The Gilmore firm said former Councilwoman Kathy Russell committed an ethics violation but never filed with the Local Finance Board because it was dummied up and false. If the Gilmore firm filed, they would have ended up being charged with an ethics violation for bringing up false charges. The new council is supposed to give their consent to this appointment but they should vote against it. Acropolis should ask the Gilmore firm to take $1 a year for the next two years if he will be mayor that long.
Concerned Brick Citizen December 20, 2011 at 05:42 PM
Why should the township have a legal firm on a paid retainer? If the township employees are a protected "worker" there is no need. When was the last time that Brick Township was involved in a legal case? How much did it cost the tax payers? If “Tort” rules… it is time to only hire legal help on a case by case. Not via retainer. I bet this would save the tax payers 10’s of thousands.
cando21 December 20, 2011 at 06:08 PM
Just follow the campain MONEY from the Ocean County Republican party down to each Republican Canidate then you will see just who will get the jobs and the appointments its that simple
Tarkus December 20, 2011 at 06:14 PM
How about "Shared Services", split the retainer fee with another town since it's a "As needed service.
cando21 December 20, 2011 at 06:14 PM
The council can vote NO but the Mayors appointments still stay as Hold Overs for as long as it takes Until a New Mayor is Electiced and sworn in and makes the new appointments that the Council votes yes on its just the way it is Next time vote for a new Mayor!!! I bet the last guy who ran would have done a much better job but Republican MONEY bought this Mayor his job.
John C December 20, 2011 at 06:25 PM
Choir boy?? that would be pretty difficult http://www.justice.gov/usao/nj/Press/files/pdffiles/Older/scarpelliInformation.pdf
John C December 20, 2011 at 06:41 PM
How much was the Democrat connected law firm paid over the 12 years of the prior administration and how else did he personally benefit from his position? Where were you as far as raising the public's awareness when all that was going on? since you never raised any concerns during that time you once again have no credibility
Joseph Woolston Brick December 20, 2011 at 06:43 PM
Well apparently the other four council members didn't care either and look what happened to them. I think he knows he better start caring and knock off the Acropolis shenanigans, but as the saying goes, "Too little, Too late" They ( the mayor and council people) believe that this forum is full of political hacks and Internet Trolls with many screen names..well keep believing that but explain how all us so called hacks and trolls were able to fire his other buddies asses right out of town hall. What they better start believing is that there are honest to goodness real people from Brick on this forum, good hard working people who are telling the Mayor and what's left of his buddies on the council what we don't like and what we want him and them to do and they rather believe the above. Some people never learn!
Daniel Nee (Editor) December 20, 2011 at 06:48 PM
They are required by law to have an attorney. Whether that attorney is on retainer or a full-time township employee doesn't matter, but the township must, by law, have an attorney. Howell actually decided several years back to switch from a retainer to an in-house attorney, so that would be an option.
Daniel Nee (Editor) December 20, 2011 at 06:51 PM
Toms River also has a full time, in-house attorney, by the way.
TimeForChange December 20, 2011 at 08:50 PM
Apparently, retainers are the preferred method of this crook. They can get paid for doing nothing. Most attorneys wouldn't work full-time, even at Juan's salary.
Mickey December 20, 2011 at 09:39 PM
did any of the candidates return any contributions from Rittacco or his company ?
cando21 December 21, 2011 at 01:08 AM
Of course Not with these Republicans the money come before everything just because returning that money would have been the right thing to do don't for one min think they were going to give back MONEY It is easy enough to check out go to the state elec sight you can see every dime they got and where they got it from
Mickey December 21, 2011 at 01:51 AM
Artie or Dan......care to share your thoughts on why any money wasn't returned or do you think they should keep it ?
Laraine December 21, 2011 at 11:22 AM
I love the Brick Patch, especially the forums about local government. As I do learn something new everyday I also find humor in most of the comments. Looking forward to a new year with a wide variety of Brick Patch entertainment. My contribution to make it more visually positive may have been small potatoes but it was more than most who just sit here and type!!! I wish all a happy and healthy new year.
Sean Conneamhe December 21, 2011 at 11:40 AM
"Happy Winter Solstice, Happy Hanukkah, Jolly Yule, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to All." "And Happy Festivus, as well!"
Betty Ann December 21, 2011 at 05:12 PM
And the same to you, Sean!
Kevin Koch December 22, 2011 at 01:06 AM
If Joe Lamb's figures are correct, $1.78 million over 5 years would equal roughly $345,000.00 per year. We should consider hiring a full time attorney (in-house so to speak) at a salary much lower than the $345,000.00 we currently pay. Sounds like something that should be entertained at a council meeting as a serious cost saving measure to our town. Let the comments begin!
Mickey December 22, 2011 at 12:13 PM
noticed neither replied or commented
Sal Petoia December 23, 2011 at 11:20 PM
Kevin: At $345,000 per year, the weekly legal costs are over $6,600 a week. How about if we seek a full time lawyer for a salary not to exceed a not so shabby $4,000 a week. Let qualified attorneys bid for the job, and the one who submits the lowest bid under the $4,000 maximum, gets the job. There are probably a lot of lawyers out there who are qualified and would want the security of a $200,000 a year full time job with benefits. No politics involved, no quid pro quo, no payoffs to campaign supporters. Brick taxpayers get a qualified attorney at the lowest possible cost. But will it ever happen? No… because that's not the way the game of politics is played. So unless we get a mayor who is not beholden to political benefactors, and who can think "out of the box", don't ever expect anything to change. Besides, mayors like to have an attorney they can "trust", i.e. a political ally.
cando21 December 24, 2011 at 12:42 AM
Maybe it's time to change the form of Gov. Back to what is was when there were no Repbulicans or Democrats
Sal Petoia December 24, 2011 at 01:28 AM
Cando: We had non-partisan government for over 20 years, and it worked well. Many say we can't go back, but if the people really want it, it can be done. Political parties will stiffly oppose a change back, however.
Sean Conneamhe December 24, 2011 at 02:24 AM
"Brick Township had a nonpartisan form of government from 1967 to 1990." "The problem has not been the partisan form of government--the problem has been the strong-mayor form of government."
Sal Petoia December 24, 2011 at 03:23 AM
Sean: What would you suggest as an alternative?
Brick December 24, 2011 at 04:03 AM
It's a give and take as far as the appointments... I'm guessing Juan is take... Good choice dumping the man who lost the Rep. the election...
carnjahully December 25, 2011 at 04:47 PM
Sorry, but you are very misguided. Nothing is going to change in the administration.
Sean Conneamhe December 25, 2011 at 06:41 PM
"A nonpartisan Township Committee form of government with an election every year in November and the mayor/chairman elected annually each January by the committee members seems to be the best form of government. In such a government it would be difficult for a single person or party to have too much power."
George January 03, 2012 at 04:24 PM
John grow up and put it to rest you are not helping your party or yourself
George January 03, 2012 at 04:29 PM
John put it behind it will only take a toll on you and possibly ruin your business too.
John C January 03, 2012 at 05:00 PM
I disagree George sometimes the attacks need to be put into perspective. Most of what is posted here is personal attacks, I am just posting a fact to remind people of some things.


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