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Brick Government Restructuring Plan Proves Controversial

Warning from attorney as ordinance intending on cutting costs moves forward

The introduction of two ordinances that would eliminate several positions in municipal government, create some new positions and restructure several departments proved controversial Monday night, starting with a warning from the township attorney.

The ordinances, which Council President John Ducey said were not drafted by the regular township attorney, would eliminate eight positions within township government and create three new ones. Not all of the eight positions are currently filled, Ducey said.

In addition to the eight positions to be cut, which include those currently held by Deputy Business Administrator Juan Bellu and Recreation Department Head Dave Francese, the departments of Recreation as well as Community Development and Land Use would be eliminated entirely, with their operations rolled into other departments.

Warning from Attorney

Ducey said the elimination of the positions could save taxpayers as much as $418,000 per year, but the introduction of the ordinances on first reading began with a warning from Township Attorney Jean Cipriani.

"These ordinances have a tremendous impact on a number of employees' employment," said Cipriani. "Some have bumping rights."

That means even if some of the affected employees are appointed and not covered under civil service laws, they retain the right to move back into the civil service system, which in turn could cause other employees to be "bumped" out of their positions.

Cipriani said introducing the ordinances without identifying potentially-affected employees and issuing them so-called Rice notices came with risk.

Rice notices are legally-mandated notices given to certain public employees whose employment will be discussed at a governmental meeting.

"You did not contact, as far as I know, any of the individually-affected employees," said Cipriani.

Cipriani, along with Business Administrator Scott Pezarras and Councilman Domenick Brando, balked at the fact that they were not notified of the pending ordinance introductions until late Friday.

Cipriani also said there were "significant substantive problems" with the proposal, though she did not identify them at the meeting.

Brando abstained from voting to introduce the ordinances. All of the other council members – with the exception of Councilman Joseph Sangiovanni, who was not present – voted in favor of introducing them.

"I may very well, in the end, vote for these ordinances," Brando said. "But I just need more information."

Additions and Subtractions

The proposed ordinances eliminate eight positions, six of them being deputy department heads. They are the deputy department heads for: Administration, Finance and Public Affairs, Land Use and Community Development, Engineering, Law, Parks and Recreation and Public Works. The remaining two positions to be eliminated are Director of Land Use and Community Development and Director of Parks and Recreation.

Some of those positions, such as the deputy department head for the Law Department, are not filled. In the case of the Department of Law, the township uses an outside law firm as its counsel instead of an in-house team.

Three positions would be created under the ordinances. They are deputy department heads for the Finance Department and the Tax Assessor. A deputy township clerk position would also be created.

The elimination of the current salaries will save $418,000, when the additional salary of the deputy clerk position is factored in.

"When we ran, we were running on doing this," said Councilman Jim Fozman. "And this is the right time."

Ducey said most of the positions being eliminated were created in 2008, and for years the township ran efficiently without them.

"These changes were made in 2008, and you all know what happened from 2008 until today with our taxes," he said. "They skyrocketed."

State law requires a public hearing and a second vote before the ordinances can be enacted. Those actions are expected to take place at the Sept. 25 council meeting.

Tired of the BS September 11, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I think this is more smoke & mirrors. They will just clear out those people to make room for their own "friends & family" club. Rumor has it at DPW that a TWU chairperson is going for union president as well as a position in his own office on Chambersbridge Rd. Now, that's ironic....get rid of the public works dept head...position opens...friend/public works employee/union shop steward...moves in as a friend & supporter democratic council members. See, same crap, different people!!!!!! BTW, info came from a spouse of a DPW employee.
Chief Wahoo September 11, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Look at little Scottie Pezzaras fight for Juan Bellus salary and benefits , like a good little puppet
Joseph Woolston Brick September 11, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Well if they are setting up their own friends and family deals, they sure didn't learn much. Just look at what happened to Steve's buddies during the last election and what's going to happen to them November 2013...if the newbies want to keep their jobs, there better not be any friends or relative shenanigans or they will be joining Steve and the rest of them a few years from now. (Don't quit your day jobs!)
Herbert's and Ville September 12, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Oh yea, rumors are spreading like wildfire about Ducey starting a new family and friends club to work in town hall. A few blabbermouths are already going around town telling folk's they are a lock on a new job. Ducey and company , here we go!
BW September 12, 2012 at 03:11 AM
WEEEEEEEEE the trolls are back in action! I bet Steve is pissed he has lost his control over the town. Is it true Steve is resigning from the TRMUA for a state job?
Polly September 12, 2012 at 03:45 AM
I heard today that one of the four Dem council folk may be resigning for a new job in Trenton. Word was heavy on the strret last week about one of Duceys gang, could be Ducey?
KC September 12, 2012 at 04:14 AM
I have a funny feeling if heads roll they are going to look to once again cancel trash pickup. Politics is such a dirty business - I think the average person presumes corruption even if it isn't there and God knows it certainly is.
Brick September 12, 2012 at 01:23 PM
KC that's why we need someone who wont talk down and berate anyone. There's nothing worse then a whiny ex politician IE Mile Thulen,... Mike please stay home
Brick September 12, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Joe K... The mayor can not be honest. He can lie to meet his needs and points... 2013 can not quick enough
Mrgrumpass September 12, 2012 at 01:32 PM
First I must say that Juan Bellu is a carpet bagger from Toms River and should have been gone long ago! But there are a few things that trouble me here “The ordinances, which Council President John Ducey said were not drafted by the regular township attorney, would eliminate eight positions within township government and create three new ones.” #1. Who was the attorney who drafted this document? a. Do we have to pay this attorney b. The attorney needs to be identified c. Why the town (paid) attorney was not consulted or assigned the drafting of this document? #2. When was this ordinances decided on and by who? a. Which council people decided on this action b. Was there a Quorum of council people present at the time this action was being decided on? (Which is illegal seeing it was not an official properly advertised meeting) This seems like the New Bees have some explaining to do, back room dealings should not be tolerated!
Jerry Belle September 12, 2012 at 03:26 PM
You can go through the Open Public Records Acts (OPRA) if they are being deliberately obtuse.
Peter Weldon September 12, 2012 at 03:40 PM
One would have thought that the current elected municipal council members would take overt and deliberate steps to assure the public of their integrity and commitment, putting the interests of the citizens before their own and those of entrenched local interests given the history of Brick governance. I point out the following from Wikipedia: "Former Mayor Joseph C. Scarpelli resigned as of December 8, 2006, amid a federal corruption probe into township government. On January 8, 2007, Scarpelli pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges for accepting money from developers in exchange for using his official position to obtain approval for development projects. Township Clerk Virginia Lampman was appointed to fill the role of mayor until the Township Council could select a replacement. On December 17, 2007, former Scarpelli was sentenced in Federal Court in Newark to serve 18 months in prison and was fined $5,000, after admitting that he had accepted bribes from 1998 to 2003." We can do better, a lot better.
IGGY September 12, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Hello.......wake up........smell the coffee......there is an attorney list that council can use ..........do you think that they would go to Gilmore's for this draft or advice. This is just the start of the new council cleaning up the dead wood........sit back and enjoy the ride !!!!!!
Joseph Woolston Brick September 13, 2012 at 12:47 AM
BW from your lips to God's ear, now only if that state job would require him to resign as Mayor a year early, it would be like the whole town winning the lottery.
Joseph Woolston Brick September 13, 2012 at 12:57 AM
First let me warn all the parents to remove their kids from the room before they read this. Mr. Kinnevy, I would like to let you know there is no Santa Claus, Elves or North Pole, there is no Easter Bunny or Leprechauns with pots of gold at the end of a rainbow, there are no Unicorns and Flo is fake but she's sure is hot. Like all the examples before this, there are no politicians that care about the people that hired them, they only care about themselves, what they can gain for themselves or their party bosses, the control of towns, counties, states and what people they can use as stepping stones to do so, there is no such thing as a politician that cares about the people he/she serves, that politician that kisses babies and says he will make things better for us is just as fictional as the characters above.
Joseph Woolston Brick September 13, 2012 at 01:01 AM
It is so important for the population of Brick to get out and vote in the next election, to get rid of the garbage that has been creating the garbage for the last few years. I have a feeling who ever runs against Acropolis is going to have a landslide victory. That person could be deaf, dumb and blind and still win.
Joseph Woolston Brick September 13, 2012 at 01:08 AM
You know what Mr. Weldon, if Joe Scarpelli ran against Steve Acropolis the next election, Scarpelli would win, felon or not. That is how sick and tired the people of this town are with Steve and his band of Merry Men. That's a fact! At least with Scarpelli we knew what we were dealing with, he was somewhat of a stable person, with Acropolis, not so much.
Seen Enough September 13, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Joseph Woolston Brick you could also say the following if Joe Scarpelli ran against anyone from the Ducey regime the next election, Scarpelli would win, felon or not. That's a fact! At least with Scarpelli we knew what we were dealing with, he was somewhat of a stable person, with the Ducey regime, not so much ala benefits!.
Typical Obama Voter September 13, 2012 at 01:58 AM
@Josephwoolstonbrick.......you would re-elect Scarpelli to run the town like his personal kingdom, while taking bribes and extorting money and bullying town workers because he treated them like he owned the town. The reason you dont like Acropolis is because he is just like Scarpelli. No one was a bigger friends and family man than Scarpelli. Scarpelli and acropolis are two of the same. Dont lower yourself to want an admitted convicted thief in office. You are better than that.
Sean Conneamhe September 13, 2012 at 02:42 AM
"Yes, there is a North Pole."
Mrgrumpass September 13, 2012 at 12:18 PM
IGGY I don't have the unlimited amount of time to spend on line as most people here do, but improper and illegal procedures don't fly no matter what their end game is. And Gilmore’s law firm was hired by the town not a party it is their fiduciary responsibility to the town to do a proper job by LAW! Speaking of dead wood when the present administration took over from JS's corrupt administration there was a cleanup of dead wood I am not sure of the number but 30 to 40 people were removed and not replaced. There is the same poop going on with this new group of so called servants of the people, they will be placing their friendlies and family in positions they are moving to other depts. look at road paving one of our new bees he massaged the priority list to have his road paved sooner, same old same old new faces!
Mrgrumpass September 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Joseph Woolston Brick Joe would love to be back in office his mattress is in need of filling!
Sal Petoia September 13, 2012 at 01:13 PM
JWB: Not true.... there are people who care about the town and doing the right thing and run for office, only they don't get elected or choose to align with a political party and have to follow the "party" line!
I B buggin September 14, 2012 at 04:27 PM
http://php.app.com/NJpublicemployees12/results.php?lastn=Bellu&firstn=Juan&location=%25&countyname=%25&fundname=%25&Submit=Search
nan September 25, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I am not positive but I believe "bumping rights" only apply to Union represented employees. Rice notices on the other hand apply to all.
nan September 25, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Bumping rights do exist in the private sector in jobs which are collectively bargained by a Union.
nan September 25, 2012 at 08:09 PM
There are people who could and would do these jobs. They do not have the backing of either political party theat means they do not have the money to run.
nan September 25, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Mr. Grump... If you watched the Sept 10 meeting you would have heard these questions asked and NOT answered. A committee of three had some unnamed attorney draft the resolution. By itself it would not have been bad if on first reading there had been full disclosure of why someone else and all the info without anyone having to ask the questions. As to paying the attorney that answer was "No impact" pay Ms Ciopriani or pay unnamed attorney. Having chosen another attorney the rationale should have been given to us and the unnamed attorney should have taken the seat at the Counsel table to answer all questions. We are not allowed to comment on first reading but we are still entitled to ALL the FACTS.
Sal Petoia September 25, 2012 at 11:56 PM
For Nan: You are correct, but isn't it a disservice to the public that money is the most important matter in determining an election and who governs us? In a partisan election such as what we now have in Brick, an independent, even if well funded, stands little chance of winning because people are so conditioned to voting either Republican or Democrat. It doesn't really matter if the independent has good ideas. He or she is already at a disadvantage. At least in a non-partisan election, such as what Brick had for over twenty years, the "playing field" is a little more level in that the party candidate isn't so identified on the ballot. Voters have to do a little thinking before casting a vote. I'm in favor of going back to non-partisan!
knarfie September 27, 2012 at 07:10 PM
If Scarpelli is the best name to come up with, it's really time to get out of town.

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