15 Sep 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by lunasavestheday
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Patch Instagram photo by lunasavestheday
Patch Instagram photo by lunasavestheday
Patch Instagram photo by lunasavestheday
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Fozman Appointed to Brick MUA, Will Remain on Council

Some residents upset with council's decision

Fozman Appointed to Brick MUA, Will Remain on Council

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.

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