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      Letters September 25, 2008  RSS feed

      Part-time officials shouldn't get full-time benefits

      Taxpayers shouldn't pay for officials' health benefits. Brick Mayor Steve Acropolis recently announced that the township is requiring its managers and department heads to contribute to the cost of their health insurance premiums, and that the township is actively engaged in negotiations with two other unions to do the same.

      The stated intention is to bring civil service in the township in line with the private sector where employees contribute to some degree in paying for the cost of their health insurance. Assistant Business Administrator, Juan Bellu, was quoted as saying "It's not much … We are really looking for a larger participation from all of our employees … We want to lead by example." Councilman Tony Matthews chimed in "We're looking to save money where ever we can."

      These are difficult economic times for all of us, and we do agree that sacrifices must be made and leadership must come from the top. It behooves elected officials everywhere to demonstrate their leadership in saving money wherever they can, which is why we are calling for the governing body of Brick to eliminate taxpayer-paid medical benefits for all elected officials by passing an ordinance that would not allow any part-time employee, appointed official or any elected officials to receive health benefits paid for by the taxpayers.

      Elected council members receive a part-time salary for their work but they are also receiving approximately $100,000 in health insurance benefits paid for by you and I, despite the fact that they have benefits available to them from other sources.

      How can these same individuals who receive full medical benefits at our expense now go public with their proclamation that they want to lead by example and they are looking to save money wherever they can?

      If the current governing body truly desires to lead by example and is looking to save money wherever they can, they can demonstrate true and genuine leadership by not requiring the taxpayers of Brick to pay for the medical benefits of elected officials.

      It is absolutely outrageous that elected officials — public servants if you will —who receive part-time salaries charge the Brick taxpayer approximately $100,000 in health benefits and then have the audacity to ask their own employees to make greater sacrifices when they themselves have offered nothing.

      We are, therefore, calling on the governing body of Brick to pass an ordinance that would prohibit any part-time employee, appointed official, or any elected official of any political party, from receiving health benefits paid for by the taxpayers.

      Lead by example in the sacrifices you are willing to make. This is only fair to the taxpayers of Brick. These are difficult economic times for all of us and such an ordinance rescinding free benefits for elected officials could save taxpayers approximately $100,000 that could best be spent elsewhere on behalf of the people.

      Anthony Lazroe

      Chairman, Democrats for Brick