BRICK – Councilman Jim Fozman announced that he would be switching his allegiance to the Republican party after he said he was told he was no longer invited to political caucus meetings since “they feel I no longer share their political philosophy,” he said at the end of the Aug. 28 council meeting.
“I didn’t leave the Democratic party, the Democratic Party left me,” said Fozman, quoting the late President Ronald Reagan.
In a prepared statement, Fozman said the all-Democrat council and mayor were distancing him because he was increasingly at odds with “their lack of transparency, and calling them out on the lack of checks and balances.”
Fozman, now in his second term, and Mayor John G. Ducey ran on the same ticket for council in 2011. Ducey was elected mayor in 2013 and is now serving his second term.
“For the past two and a half years, it has become increasingly evident that my colleagues moved further to the left, and aligned their philosophies with those of the Hillary Clinton Democrats,” Fozman said.
He said that he has always been fiscally and socially conservative and more in line with the Republican party.
Ducey said Fozman’s reason for changing political parties should be analyzed.
“He states that he is switching because there is a lack of transparency despite the fact that I appear whenever and wherever invited to speak and answer all questions posed,” Ducey said in an email.
The mayor said he also appears twice a month on Facebook Live sessions where he answers real-time questions from residents.
“Other mayors call me crazy for allowing this type of transparency, but residents love it and take advantage of it,” he said.
Ducey said it is a “complete joke” that Fozman is switching parties because the Republicans are more fiscally conservative, since his administration’s record of spending over his five years as mayor has the lowest increases in the history of Brick Township.
“Since his reasons are obviously not true based on fact, the real reason must be explored,” Ducey wrote.
The mayor said that Fozman wanted the job as the director of Public Works when Glenn Campbell retired.
“I denied his request and told him that we would never hire a sitting councilman or family member to a township job as that is blatantly against what we stand for,” Ducey said.
“He now joins the Brick Republicans who are well known for providing jobs to elected officials and family members as a matter of course,” he added. “Fozman obviously want to join that gravy train.”
Ducey said he is relieved that Fozman no longer represents the Democrats.
“The Brick Democrats do things differently we do things the right way and Fozman does not share our values of good governance,” he said.
Fozman said he is retired and has been collecting social security for five years, and in an email said “Everyone in politics knows it would not be legal to hire a sitting councilman at the township.”
He said the mayor appointed him as a BTMUA commissioner while Fozman was a councilman.
“If Ducey was so concerned about my serving as a BTMUA commissioner, he should have voted no on my appointment,” Fozman wrote. “I did ask to take a class at Rutgers to better quality as an ongoing commissioner,” he added.
Fozman said that excluding him from the twice-monthly caucus meetings “is not government transparency.”