BRICK – Governor-Elect Phil Murphy surprised many in attendance during the Jan. 1 Organizational Meeting at Town Hall when he arrived to administer the oath of office to second-term Mayor John G. Ducey, and second term council members Marianna Pontoriero and Paul Mummolo.
Judge Mark Troncone administered the oath of office to second term Councilwoman Heather deJong, who was also named new Council President, while Councilwoman Lisa Crate was named Council Vice President for 2018.
Ducey thanked the Governor-Elect for attending the meeting and said it was a privilege to have him deliver the oath of office.
The mayor also thanked the people of Brick Township for having faith in him for a second term, and his wife Deidre, whom he called his “first lady of 18 and a half years.”
He said he was proud of the township employees and staff who have “provided great customer service to the residents of Brick.”
Ducey congratulated his running mates with whom he has been working together with for four years.
The mayor spoke of some of the highlights of his first term, which include enhanced social media, the elimination of red light cameras in town, increased transparency and the renovation of several parks.
“All the parks are well-used, and with neighbors meeting neighbors, it makes Brick feel like a smaller community,” he said.
Ducey said that the new teen center is one-of-a-kind in Ocean County as “a place where teens can go and be safe and stay out of trouble.”
He said he was proud of the Farmers’ Market, the Community Garden, the four Summerfest events and the Fall Fest.
“We have the largest police force in the history of Brick,” Ducey said, and his administration is fighting the opioid epidemic through educational programs, and, most notably, the new Blue HART (Heroin Addiction Recovery and Treatment) program where some 250 people have come to the police station to ask for help with their addiction.
Ducey said his administration is fiscally responsible with a zero-based budget, and said that in four years has reduced the township debt by 17 million. He said that during his second term the township debt would be reduced by at least $6 million.
He said he would keep the taxes stable in 2018 and stay within the state-mandated 2% cap.
As part of the Organizational Meeting, the administration establishes dozens of appointments for professional services, and authorizes committee members to various boards and committees.
The mayor announced that there would be two new committees in Brick Township: Economic Development and a Council Committee on Health, chaired by Councilwoman Marianna Pontoriero, who said she is cancer free after battling a rare form of oral cavity cancer in 2017.
Finally, Ducey said the problems facing Brick Township and the country can’t be solved by government alone.
“Just being kind and treating people with respect, despite having different views, can make people’s lives better,” Ducey said.
“Little acts of kindness and compassion can turn someone’s day around,” he said.
The next council meeting will be on Tuesday, January 16 at 7 p.m.