BRICK TOWNSHIP — In a contentious meeting to decide who will chair the township’s Democratic Committee, Mayor John Ducey and his supporters won out over Councilman Jim Fozman and the faction of Democrats that supported him.
The vote was 49 to 8 in favor of the mayor, but the meeting was not without controversy and Councilman Fozman opted to see votes cast for him to take over as chairman, as well as to count hand votes before the final tally.
Mayor Ducey will take over from Council President Heather deJong, who has served as the committee’s chair for six years.
In a speech before a group of around 60 Democrats, Councilman Fozman launched barbs at the new and former committee chair.
“This committee is no way for our democracy to survive … I feel the current chair has been acting in such a manner as to divide the committee here in Brick,” Councilman Fozman said, adding that Council President deJong “has exhibited poor leadership.”
As for the mayor, the councilman warned that now too much power is held by one person.
“He has silenced dissent on the township council and now wants to bring a lack of transparency to the Democratic Party,” Councilman Fozman said.
Mayor Ducey denied the accusations and said he wants to focus the committee on strengthening the group’s bylaws, community involvement and creating a committee to support Andy Kim, who is running against Congressman Tom MacArthur for New Jersey’s Third District.
He also called on Democrats to come together and stay focused on upcoming elections at the state and federal levels.
“Divisiveness will be the end of us all,” Mayor Ducey said.
“What we have seen over the last week and a lot longer than that has been atrocious and it has finally come to a head here over such a thing as the committee chair.”
While the fractious vote may leave scars on the party, some felt confident this would heal with time.
“Yeah, they always do, it’s like a family,” Council President deJong said.
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