Editor’s note: Each of the two candidates running for a seat on the Brick Township Council were sent a questionnaire by Brick Shorebeat. Both responded. Their answers to our questions will be published on our site verbatim. We have disabled comments on profile articles to ensure the candidates’ statements speak for themselves and readers can decide, without additional, potentially anonymous commentary, their view on those running for office.
Full Name: Domenick Brando
Current Age: 46
Current Occupation: Retired Police Officer
Highest Level of Education Achieved (optional: include degree/institution or certification, etc.): Bachelor of Science Construction Engineering Technology
Question 1: Brick Township suffered a significant blow to its tax base during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. With recovery from the storm not nearly complete, please describe your plan to ensure the relative stability of the tax rate in a township where many families feel they cannot afford an increased tax burden. Please be specific in listing any ways you feel the township could either cut expenses or generate revenue.
Brick Township was one of the most heavily damaged municipalities in the state. In 2013 Brick Township received Five Million Dollars from the State of New Jersey to help cover losses from Super Storm Sandy. In 2014 the current Mayor and Council did not receive this money again. In fact, a Five Cent tax increase was put into the municipal budget which put the burden on the tax payers and raised out taxes. The Mayor and Council must act as an advocate in demanding State and Federal aid. To this day Brick has many homes that are still vacant, and many have been abandoned because settlements have not been received from insurance companies or grants are still pending. The Mayor and Council must do more for our residents.
Question 2: For members of both parties, allegations of cronyism have led to countless controversies in Brick in years past. In what ways will you work to make government more transparent and ensure the most qualified candidates are selected for positions serving the township, whether paid or voluntarily appointed?
An end must be put to cronyism. I current have no friends or family members employed by the township. Something that I’ve always looked for in appointing someone to a position or a board is the most qualified person to be put into that position. The current Mayor and Council have made a lot of noise the last two election cycles about friends and family, and political patronage positions. They have not practiced what they preached, they have appointed friends and family throughout the town. Example, Councilman Fozman’s wife was appointed as a Commissioner at the Brick Housing Authority. I believe that all open positions should be advertised on the Township website and announced at Township Meetings. This would help in getting the most qualified person for the position. Currently the Township Council is made up of seven Democrat’s and no one is asking any questions as to who applied for these positions.
Question 3: With Ocean County continuing to face a heroin epidemic, coupled with increasing concerns over gang activity and criminal elements operating within the township, what are some specific policies you would support toward crime reduction and/or prevention? Do you believe Brick Township should devote more resources to its police department and, if so, what do you believe is the best way to fund such an effort?
The drug problem has become a major issue in Brick Township. As a Township we went from being in the top three Safest Communities to the sixth worst with drugs in the State of New Jersey. Our Ocean County Prosecutor along with our Police Chief have stepped up their efforts in fighting the drug and crime wave. The Mayor and Council have cut police overtime and they have cut it in the wrong areas. You can’t take shortcuts on our residents safety. We need to have a constant police and undercover presence in this fight. We should be working to have all monies and vehicles forfeited go towards police support in this fight. In 2014 we had at least four people stabbed in the streets and a woman taken right off the street. We need a gang task force to work with our County Law Enforcement partners. I would also like to see the Condo Associations work with the Township and develop a parking permit system. This would be a valuable tool for law enforcement to know what vehicles don’t belong in certain areas. This would deter drug dealers and people looking to buy drugs from going to these areas if they know that they may be stopped by the police.
Question 4: You may use this space to make a personal statement as to why you are running for township council and why you feel you are the best candidate for the seat for which you are running.