Following their withdrawal of this major plan last year, the Lakewood Board of Fire Commissioners are now back to their plan to hire a Fire Prevention Specialist.

They have not yet signed to a final salary or to any specific individual for the position, however, at their recent meeting they formally set the minimum and maximum annual salary range for the position of Fire Prevention Specialist to be $45,000 to $75,000.

The total cost to the taxpayer will be higher. The fire district's annual budget for this fiscal year appropriates a total of $93,584 in taxpayer funds for this position; $50,000 for the annual salary for this new position, $33,798 for Employee Group Health Insurance and $9,786 for Other Fringe Benefits.

The Lakewood Fire District does not currently have a salaried Fire Prevention Specialist. A number of years ago, they had several volunteer firefighters, at the helm of Volunteer Firefighter Jacob Woolf, visiting camps and schools upon request. A couple of years ago, Firefighter Woolf began to receive a $500 monthly stipend for being the Fire Prevention Coordinator.

On March 29, 2022, the Board of Fire Commissioners took the first step to turning this into a $93,584 annual expenditure by adopting on first reading a resolution creating the paid position of "Fire Prevention Specialist." The resolution notes that this position shall be a minimum of 40 hours per week.

The Board then rushed to adopt this resolution on final passage at the next meeting on April 11, 2022.

On April 29, 2022, the District published a "request for cover letters and resumes" for this new position. This "request" was for interested candidates to submit a written interest in the position, with the salary to be left up for negotiation at a later date.

The request for cover letters and resumes notes that the position is to:

  • Perform and coordinate Fire Prevention activities; organizing and coordinating community events, public education programs, and working collaboratively with Fire Department personnel to accomplish Fire Prevention Program objectives.

  • Additional duties may include reception and phone coverage and other clerical duties as assigned. The majority of work may be performed in an office environment with trips to locations in the community for the purpose of performing public education activities and pre-incident planning.

  • Assist the Fire Chief and others as assigned with administrative functions and special research.

The District received cover letters and resumes from no less than 7 candidates who are vying for this position; 1) Benjamin Scott Carlin, 2) Jacob Woolf, 3) Craig Bierbaum, 4) Sean Davis, 5) Mitchell Remig, 6) Gerald Hayes, and 7) John Aiello.

Following exposure here on FAA News, the Board of Fire Commissioners held off from actually hiring a Fire Prevention Specialist.

Now, they have revisited the plan.

"I'm happy we are addressing this again," stated Commissioner Dovid Bender.

"This is very needed in the town," added Chairman Yaakov Steinberg.

Below is the Fire Prevention log for 2023 so far:

The Board's Resolution fixing the salary range for the position of Fire Prevention Specialist states:

"The Board... is charged to provide prevention and extinguishment of fires and regulation of fire hazards within the Township... and ... the Board... finds a need for a Fire Prevention Specialist within the district in order to carry out the mandated charges as set forth above."

This resolution will be considered for final passage at the regular meeting of said Board of Fire Commissioners to be held on June 12th, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. at the Office of the Board of Fire Commissioners, 733 Cedar Bridge Avenue, Lakewood, New Jersey, at which time and place any person wishing to be heard shall be given this opportunity.

All other terms and conditions of employment relative to said position shall be established by the Board of Fire Commissioners.

This year's fire district budget, which for the first time has topped $10 million, includes a salary of $191,732 for Chief Yahr, $155,000 for Administrator Yehuda Beer, and $110,000.00 for Deputy Administrator Steven Mulholland. Mr. Goldman's contract is for $155 per hour for his legal services. In 2022 the District has paid Mr. Goldman close to $50,000 for his legal services.

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