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The Lakewood Development Corporation (LDC) is looking to hire a new Shuttle Bus Liaison.

The buses are operated in-house by Lakewood's Department of Public Works. For years, their office staff provided phone support to community members who need information on the bus routes.

Last year, Lipa Klein, an Askan (community activist) in the Hassidic Belz community told the LDC that he wanted the job of Shuttle Bus Liaison.

Board Member Albert Isaac Akerman, who also serves on the Township Committee, questioned why there is a need for a separate Shuttle Bus Liaison when the Township should already be covering the needs for this service through Public Works.

Board Chairman Abe Mueller also questioned why the LDC is being asked to spend so much money on such a position. Board Member Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg responded that he doesn't know the answer, but that since this proposal came to his desk he does want to go forward with it.

At that point, Lipa requested that the LDC use $75,000 of UEZ funds for his Shuttle Bus Liaison position. Of this money, $55,000 would be used for his salary and taxes, $15,000 would be used for spending on public relations marketing for the buses and $5,000 would be available for him to spend on a phone and computer.

Since that time, the LDC gave Lipa's CARES organization yet an additional $5,000 grant.

In return, Lipa distributed a map showing the route and schedule for the bus routes serving only the Hassidic Belz and Satmar communities. Oddly, the "Lakewood" Shuttle Liaison did not also make maps for the routes serving the rest of the Township.

When asked for an explanation, LDC Director David Klein just rung his hands in the air.

As Lipa's one year contract is now coming to an end, the LDC has now published a Request for Proposals to hire a new Shuttle Bus Liaison.

The Request for Proposals seeks as follows:

A. Planning and organizing Shuttle schedule, routes and timing of the buses. 

B. Assessing route efficiencies, and modifying routes, stops and hours.

C. Assessing route efficiencies for holiday periods.

D. Shuttle schedule publicity: Responsible to provide schedule accessibility to the Lakewood community such as recording messages on the Shuttle hotline, etc.

E. Communal feedback: communicate with the community members regarding system upgrades, such as routes, hours, lost and found on buses, sanitization during pandemic, music choices on buses, carriages, masks etc. and directing comments and concerns to the Township.

F. Corresponding with business owners and high traffic offices that need additional shuttle services. 

G. Relaying comments and concerns of the Public Works director and/or managers and/or drivers to the community members. 

H. Holidays: Coordinate with the Public Works director, managers and drivers to arrange holiday schedules on New Year’s Day, MLK’s Birthday, Lincoln’s Birthday, President’s Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Election Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and days when schools are off.

I. Changes in Shuttle busing schedule: Broadcasting to the community via multiple media channels of changes in schedule due to holidays, bus repairs or an emergency change in schedule due to driver calling in sick or accident, snow storms etc. 

J. Hold meetings and keep township committee members, manager, Public Works employees/drivers abreast of important current events regarding the Lakewood Shuttle Service.

K. Bus tracking: Adding live bus tracking capabilities.

Curiously, the Request for Proposals indicates that the criteria being utilized as the basis for the award of services includes "knowledge of non-profit corporations." It is unclear why this is one of the criteria for this position.

Sealed proposals must be submitted to the Lakewood Development Corporation’s Executive Director on Wednesday September 27, 2023, on or before 10:00 AM. proposals may be submitted in person at the 231 Third Street, Lakewood Municipal Building, Room 12, or mailed to the Attention of the Executive Director, Lakewood Development Corporation, 231 Third Street, Lakewood, NJ 08701. All proposals must be contained in a sealed envelope with the name and address of the party submitting the proposal and marked “sealed proposal” and the position sought. Please provide 2 copies of the proposals.

Any person having questions or to obtain further information should contact David Klein, Executive Director, via e-mail, or phone (732) 364-2500 x 5976, or mail to 231 Third Street, Lakewood, New Jersey.

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Anonymous said...

Everything you "quoted" from the board members and the executive director was from last year, the first time they discussed this project. You make it sound like they said all this recently. I my opinion that's malfeasance in journalism. If you want to be true journalist, you need to quote the dates and times that their statements were made, otherwise you give a false impression that they stand on their opinions a year later. Maybe things have changed. It should be your responsibility as a journalist who puts information out to the public to follow up and ask for their current opinions and quotes.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 5:26am

The article clearly states "Last year," followed by "At that time."

Maybe you need a UEZ grant to learn how to read. I hear that there are some exciting new projects in the works that you may be able to apply for.