Another month.

Another opportunity for the Lakewood Township Committee to use the fact that they continue to hold their meetings virtually to their advantage to be able to ignore public comments.

Another occurrence of the Committee using the fact that they continue to hold their meetings virtually to their advantage to ignore public comments.

Lakewood's Township Committee used to hold formal meetings twice monthly. Over the last year or so they cut this down to once monthly.

The Committee's recent meeting last Thursday took a grand 13 minutes.

The meeting included lots of blank looks from the Committee.

7th Street resident Boruch Mandel submitted the following comment via email:

Another month. Another virtual meeting.

One day someone will file a lawsuit challenging these virtual meetings and every resolution and ordinance will be deemed invalid. Bring back in-person meetings before it's too late and we taxpayers are facing an enormous legal bill.

Last month you were asked regarding drivers using Caranetta Drive as a cut-off onto Central Avenue. Despite that this is not a new problem which has never been brought up to your attention before, the Committee was clueless regarding the issue and simply passed around the blame to the State and County. Either you are too busy or you don't care. The results are the same, the residents of that area are suffering and need a mayor and committee that takes responsibility.

Every other New Jersey municipality of this size has a directly elected mayor with a Mayor-Council form of government. However, Lakewood Township is governed under the Township form of New Jersey municipal government.

(The Mayor-Council form of government, also known as the “strong mayor” form, provides for the direct election of the mayor, who serves a four-year term. This form is designed for a mayor to be independent of council, in charge of the administration of the municipality. In contrast, the township form of government consists of a township committee elected at-large in partisan elections. At its organization meeting, held after an election, the committee selects one of its elected members to serve as mayor and preside at meetings. Under this form of government, the Mayor is not independent of the Township Committee.)

It is high time for Lakewood to adopt the Faulkner Act and the Mayor-Council form of government with a separately elected full-time mayor.

Mayor Coles and the Committee just sat there, gave no responses, and then ended the meeting.

It seems that our Township Committee enjoys ignoring public comments regarding such "complicated topics."

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