Join Our Telegram Channel


The Lakewood Board of Fire Commissioners scores the very least of all Township boards on the issue of transparency.

At last night's monthly Board meeting, Aaron Hirsch, who is currently running for a seat on the Board, voiced his concerns on this issue, as well as other issues.

BOFC Vice Chairman Larry Loigman wholeheartedly agreed with Mr. Hirsch, adding that he has been raising the very same concerns for years, to no avail.

The rest of the Commissioners, who are apparently very allergic to spotlights, simply returned blank looks.

The Township Committee posts online the full packet with the resolutions they will vote on, complete with maps and descriptions, 2-3 days prior to every meeting.

Ditto for the Board of Education.

The Planning Board and the Zoning Board post online the plans for all applications prior to their meetings. 

The Lakewood Industrial Commission posts the full packet with resolutions, bills and statement of accounts prior to their meetings.

After some exposure on FAA News, even the Lakewood Development Corporation has joined the transparency wagons and now also posts the full packet with resolutions, bills, and statement of accounts prior to their meetings.

In contrast, the Board of Fire Commissioners only posts the statutorily required notice of their meetings and 1 page version of the agenda prior to the meeting. They only post resolutions after the meeting - by then it is too late to comment on them.

At last night's BOFC meeting, Aaron Hirsch pointed out this glaring issue, noting that there were some items of interest on the agenda, however, he can't formulate any comments on resolutions he can't see until after the meeting.

BOFC Vice Chairman Larry Loigman echoed these sentiments, stating that he has been raising this issue for years, to no avail, as "they simply won't listen."

Mr. Loigman also immediately called on District Administrator Yehuda Beer to "see what needs to be done in order to make the resolutions available online prior to the meetings!"

Curiously, the rest of the Board just returned blank looks.

We are now eagerly waiting to see if the Fire District will indeed update their procedures and publish their resolutions online prior to meetings.

The Board of Fire Commissioners is also the only public body in the Township which does not record their meetings. All other public meetings are recorded and available online.

Mr. Hirsch called on the Board to record their meetings and make the recordings available online.

In addition, Mr. Hirsch implored the Board to get way more serious in reviewing Site Plan applications, specifically noting that Attorney Adam Pfeffer (who is the brother of BOFC member Harrison Pfeffer and the partner of BOFC Attorney Ian Goldman) has openly commented that the BOFC has not submitted reviews to many Site Plan applications.

Chief Jonathan Yahr shot back that his hands are tied and his review isn't worth much anyways. Mr. Hirsch shot right back that Judge Hodgson has made it crystal clear that actually the Fire Department is the only one with the power to give the Planning Board the wherewithal to deny an application due to safety concerns! He got very blank looks in return.

Mr. Hirsch also highlighted that the fire district budget keeps going up because they keep on hiring more career firefighters while hardly doing any recruitment campaigning.

"I have yet to see actual promotion. I have not seen one ad or marketing campaign ever. Why is there no real push here to get more volunteers? Is there really no motivation to join the fire department?," Aaron questioned.

Mr. Loigman agreed, saying, "I've been asking this for years. They won't do it."

Chairman Yaakov Steinberg asked, "anything else?"

Mr. Hirsch responded, "you are at every major crash. You see the situation out there. The Township's Master Plan already recommends wider roads. Perhaps you can give the Township actual recommendations to increase safety?

Chief Yahr shrugged his shoulders, saying, "anything I say will simply be only my opinion."

Mr. Steinberg ended with, "thank you for your comments, you can email them in, they will certainly get looked at."

As first reported here on FAA News, Aaron Hirsch is running against Harrison Pfeffer who is seeking reelection.

Aaron Hirsch is currently very active at the local land use boards, speaking in support of traffic and pedestrian safety.

If elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners, Mr. Hirsch will be in an even more key position to combat wild and unsafe development projects, and implement smart growth policies in our Township.

Read more about the importance of this campaign here on FAA News.

To join a FAA News WhatsApp Group, click here.

To join the FAA News WhatsApp Status, click here.


Anonymous said...

Yesterday 14 individuals got together to send in their absentee ballots. All of them voted for Hirsch.

Only one voted for Avi Schnall.

It seems that the Oilum is waking up and ignoring our biggest problem called the VAAD.

ab said...

The town is still overrun by the yeshiva leit that will vote what the vaad says. And they have an organized voting effort. So while the population might agree, it's the voters that matter, and the voters are overwhelmingly yeshiva affiliated.

John smith said...

Good afternoon, this article is very misleading, as someone who attended the meeting most of what was said is false, number 1 the fire district has advertised in the BP weekly and are trying really hard to retain and get more people to join, when asking Mr hirsch why he doesn't join the fire department he gave excuses like "I'm too old, out of shape etc" while I person know someone who was 60 years old and way more out of shape go through academy. It seems like Mr Hirsch like to talk but isn't willing to put in the effort for the things he's preaching about.
Number 2 when it comes to the chief giving recommendations, he can't do more than the fire code allows him, it would be unfair to say more than what he's required to say. So before posting please get accurate information on that's going on.

Eli belly said...

I've seen the fire department held a recruitment BBQ that was widely advertised. Also why doesn't Mr Hirsch himself sign up as a volunteer?

Anonymous said...

I was in attendance at the meeting when Mr. Hirsch brought up to the Board the increased hiring of career firefighters without much visible recruitment effort. In response to this, at the meeting, it was clarified that the fire department IS actively recruiting and running ad campaigns. However, attracting volunteers is challenging nowadays, even for neighboring towns with large volunteer fire departments.

Unfortunately, the article doesn't mention this. And I am wondering why.

A Kleinman said...

@John Smith

Regarding Chief Yahr giving recommendations:

a) Mr. Hirsch suggested that Chief Yahr give the Township recommendations on how to improve safety on our roads. Chief Yahr simply shrugged his shoulders saying, "anything I would say would simply be my own opinion anyways."

This is an absolutely absurd response.

Chief Yahr also dropped in a line regarding the Uniform Fire Code.

This is completely off topic. Mr. Hirsch was suggesting traffic safety improvements, which are irrelevant to the Uniform Fire Code.

b) Mr. Hirsch also implored the Board to properly review - and submit reviews regarding - Site Plan applications.

Chief Yahr responded, "we respond to every application that we receive."

Mr. Hirsch responded simply that Attorney Adam Pfeffer - who represents developers, is a brother to Harrison Pfeffer and a partner to Ian Goldman - stated at the Planning Board and in court that there are many Site Plan applications to which the fire district did NOT respond.

Neither Chief Yahr nor the Board had any response here at all.

That alone should raise many eyebrows.

Judge Francis Hodgson, who is the top judge of the Superior Court in Ocean County, stated multiple times that the Planning Board can not deny an application due to safety concerns if the fire district gives their rubber stamp of approval.

Therefore, claiming that the fire department review is "more pragmatic" and "simply a recommendation" is wholly inaccurate.

Of note is that have been instances where Public Works told the Planning Board that they will not be able to get their garbage trucks down certain roads. Yet, the fire district had no concerns with those very same applications.

Former Commissioner Juan Ortiz had no issues giving the Planning Board real denials of Site Plan applications.

Only Chief Yahr comes up with excuses of "I can't do more than the fire code allows."

What is actually going on behind the scenes is that Adam Pfeffer is working with his partner Ian Goldman who convinces Chief Yahr to lay low and "behave" so that Adam can then sue the Planning Board in court using the argument, "the fire district already approved this application." As we have seen, Judge Hodgson has agreed with him.

It is high time to drain the swamp!