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LAKEWOOD INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION AGAIN UNDER SCRUTINY FOR DEFYING PUBLIC CALLS FOR TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY



In what has by now unfortunately become "business as usual," the Lakewood Industrial Commission (LIC) has once again expressly shunned away calls from the public to act transparently.


Back in the pre-covid days, when town hall was open to the public and the LIC's monthly meetings were held in person, they would typically post a draft agenda several days prior to their meeting, and at their in-person meetings they would distribute to the members of the public their full packet including their Statement of Accounts and List of Bills. There was a portion during the meeting where members of the public could ask questions on LIC matters including their finances.


Once their meetings began to be held virtually, the public comment portion moved to being available via email prior to the meeting. In line with this provision, they began to publish online their full meeting packet including their Statement of Accounts and List of Bills. The full packet was typically published a day or so prior to the meeting.


At one point, FAA News published several articles revealing uncomfortable questions regarding The Strand's finances. Following these reports, as previously reported here on FAA News, LIC Board Member R' Shlomo Katz voiced these same concerns, saying "I have no idea if we are making money or losing money on The Strand." R' Katz even abstained from voting on costly expenditures for The Strand because of this exposure.


As members of the public began submitting more and more uncomfortable questions regarding The Strand's finances, the LIC reacted by not posting their full meeting packet until the meeting already started. At first they were successful in keeping away prying eyes by crafting their rules and regulations to state that public comments must be received 8 hours prior to the meeting. However, following exposure of this ploy here on FAA News, Mayor Ray Coles berated LIC Executive Director Steven Reinman that he needs to accept public comments during the meeting as well. Still, the LIC has continued to do all they can to steer clear of any uncomfortable questions!


At their recent meeting, a member of the public again called on the LIC to act transparently by simply posting their statement of accounts 24 hours in advance.


As shown in the video clip below, the LIC, as well as Deputy Mayor Menashe Miller, completely ignored this request!




Curious minds wonder what they got to hide....


The Senator Byron M. Baer Open Public Meetings Act (NJSA 10:4-7) goes so far as to "find and declare that the right of the public to be present at all meetings of public bodies, and to witness in full detail all phases of the deliberation, policy formulation, and decision making of public bodies, is vital to the enhancement and proper functioning of the democratic process; that secrecy in public affairs undermines the faith of the public in government and the public's effectiveness in fulfilling its role in a democratic society, and hereby declares it to be the public policy of this State to insure the right of its citizens to have adequate advance notice of and the right to attend all meetings of public bodies at which any business affecting the public is discussed or acted upon in any way..."


So, keeping those meetings open to the public and allowing us to observe what they are up to isn't simply "good politics." It's the legit law.


Unfortunately, it appears that Senator Baer is rolling in his grave over the way that business goes on at the LIC...


Related reading:

LAKEWOOD'S STRAND THEATER IS LEASED FOR $1 PER YEAR - 6/2022


LAKEWOOD INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION IGNORES TOUGH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE STRAND - 8/2022


BUSTED YET AGAIN: LIC PLAYED GAMES TO IGNORE PUBLIC COMMENTS - 10/2022


UPDATE: MAYOR COLES TACKLES LIC PROBLEM - 10/2022


YET AGAIN: LAKEWOOD INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION CLAIMS TO "SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL" - 11/2022


SHOULD LAKEWOOD TOWNSHIP INCREASE THE STRAND'S RENT MORE THAN $1 PER YEAR? - 11/2022


LAKEWOOD INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION HAS GOT TO GET THEIR ACT STRAIGHT - 12/2022


DESPITE RECEIVING BONAFIDE PROPOSALS FOR MORE RENT, LIC RENEWS STRAND LEASE FOR $1 PER YEAR - 2/2023


TROUBLING: LAKEWOOD INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION INACCURATELY CLAIMS THAT THEY HAVE "NOTHING TO DO" WITH THEIR PROPOSAL FOR HIGH RISE BUILDINGS IN THE TOWNSHIP - 4/2023


HOW CRAFTY: LAKEWOOD INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION COPES WITH UNCOMFORTABLE FINANCIAL QUESTIONS BY HIDING THEIR FINANCES FROM THE PUBLIC! - 6/2023


R' SHLOMO KATZ TAKES A STAND AND DOESN'T APPROVE COSTLY EXPENDITURE FOR THE ALREADY COSTLY STRAND BUILDING - 12/2023


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The only answer is to vote them out