Lakewood Township Officials and Employees Fail to Reach an Agreement


langert-lakewoodLakewood Township officials announced today that they were unable to reach an amicable agreement with bargaining unions that represent the majority of the Township employees.  Mayor Steven Langert expressed the sentiments of the Township Committee by saying, “We are disappointed that the Township employees did not choose to work together with us to reduce operating costs that would have avoided potential layoffs and furloughs.

“It’s no secret that our town and our state are in dire financial straits. We simply cannot sustain the levels we have all enjoyed in better economic times. We are looking at an $854,000 increase in pension contributions, and health care insurance premiums are soaring, among other rising costs. This was an opportunity to save an estimated $900,000 for the Township.”

At issue was the change in health insurance plans. The Township has been providing six different health care plans through its carrier the Central Jersey Health Insurance Fund. Changing to only one, uniform health care benefit package, a plan that has the same benefits that county and state employees receive, would have resulted in a significant savings of an estimated $900,000 for the Township.

Mayor Langert says, “I realize that Township employees are concerned about the health care coverage for themselves and their families. Overall, this health care plan is rich in benefits and comparable to what Township employees have now. Currently Township employees receive dental and vision benefits along with a full medical package. In no way was this going to change.”
With a unified plan in place, the Township could have saved $1.3 million in health care costs between 2010 and 2011. The savings would have been realized from a combination of the consolidation of the health care plan and a change in copay for some employees from $5.00 to $10.00. (Some employees already have the $10.00 copay.)

Mayor Langert says, “In fact, most employees would have seen a reduction, an added benefit, for any out-of-network doctor visits because their copay would have been reduced from 30 percent to 20 percent.”

The downside of not accepting a unified health insurance plan will most likely mean layoffs and furloughs for Township employees. Lakewood Township did submit a layoff plan to the state that was approved and did hand out layoff notices this past Friday.
The PBA is pointing out that the retirement of police officers this year will result in a $1.6 million savings. On the other hand, the Township is responsible for $1.4 million in unused sick and vacation pay, along with other buyout costs.

Mayor Langert says, “The last thing I wanted to do is tell people they have lost their jobs during the holiday season. I am deeply disappointed in the fact that our unions refused to voluntarily accept the change that, in reality, no one would ever feel. For example, when a person goes to the doctor, all the township employee has to do is lay out a $10.00 copay. That would not change under a new plan.”

Of concern to Mayor Langert and the Township Committee was the fact that some of those involved in these issues found out about impending layoffs through the media. “I don’t know why that happened,” says Mayor Langert. “I can assure you that the Township followed the proper procedures. I have the greatest respect for our Township employees, and I am truly sorry that some of them originally found out about potential layoffs from other than official sources.”

{Noam Newscenter}


  1. It’s time to institute Furloughs, Higher co-pays, more taxpayer affodable employee insurance, etc. The Unions and Civil service is hindering all of NJ’s Municipalities to force them into bankruptcy.

  2. Why would the mayor and town council want to stress workers by asking them to sacrifice in order to reduce operating costs?

    I know a great way to bring in revenue. All the illegal Mexicans in Lakewood have to be dealt with. Somewhere I read that it costs (and someone correct me if I am wrong on the numbers), about 9k to educate each child in the school system, and if they are “bilingual”, it adds an extra 11k.

    The expense workers are paying through taxes to cover the educational costs for families who are not suppose to be there (considering Lakewood’s HUGE illegal population), and then asking those workers to sacrifice their very jobs, is immoral and the mayor and council should be ashamed of hurting the those who actually work for a living.