[Video and photos below.] This morning, Lakewood Township held its 117th Township Committee Re-Organizational at Town Hall on Third Street. Committeemen Meir Lichtenstein and R’ Menashe Lichtenstein were sworn in to office for new terms after winning reelection in November. Steven Lagert, who had been deputy mayor, was chosen by the Committee to serve as mayor of the town of Lakewood. This is Langert’s second year on the Committee. Menashe Miller was chosen to serve as deputy mayor.
The event drew a tremendous crowd that included Police Chief Rob Lawson and a number of Ocean County Freeholders. Also in attendance were dozens of EMS personnel who came to protest the fact that the Township is considering to do away with the Township EMS and instead use private companies to cover the Township’s emergency needs. The move is expected to save the Township a significant amount of money annually.
At the meeting in Town Hall, the pledge of allegiance was led by Yitzy Langert, son of Steven Langert. Following the invocation, the National Anthem was sung by the well-known baal menagein, Shua Kessin, who is a Lakewood resident. A moving prayer for armed servicemen was said by Chaplain Captain Raphael Berdugo, also a Lakewood resident.
Langert, Lichtenstein and Miller were sworn in to their respective positions.
The governing body remains under a Republican majority. State Senator Bob Singer, who was mayor last year, as well as Steven Langert and Menashe Miller are Republicans. Ray Coles and Meir Lichtenstein are the Democrat members of the Committee.
At the meeting, after the appointment of mayor and deputy mayor, the committee designated Lawrence E. Bathgate II of the firm Bathgate, Wegener and Wolf to once again serve as Township Attorney.
The Committee passed numerous resolutions, announced appointments to municipal boards and committees, and filled a variety of other municipal posts.
Steven Langert spoke, thanking numerous individuals, including his family, for helping him get to this stage. He also pledged to serve the entire Lakewood, devoting his efforts to the betterment of the town. “We are all in this together. We are all one Lakewood,” said Langert.
Langert also stressed that 2010 is going to be a difficult year, with the Township facing unprecedented financial difficulties. With continued cuts in state funding, and rising costs of services, said Langert, there will some tough decisions to be made in the ensuing months.
The other Committeeman also shared their thoughts and thanked various individuals who have been helpful to them personally and to the Township in general.
The podium was then opened for comments from the public. Remarks were made by various individuals, including Rabbi Yehudah Shain, former Committeeman Charles Cunliffe and others. The audience also heard from an EMS member, who gave an emotional plea to the Township Committee not to disband the Township EMS.
The meeting concluded with the singing of “G-d Bless America” by R’ Avromie Flam.
Click below for a video of the event: