Township Asks Unions To Accept Wage Freeze To Possibly Avoid Layoffs

EXCLUSIVE: A close to $2,000,000 preliminary budget shortfall could result in the laying off police officers, DPW workers and other union employees within the Township, TLS has exclusively learned. Sources tell TLS, that during a meeting yesterday between Township officials and union heads, the Township has formally asked that the six unions in town accept a wage freeze, which could result in a strong possibility that the Township could avoid layoffs.

Although a contract negotiated last year approved a pay raise across the board – and that contract cannot be broken – the Township is not prohibited from laying off employees, should they be able to prove a need to do so, sources say.

According to sources, the contractual obligations for the unions for the year of 2012, is approximately $1,000,000. Asking the unions to accept the wage freeze – and remain with 2011’s wages – would offset the projected shortfall by approximately half that amount.

If the wage freeze is not accepted, the Township could send RICE notices to the employees. The RICE notice informs the employee that the Township intends to discuss them at a future date.

The unions with the largest chunks of the wages, are the PBA, SOA and the DPW.

“I’m not happy about it”, DPW Union Head Mike Cava tells TLS. “But I’m hoping they will be open to negotiations and we can explore other options”, Cava says.

In a last minute deal during negotiations with the unions last year, the unions accepted a revamped medical care and benefits package.

But the Township maintains that fiscal responsibility requires them to look into all options.

“In these times of fiscal hardship we must look at every option to produce an affordable budget”, Township Manager Mike Muscillo tells TLS. “The last thing we want to do is lay off any employees and we are proud to be from the few towns that in the past two years have maintained a stable budget without any layoffs”, Muscillo says.

In regard to the notices Muscillo says, “The only part of this process that requires advanced notice is any action taken with civil service employees”. “If any action is taken, the law requires the town to give advanced notice”.

But the Township says all options are on the table.

“We are open to all options and we need to explore all options to maintain an affordable budget for the residents and taxpayers”, Muscillo says.

The Township expects to hear back from the union heads in the coming weeks. TLS.

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58 COMMENTS

  1. this was easily to be foreseen. the grants the township got was not enough to sustain the new hires in the police dept.
    who in their right minds thought things were sustainable?
    (moderated)
    who really expects the town to sustain under such conditions?

  2. lakewood township municiapl workers are already the lowest paid in the state- what a way to show how appreciated they are by threatening to lay them off if they dont accept a pay freeze. (moderated)

  3. Didn’t the unions give back to the town last year with over a million dollar in savings with a promise of no lay offs. Werent there massive retirements fom the police department with only six of those officers being replaced at a much lower rate. It’s impossible for towns to have a zero percent increase in taxes and still maintain the same level of services. But once again the politicians try to balance the budget on the backs of the hard working township workers. I say no give backs and let they lay people off. As soon as trash pick up is cut back or their are less crossing guards or plows they will see if it’s worth it. I’m looking back now at an article from two weeks ago and it talks about hiring two new police officers. So what’s the story did the own have the money to hire or not?

  4. lets clarfiy, it doesn’t say the township is laying off employees, all it says is that they are exploring all options. Yes, all options should be explored so that an educated decission can ultimately be made

  5. WOW the lakewood scoop….. you people are absolutely disgusting!!
    why would you “moderate” the truth THAT EVERYONE KNOWS OF ANYWAY??

    I didnt mention a race, color, creed, or religion- so why moderate?? – scared of something? shame on you!!
    YOU are one of the reasons why lakewood is in shambles. you censor and “moderate” what people see- sheltering them from seeing the truth, which eventually would allow them to fix the problems.
    you would rather shelter people and hide the obvious selfish problems this town faces. SHAME ON YOU!

    so many people will be hurt, homeless, broke, or unable to afford to live in lakewood or worse; UNLESS YOU FACE THE PROBLEMS THAT YOU SHELTER PEOPLE FROM!!!

  6. Kudos to the lakewood scoop…. for sometimes moderating peoples comments! We come here for the news and not to see people’s derogatory remarks.

  7. However, when someone tells the truth about what is REALLY going on in Lakewood they get moderated. OK, I know who runs the town and who runs TLS.

  8. Last year the mayor said if we don’t
    Change insurance plans we will have layoffs
    So we change insurance plans and now this again .THEY hire 9 in DPW.
    6 COPS AND 3 in town hall

  9. Why are they hiring cops just to lay them off? They knew exactly how much money was required to fulfill contractual obligations to the existing employees. If they did not have the money to take on new hires (6 in the past 6 months) why hire them?? Did they plan to hold layoffs or givebacks over the heads of the LPD officers?

    It seems to be either poor planning or underhanded dealings by the town to me. Glad I’m not one of those laid of Trenton cops that just got hired, having to face another possible layoff.

  10. How about we start with the leadership.. the town council should take a pay cut!!! This is a part time job give up your benefit package that should only be for full time employees!!

    And to #12 KUDOS for what? TLS should moderate the derogatory remarks, but they take it further than that, they moderate differing opinions so the readers only get parts of a story, the part that TLS wants published. This is not the way to run a blog that a main source of news. News should be unbiased complete information not a biased slant.

  11. Ok let see,,all unions have a contract that included give backs the last year or two. The township manager and committee members who did the budgets knew the cost,,all raises if there were any stayed at or below the 2% that our great govornor wanted.. So lets be real and yets also remember that on Jan 14 2011 a police officer was killed in this town and just maybe the committee forgot.

  12. Try working in Lakewood with public safety employees and less township employees..you can not get by with a lesser amount but OT will be explosive…LOL WTG Lakewood

  13. Mr Conservative
    I coudn’t have said it better, to often things get moderated here the truth is told and because it might make someone uncomfortable it does not get posted THANK YOU for confirming what I have seen as a biased site that only wants one side of the story told !!!!

  14. little by little those who are in control are dismantling this town ~ the schools , now the DPW,police, fill
    OK will the last one to leave please shut the light

  15. Why doesn’t anyone ask the politicians why they’re always coming up millions of dollars short lately? Now I’m all for reevaluating certain areas where they can save money, but even if the public workers still take the pay freeze, the town will still be 1 million dollars short.

    Plus, if they lay off workers, we’ll lose a lot of services, which will be privatized and still cost money. Where would the money come to pay for that???

    All I’m saying is there needs to be more accountability!

  16. Didn’t the township just hire new employees??? Someone should have been looking ahead. Time for some administrators to be replaced eg. (moderated) should I go on?

  17. To – Mr. Conservative – I, likewise, keep getting “moderated” off the page. I guess TLS don’t like anyone telling the truth that everyone knows is the truth. Wanna bet this post gets “moderated” also?

  18. this will probably be moderated but this is just another way to take more from the public workers IE the police,DPW and SOA. All of the unions agreed together as a whole to switch to one health company to save the town a lot of money and now since they saw how they were able to get a deal done, they want to try to take more. There is going have to come a time when you have to look at other places to start cutting from rather than the people that keep our streets safe and our streets clean. I understand that people are out raged by hard economic times but this is our town and we need these public employees.

  19. #3 the town was slotted to hire 6 in August 2011 but only hired 4. So they ended up hiring the other 2 that the town didnt get in august last month wait and see how many experienced offiers retire within the next 2 months when the vote is passed to not allow buy backs of the sick time they saved. After all of those good officers retire they are going to be forced to hire a lot of officers. So what does that mean they will save a lot of money from the salaries but im sure they will find a way to try to say they are looking at laying off. I say no pay freeze. I dont care if my taxes go up, just as long as im safe at night. thank you LPD.

  20. I beleive from the past manay changes happened several years ago to prevent this. As in the article, EMS took a big hit and no one else did, i hope that if the town has to make changes it is not to vital support services like them. Hey if police do not have to get promoted as in the talks now, oh well. Many towns demote sergents back to patrol. Maybe we should put a few back to patrol to save money so no one gets laid off. If that means Public works does not do leave pick up, than so be it or bulk. Let people call a private company for bulk or drive it to the township center.
    i vote to bring back the budget committee and let the people present their requests item by item. it was done in the past

  21. To all the people who have their comments moderated I feel for you! A moderator should only moderate inappropiate comments, views not to their liking is not a reason to moderate!

  22. I don’t know what Mr. Conservative wrote that was so offensive, but I remember other times that Mr. Conservative wrote stuff that was untrue and very anti-Semitic. There is a huge difference between having an opinion that others disagree with, and saying things that are untrue in a way that paints a group in a negative light.

    I remember when the police officer was killed last year by a black man, all the area web sites including APP allowed all the racists to post their racist comments against blacks and the black community. TLS was the only website that didn’t allow any racist anti-black comments to get through (even though every comment that was allowed through was so vicious against the killer himself – but not at blacks as a group)

    TLS should be commended for not allowing anti-black or anti-Orthodox comments through. I think that TLS allows comments that have opinions that disagree with others, but he won’t allow any comments that disparages a group of people.

    Just as one black killer should not cause anyone to say anything negative about blacks in general, one policy or action or opinion of an Orthodox man should not cause anyone to say anything negative about Orthodox in general.

    TLS is right to have such a policy, and TLS sgould be commended for formenting civility and peace in our town, instead of making it us vs. them.

    Let us all work together toi tackle the issues in our town, while respecting opinions that we disagree with. And more important……while respecting the PEOPLE that we disgree with.

  23. kinda funny….Lakewood EMS takes a 30 % pay cut to keep their jobs..The same year DPW and Police get raises…how does that work ??? Maybe DPW and the Police should take a 30 % pay cut to keep their jobs this year..whats fair is fair..EMS is just as dangerous of a career..at least in this town….

  24. Dayshift has been without a Lt. for 4 years. The Det. Captain is wearing 2 hats (Internal Affairs and Det Bureau). One Deputy Chief is retired. Watch this, before too long they will promote a new Sgt. and leave him in the exact same assignement he is in right now. Stop crying that you are broke Lakewood.

  25. get rid of these unions who are bankrupting our country !

    there are plenty of unemployed people that would work for half yes half of the salery’s some people make so stop complaining and be thankful you have a job

  26. Yeah…now we have to pay more for our pension because of Whitmans raiding it, we have to pay for part of my health benefits, I have been a loyal emplyee and now the governor wants all my sick time. My husband was laid off, and the lakewood school system stinks…. I can’t get any type of assistance because I make $32,000.00 before taxes and I have been with the town for fourteen years and the Tax paying public wants to begrudge me 2% incease.
    I guess my family will be moving to Tent City!

  27. To town employee:

    Most people in this town can’t afford their basic expenses. Nobody is begrudging your 2% increase, they just can’t afford to pay for it. It’s as simple as that.

    Have you considered lowering your taxpayer funded salary to help the township’s taxpayers? Of course not! Then why do you expect everyone else to lower their after tax disposable income by having them raise their taxes to pay for your salary increase?

    They can’t afford it either.

  28. Finally some sense! Why do people feel that they can write comments which is their opinion generalizing and grouping ppl together and it should get through. TLS certainly has a very large Orthodox Jewish population of readers. What would TLS gain by allowing this site to join the ranks the APP and all the other anti-semetic junk? How many times do the same people who just want to blame certain segments of the population for anything bad that happens praise them on TLS or any other site for good things they do?

    Maybe you will say that you do but iyt seems to me that a lot of the comments are just bashing certain segments. I don’t think thay are racist at all but just knee-jerk generelizations which can offend many.

    G-d bless us all with peace and luv! Luv u all!!!!

  29. why doesnt the township officials suspend there health benefits as they are only part time employee’s? why do they keep it after they are not reelected? lead by example and take a 20 percent cut? why is it about everyone but you?

  30. HEY, Moshe Chaim:
    The truth is all we want and if that means that “a certain group” is guilty then so be it. Just because TLS moderates the comments or refuses to post them does not mean it didn’t happen. The problems will never be solved if they continue to be hidden. The town council and the BOE have a majority of Orthodox Jewish members, therefore the Orthodox Jewish members make the decisions and are responsible for the actions. This is NOT racist, it is a simple fact, and if they make a decision that is not right they should be held accountable as a decision maker and NOT as a Jew. TLS does not see it this way and that is where TLS is wrong.

  31. to thosa who dont like to be moderated, go post on (moderated) would love companions in bashing and lying about people who try to do the right thing.
    hope this doesn’t get moderated!

  32. I NEVER said anything derogatory, insensitive, or racist, nor anti-semi. i never even mentioned a race/creed/religion. i only used the term “a large Lakewood community”. EVERYONE KNOWS THIS GOES ON ANYWAY- so why shelter the readers from it? (moderated).

    Editor’s note: Please see the comment rules. As we have explained in the past, comments pointing fingers at specific people in a derogetory way – even without directly mentioning names – is not allowed on this site. Please feel free to email us should you have any further questions.

    Thank you.

  33. Ok folks lets be reasonable here. First , name the town that has been building houses, condos, stores, schools, houses of worship,strip malls, etc. LAKEWOOD. So follow me here now, that means people are occupying thoses above mentioned new establishments. Thats mean people are moving in and EXPANDING. Thats how LAKEWOOD is thriving and growing, so there must be a need to hire more police,fire,ems, dpw, etc. You know the workers, so NOW YOU CAN CLEARLY AFFORD TO PAY FOR THEM AS MENTIONED ABOVE WITH THE INFLUX OF GROWTH COMES $$$$$$$$$. And clearly LAKEWOOD has that. Shall we go on, who hires “Maria’s” to clean,care for kids, do the dirty work. So stop crying about your taxes all the time. You live in big million dollar homes but want to pay taxes like you live in the south. Clearly people can see past your immature rants about public workers not deserving what was PROMISED to them, now lets just worry about ourselves. Shame on the ENTIRE COMMITTEE for letting this happen.
    UNITED WE STAND.

  34. #43,
    you are right, when good governing is accomplished credit is given ,well then on the opposite side when poor governing happens those who make those decissions need to be held accountable as well !

  35. Its amazing how everyone is flying off the handle. All the township officials said is they are looking to explore all options. Thats a simple statement that people are coming to their own conclusions!

  36. I’,m still waiting to hear a THANK YOU from the hundreds of bus drivers in Lakewood, who were given off on Thanksgiving because the Orthodox Jewish residents/ tax payers demanded that the non-Jewish bus drivers be given off, EVEN THOUGH THEIR CONTARCT REQUIRED THAT THEY WORK ON THANKSIVING.

    Where is the Thank You?

    There is none.

    And a note to you, Mr. Conservative:

    If you have problems with the way the Township Committee or the school board run this town, you have every right to, and you SHOULD, point that out. In fact, so many of the Orthodox Jews in this town have the same issues that you have.

    But to point out the race or the ethnicity or the religion of these people is WRONG and BIGOTED. Look at them as people. Look at them as people who make mistakes. But when you say that “the Jews are causing problems”, you are including me, a Jew, in that group. And I am not on the Committee, I have no power, and I have the same issues as you do with the Township Committee’s decisions.

    So when you have issues with them, you should write your issues with the people on the Committee. But leave out their religion, because all it does is paint the rest of us in a negative light, which is not fair to the rest of us.

    Do you understand?

  37. Lakewood’s population has doubled in the last 10 years and will triple in the next 10. If you don’t believe me research 2000 census and 2020 census projections. The township needs to expand services now and plan for the future. I really don’t think that their will be any layoffs at the DPW (moderated). The short fall is a result of not raising taxes over the past 2 years. I agree taxes are high but not nearly as high as in neighboring towns. You can research taxes rates on APP date universe. At some point taxes need to be rises and that;s why the governor implemented the 2% tax limits. 2% of $5,000.00 is $100.00. I’m sure if a finance audit is conducted money will be found and so would some wasted spending. Also what happened to the massive surplus of money the township had. I believe it was several million dollars.

  38. It is sad that everyone jumps when they read an article. Stop and think for a minute:
    The Town of Lakewood is facing a large deficit. So our Government sits down to discuss the tens or hundreds of ways of cutting costs.
    One of the many options that is being explored, a freeze on raises/layoffs (according to the article no notices were sent out as of yet), makes its way to the press and so many are up in arms.
    When the Government announces a plan or a tentative plan, that is the time to knock it or support the Government. When the press writes about the posibility of doing something, you can knock or support the idea, but where do you come off knocking the Committee, the Town, the large segment of the community that lives in Lakewood, etc.?
    Nobody said that this is something being strongly considered-according to the article, it is only an idea that was floated!

  39. “Let people call a private company for bulk or drive it to the township center.”
    we will save million of dollars a year , most of it its construction debris

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