A disaster recovery ombudsman aimed at helping Toms River residents navigate the rebuilding process following Superstorm Sandy will start work on Monday.
The position was created through an ordinance approved by the Township Council in February. The appointee will serve as the public's liaison to state, federal and local government agencies as rebuilding continues.
Initially, the ombudsman will be stationed in town hall, but Council Vice President Maria Maruca said that he likely will work out of the township's barrier island satellite office at a later date.
"We might have opportunity for him to work out of the space near the A&P in Ortley Beach, because I think the need is going to be greater on the barrier island than the mainland right now," she said during a council meeting this week.
The ombudsman, Trevor Newman, has nearly 40 years of experience in the insurance industry and expertise with the National Flood Insurance Program, according to the township.
"In 2005 during the Katrina/Rita hurricane cycle he was responsible for all flood losses outside of the Gulf region," said Toms River Public Information Officer Debbi Winogracki.
Newman is expected to work four weekdays, mostly after normal business hours and on Saturdays to make it easier for residents to have their questions addressed.
"The schedule right now will be flexible to see the needs of the community," Maruca said.
As a part-time position, the ombudsman will work no more than 19-and-a-half hours each week.
"This one person is not going to answer every question but what they will do is get answers to questions they can't answer themselves. So they'll help to coordinate and wade through the documentation needed to help rebuild your home," Council President George Wittmann said when he and other council members voted to create the position in February.
Business Administrator Paul Shives has said that compensation for the position likely will end up in the $30-40,000 range.
"A lot of the time we see the ombudsman coming to you," Shives said in January when the position was initially discussed.
The position will be terminated once administrators feel it is no longer necessary, according to the ordinance.
In another effort to help Sandy-stricken residents, the township hired a part-time temporary records assistant in December to help the clerk's office field requests for documents.