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Township Departments 'Inundated' With Sandy Requests

Part-time temporary records assistant approved by Township Council to help ease burden

Toms River offices have been "inundated" with requests to help residents since Hurricane Sandy struck, and while officials are aware that many are eager to return to their homes, the process must be completed safely.

Departments ranging from the clerk's office, building, engineering and legal have been taxed as residents seek help and officials navigate the recovery process, officials said at the Township Council's meeting Tuesday night.

"We have been — the word is inundated, to be honest — with requests, particularly in the building department. People are rebuilding from the hurricane looking for their old records. Some records are several years old, some are decades old," said Township Clerk Mark Mutter.

"Every department in this township is stressed right now," said Council President Mo Hill. "Every department head is working at 120 percent."

As a way to help ease the burden, the council approved the hiring of a part-time temporary records assistant at $14 per hour with no benefits, Mutter said. The new hire worked at the township as an unpaid intern over the summer.

"The Clerk's Office has been inundated with the access permit program and everything else so we agreed to hire this young lady on a part time basis," Hill said. "She's familiar with the office. She did this last year on an unpaid basis."

Mutter said that the township is trying to help residents as best it can to find the documents they need to get the recovery and rebuilding process going.

"She's there to help us through this crisis," Mutter said. 

Hill said that the township is in "full-out recovery mode."

"Which means all hands on deck and then some."

While the council president understands that frustrated residents — some of whom spoke out at the meeting — want access to their homes, officials want to ensure that the recovery and rebuilding process is handled safely. 

"We're working expeditiously, and we're doing everything very safe. No one in Toms River has been killed, and to my knowledge there have been no fires because we turned the electricity on too soon," Hill said. 

That recovery process includes 42,000 tons of debris removed from damaged Toms River properties, according to Public Works Director Lou Amoruso. Since the council's last meeting at the end of November, $1.5 million in debris removal and trucking costs were paid. At that November meeting, $2.5 million in removal costs were paid, Hill said. 

Texas Drive resident George Shuck spoke during the meeting's public comment portion and complimented the police department's efforts following the storm, but said that more officers are needed and funding should be put toward that department.

Hill said that the mayor and business administrator have met with state agencies and are seeking aid from New Jersey to help fund the restaffing of the department. 

"We're looking to get up to a full level and full staffing at the police department," he said.

Hugh Stink December 14, 2012 at 12:26 AM
I agree! I went to the building dept over the summer, and was excited to see no line, but my excitement was quickly turned to fustration when I was forced to sit and wait 15 mins while they discussed American Idol. It is amazing how arrogant these people are and nobody does anything about it..
doreen December 14, 2012 at 01:19 PM
They are overwhelmed because they actually have to work. Even the telephone operator at 732-341-1000, he was rude. Hey pal you applied for that job. Why did take this job if he has zero people skills?? Oh that s right he wasnt able to get a job anywhere else so his daddy got him in!!!
VoiceofReason December 14, 2012 at 01:43 PM
"She's there to help us through this crisis," Mutter said. Well thank god for that one intern. Jeez - how about making sure the RIGHT people are there doing thier jobs, I agree with mjmjr about getting rid of the useless people who can't be bothered to do their job. There are hundreds of people in this town that would 1)kill for a job and 2)happily get the job done.
Karen Steedle December 14, 2012 at 05:01 PM
One hire, for all this work? Really, did the township even think of checking with the unemployment office, for the vast amount of people who have been unemployed for years? I understand she has experience now, but how hard can it be to train a few more folks to help out. There are many of us who would welcome a temporary position. Is a few more hires really going to break the budget, I think not. It's not like we would be getting benefits, it's temporary work.
Patches February 14, 2013 at 03:07 AM
Well, who is "She" as referred.

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