Many have been wondering why the Lakewood Township Committee continues to hold virtual-only meetings despite practically every other municipality across the state having gone back to in person meetings.
Local officials publicly state that community involvement in the meetings has actually gone up since they resorted to virtual meetings during the Covid pandemic, but that doesn’t explain why they don’t at least hold hybrid meetings in which residents could join in person or over Zoom.
Lakewood Alerts dug into this issue, speaking to multiple Township officials and requesting information about the phenomenon. What we have found is that the true reason for the virtual-only sessions is one that has yet to be publicly acknowledged.
That reason is that one committeeman – 83-year-old Mike D’Elia – is sick and unable to make it to in-person meetings. To assist him and deflect questions about his health, the Township committee has continued to hold virtual meetings, despite it being a net negative for Lakewood residents.
“Unfortunately, Mike is just not well enough to attend the meetings if they were held in person,” a township official who requested anonymity said. “We hope and pray he gets back to full strength soon.”
A Republican first elected in 2015, D’Elia has long been involved in Lakewood politics and community activism. He currently has liaison appointments to Lakewood’s Environmental Committee, Finance Department, Fire Department, Industrial Commission, Legal Department, Special Community Events, Tax Collector’s Office, and the Zoning Board.
We wish him a speedy recovery from his ailments and a complete and healthy return to public life and service.