Some Brick officials are pushing for an in-house engineer that would replace annual contracts with an engineering firm.
For decades, Brick has utilized the services of Birdsall Engineering for its engineering services, but in the post-Sandy world, some believe hiring an in-house engineer dedicated only to Brick Township would lead to both better services as well as a better deal for taxpayers.
Councilman Joseph Sangiovanni suggested the idea at the Jan. 22 council meeting.
Under the present situation, Elissa Cummins, a Birdsall employee, acts as the primary engineer for the township. Several residents praised Cummins at the Jan. 22 meeting, saying she has been accessible to residents and has proven herself as one who is extremely knowledgable in disaster recovery since the storm hit.
If the township does, indeed, decide to move to an in-house engineer, Councilman Dan Toth suggested exploring a shared services agreement with another town - specifically, Toms River.
"We have an extremely large shared services agreement with them currently, and speaking with officials there, they are up to the challenge to join us with that," said Toth. "I would say that should be the first option."
Sangiovanni disagreed, however.
"Any engineering department ... that was affected by Sandy is going to have their hands full," said Sangiovanni. "I don't think that going outside what we have in-house is a good move. Your thought process under normal cirucmstances would probably work, but under these circumstances it may not."
Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis - who, under Brick's form of government, is tasked with appointing an engineer - said he would support the move.
Acropolis also said since an engineer would be focused primarily on storm recovery projects, FEMA could pay for a portion of that person's salary.