By Thomas A. Arnone
Here we go. It’s 2013 and we are out of the starting gate!
Jan. 3 marked the beginning of a brand new year in Monmouth County with the annual reorganization meeting. To help kick things off, we were privileged to have Mario Delano, a young man who is a senior at Ocean Township High School attend the meeting. He did a tremendous job singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The meeting could not have gotten off to a better start! Thank you to Mario Delano for taking part in the 2013 Reorganization Meeting and for sharing his gift.
The meeting was well attended by dignitaries from every level of government, including Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.
On a personal note, during the re-org meeting, it was announced that I have been given the honor to serve as director of The Board of Chosen Freeholders for the year 2013. I welcome the challenge and very much look forward to the upcoming year.
Having said that, I would like to thank fellow Freeholder John Curly for the fantastic job he did while serving as freeholder director for 2012 and congratulate him on being re-elected for his second term. I would also like to congratulate fellow Freeholder Serena Di Maso on her successful re-election and for also being selected to serve as the deputy director of this year’s board. Lastly, congratulations to M. Claire French, our fabulous county clerk, on her successful re-election. Together we can and will continue to make a difference for the betterment of Monmouth County and its residents.
In speaking of fine individuals, I would be remiss if I did not also thank our county administrator, Terri O’Connor, who so willingly and readily offers her assistance to the entire Board of Chosen Freeholders. Additionally, many thanks to the directors who I have so fortunately been assigned to serve as liaison to each of their departments.
Let me start by thanking the following individuals: John Tobia, who does an outstanding job of maintaining our public works and engineering department; John Ciufo and Amy Fitzgerald, who continue to do a stellar job with economic development and promoting our Grow Monmouth Initiative; Laura Kirkpatrick, who stepped in and certainly stepped up to the plate as the director of public information after the very sad and sudden loss of our former director, Bill Heine. Laura is doing an incredible job of getting the word out that the Jersey Shore is very much alive and prospering.
I also want to thank: Steven Callas, our shared services director, who has assisted in putting Monmouth County on the map for becoming one of the strongest leaders of its time, while serving as an example of the multitude of benefits associated with Counties Sharing Services with local municipalities; Eileen Higgins, who runs the Workforce Investment Board and who has the daunting task in these hard economic times of helping our many Monmouth County residents seeking employment to once again find work – her efforts are also to be commended; and Jeanne DeYoung, who works diligently on promoting and maintaining the success of Monmouth County Tourism.
Collectively, each of these individuals has played and continues to play an integral part in keeping the county intact pre-, during and post-“Sandy.” It is with confidence that I say with their continued efforts Monmouth County will always remain the place you want to be!
Although the success of a department is largely linked to the strength of a great director, without great department heads and great employees behind them, the road would be very difficult. Thank you to all our department heads and Monmouth County employees who spend countless hours dedicating themselves to the betterment of Monmouth County. These are the people who truly make this county tick. It is for all these reasons that I extend my most sincere thanks and gratitude for your continued commitment and dedication; and for all the hard work and positive energy each and every one of you brings to the table on a regular basis.
It is with great pride and conviction that I say together we have been able to accomplish great things thus far; and as the new freeholder director for 2013, I eagerly look forward to the continued success of Monmouth County as we unite in our efforts to maintain Monmouth County as being not only the place you want to be but as one of the best counties to be in this … our wonderful State of New Jersey.
Thomas A. Arnone is freeholder director of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders.