With family, friends, colleagues, staff, and elected officials from the state and local levels in attendance, the Ocean County Board of Commissioners held its annual Organization Meeting for 2023 on Jan. 4 in the Ocean County Administration Building.
With his children Jimmy and Dawn Marie by his side, Ocean County Commissioner John P. Kelly was sworn to his 10th three year term on the Board.
Kelly, who served as the Board’s Director in 2022 and has been a member of the Board since 1993, said he looked forward to working with the Commissioners and the Ocean County staff to provide the best programs and services for Ocean County residents.
“It’s a privilege to have been re-elected to this seat on the Board of Commissioners,” Kelly said. “I look forward to a New Year providing services for our residents and making sure Ocean County remains affordable.”
Ocean County Commissioner Virginia E. Haines was sworn to her third three-year term on the Board by former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and accompanied by her nephew Grant Chedester and his wife Darlene.
“To my colleagues on the Board – Jack, Joe, Bobbi Jo and Gary – I look forward to working with all of you in the New Year. Together we will continue to provide good government for our residents,” Haines said after being administered the oath of office. “Every New Year provides us with an opportunity to look back and reflect and to look ahead – to grow and to improve on what we already have. It also gives us the chance to be stronger and better than the year before.”
Commissioner Joseph H. Vicari, the longest serving Commissioner in the state with more than four decades on the Board was named Director of the Board for 2023 and Commissioner Gary Quinn was named Deputy Director.
Emphasizing the importance of producing results for the residents of Ocean County, Vicari said the Board working together as a team will bring about positive outcomes when providing services and programs for residents while continuing the fiscally conservative policies of the Board.
“Whether it’s our Road Department, our Office of Senior Services, our Veterans Services Bureau, our Department of Parks and Recreation, Transportation, Public Safety, we deliver results,” Vicari said. “We provide assistance to our residents that we can measure.
“We set our goals high,” he said. “We want to hear from our constituents, we want to know what they like and don’t like.”
Vicari noted that while the 2023 budget preparation is just under way, he anticipates the county’s property tax rate to decrease for the seventh consecutive year.
“We will continue to meet the needs of our residents in the New Year,” he said.
In closing his remarks, Vicari quoted one of his favorite presidents’ Dwight D. Eisenhower, stating “ if a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.”
Deputy Director Quinn echoed the sentiments of his colleagues on the Board as did Commissioner Barbara Jo Crea.
“I want to extend my appreciation to the Ocean County staff,” Quinn said. “From our Administrator to the rank and file, the men and women that work for Ocean County are the ones who implement our programs and make certain we can advance the mission of our County government and provide the best possible service.”
Crea also extended her thanks to the staff of the county, specifically noting the departments she serves as board liaison.
“We cannot provide the important services we do without the dedication and hard work of our department directors and the staff,” she said. “With our support and their efforts, the County will continue to be a great place to live, work and retire.”