FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:     
January 7, 2011

Robert D. Clifton named director; John P. Curley is deputy director
Tom Arnone sworn in as freeholder

Shaun Golden sworn in as Sheriff

 
FREEHOLD – Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone, Monmouth County’s newest freeholder, pledged to work to bring businesses to Monmouth County, look for efficiencies in government and improve services to county residents.
Arnone, of Neptune City, cited the county’s economic development campaign to spur business relocation in Monmouth County, specifically with an eye toward the planned September 2011 closure of Fort Monmouth. Arnone also will lead the county’s shared services initiatives, which he said is the best way to help make government less expensive for taxpayers.

“Being good stewards of taxpayer money is not enough,” Arnone said yesterday at the county’s annual Organization Day meeting held at Biotechnology High School. “The county must do what it can to stimulate the local economy, and we are well-positioned to do just that.

Freeholder Robert D. Clifton and Arnone were elected in November 2010 and were sworn in yesterday to three-year terms on the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Superior Court Assignment Judge Lawrence M. Lawson issued the oath of office to each freeholder after County Clerk M. Claire French publicly certified the election.

Also sworn in was Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden, who was elected with Clifton and Arnone. Golden was sworn in by Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. Golden was appointed to the Sheriff’s position when Sheriff Kim Guadagno became Lt. Governor in January 2010.

Following the oaths of office, the 2011 Board of Chosen Freeholders selected Freeholder Robert D. Clifton to serve as director and Freeholder John P. Curley to serve as deputy director for the year. Clifton served as deputy director in 2008 and 2010.

In addition to Clifton and Curley, Arnone joins Freeholder Lillian G. Burry and Freeholder Amy A. Mallet on the five-member freeholder board. Arnone replaces John D’Amico, who served on the board since 2008.  

 “It is my honor to serve as the director of the Board of Chosen Freeholders,” Clifton said. “There will be many challenges in 2011, but I am confident that we will work together, meet those challenges head on and do what’s best for Monmouth County. We are focused on providing the quality of life residents expect and deserve while being mindful of the cost associated with the services.”

Monmouth County will continue to work with state, county and local governments to share resources and reduce costs while enhancing levels of service or possibly outsourcing some, Arnone said. He also pledged to look for efficiencies among departments.

Clifton highlighted the work done in 2010 to advance shared services in Monmouth County and, as the freeholder liaison to the Finance Department, he said he was proud that despite the cuts made to the budget last year Monmouth County retained its AAA bond rating.

“The AAA rating is a testament to Monmouth County’s sound fiscal management, stable growth and low debt burden,” Clifton said.

Curley focused his remarks on the county budget and urged the Board to make county government smaller.

“Difficult financial times are here and they are not leaving for a while,” Curley said. “I urge my fellow freeholders to join with me and shrink county government. Let’s stimulate and rely on the private sector to provide new jobs and revenue.”
 
Burry also talked about the county budget and cited the work of the Budget Advisory Group, which she appointed. The group, comprised of county employees and local residents, will make proposals for the 2011 budget process, which is about to begin. She also echoed the need to stimulate the local economy, and said Fort Monmouth’s closing should now be looked at as an opportunity.

“We must see it as an exciting opportunity to build a new economic engine for Monmouth County that will create good jobs and add new housing and ratable value to our communities,” Burry said. “It’s another opportunity to serve the needs of our veterans and military retirees by providing essential services on site.”

She also highlighted the work of another panel she appointed that studied jail privatization.

“Public safety is a high priority of government, but it comes with a high cost as well,” Burry said. “I wanted to know if privatization of the jail could save us money without compromising public safety. In December the group recommended that this was not an option we should pursue.”  

Freeholder Amy A. Mallet, liaison to the county’s Human Services Department, praised county staff for working to do more with less and finding ways to be more efficient. 

“A perfect example of this was achieved when we expanded our veteran’s interment effort to create a County Veterans Services Office (CVSO) with existing staff and resources,” Mallet said. “With the state’s third-largest veteran’s population, Monmouth County veterans needed this office. Since its first day just two months ago, the CVSO has had nearly 200 contacts for services and information.”

During the business portion of the meeting, the Freeholders set meeting dates, adopted a temporary budget and appointed members to various county boards and commissions. 

Among the citizen member appointments were:

  • Advisory Council to the Monmouth County Office on Aging – Ronald Griffiths of Freehold, Sharon Stark of Matawan and Bessie Wade of Neptune
  • Agriculture Development Board – Thomas Geran of Morganville, Joseph McCarthy of Oceanport and James Stuart of Colts Neck as regular members. Patch Butch of Millstone and Ross Clayton of Freehold as alternate members
  • Environmental Protection Council – Andrew Lucas of Manalapan and Denise L. Coyle of Neptune
  • Historical Commission – Peter Van Nortwick of Middletown, Brooks Von Arx of Rumson, Ellen Terry of Freehold and Mary Lou Strong of Middletown
  • Library Commission – James S. Gray of Manalapan
  • Mosquito Extermination Commission – Michael Gianforte of Brielle and Andrew Trocchia of Fair Haven
  • Planning Board – Mollie Giamanco of Holmdel and James Stuart of Colts Neck as regular members and Nancy Grbelja of Millstone and James Giannell of Red Bank as alternate members.
  • Board of Recreation Commissioners – Michael Harmon of Atlantic Highlands and Violeta Peters of Long Branch
  • Shade Tree Commission – Thomas Ritchie of Freehold

Clifton presented Burry with a bouquet of flowers in appreciation for her time and service as director of the Board in 2010. All the freeholders included good wishes for D’Amico as part of their remarks. D’Amico bid farewell to his board colleagues and county employees earlier in the day at county’s annual Sine die meeting.

For additional information about Monmouth County and the Board of Chosen Freeholders, visit the county’s Website at www.visitmonmouth.com.

#     #     #