By Muriel J. SmithFREEHOLD – Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone was named director of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders at its reorganization meeting Jan. 6 at the Biotechnology High School auditorium. He succeeds Freeholder Gary Rich.Serena DiMaso continues as deputy director of the Board for another year. The Honorable Patricia D. Cleary, J.S.C. swore in both officials to their one-year terms.There were few changes in any of the appointments made by the all-Republican board for the coming year. Incumbent John Curley was re-elected to another three-year term, keeping the board unchanged, by defeating Freehold Councilman Kevin Kane last November. Monmouth County Surrogate and former Middletown Mayor Rosemarie Peters swore in Curley to his third term.Incumbent county clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon was also sworn in to her first full five-year term, with the Honorable Joseph W. Oxley administering the oath of office. Hanlon stressed the importance of the office in maintaining the historical records of the county and the importance of people knowing about and being able to research their past. “We have to know where we have been to know where we are going,” she told the packed auditorium of well wishers.Arnone said he is looking forward to a “great year” for Monmouth County, in spite of a number of challenges that must be faced. He said the board will be working closely with the mayors and councils of the 53 municipalities in the county and is hopeful the county board can give back to the municipalities the tax increase it had to impose last year.Each of the freeholders itemized a number of accomplishments within their departments during the past year, highlighting the closure last week on the sale of the county’s two nursing homes to private investors, a move, the freeholders said, which will save taxpayers millions of dollars and provide a higher standard of care for the residents. Rich cited the county’s outstanding financial record, maintaining a triple A bond rating for 18 years.Lillian Burry, noting it was her 11th year as a freeholder, stressed the importance of historic preservation, agreeing with Hanlon that the past is the future, and keeping history alive has always been an active and central part of her efforts for the county as well as each of the communities within the county. As a member of the Fort Hancock and Fort Monmouth planning committees for future development of these historic sites, Burry noted that careful preservation and historic significance can also be the economic engine for new jobs and careful development while preserving historic structures at both former military installations.Arnone announced each of the freeholders’ areas of responsibility for the coming year, with DiMaso heading commerce and education, Burry, public service and regulation, Curley, human services, Rich, finance and administration, and himself public works and engineering.The Board meets at the Hall of Records on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, with a workshop meeting at 2 p.m. and the regular business meeting at 7.
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