HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ – Announcing that the County Board will be guided by the principle of putting Hunterdon County First in 2021, Susan J. Soloway was unanimously elected Director of the newly re-titled Hunterdon County Board of County Commissioners, at the first ever live streamed County re-organization meeting, held in the Historic Courthouse, in Flemington, on January 5.
Soloway, the former Mayor of Franklin Township entering her third year as a County Board Member, was joined in leadership of the Board by John E. Lanza, who was unanimously selected to serve as Deputy Director.
Shaun C. Van Doren, who served in 2020 as Board Director and was re-elected by the voters in November, was sworn in to a second term on the Board by County Clerk Mary Melfi.
Soloway, in her first comments as Director, announced, “I propose that in 2021 we put Hunterdon County first. First for the health of our residents, for our municipalities that are responsible for the quality of life in our communities, for our local economy and small businesses, for our first responders, for our educators and students, and for our taxpayers.”
Soloway, who was sworn in by New Jersey Senator Mike Doherty, said, “Putting Hunterdon County First means putting the taxpayers first. When I joined this Board in 2019, I said I believe tax dollars are precious and must be used effectively, efficiently and sparingly. I have not, and will not, waiver from that philosophy. Oversight, fiscal controls, and ensuring efficiency in operations have been the hallmark of Hunterdon County government through the years. It will continue in 2021.”
Soloway said the County Board will focus on continuing to grow shared services with municipalities, economic development, and providing health and emergency services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Deputy Director John E. Lanza, who was sworn into office by New Jersey Superior Court Judge Robert A. Ballard, said, “Public law 2020, chapter 67, passed by the state legislature and signed into law by the Governor last year, changes the name of the County governing body from Board of Chosen Freeholders to Board of County Commissioners.
“I reiterate my previous statements that, whatever we on this elected County Board are called, we will always be working for the benefit of the taxpayers. Our job is to ensure that the county government effectively serves the people,” Lanza said.
“The re-organization meeting is being live streamed for the first time due to a conscious effort to keep the crowd here small, socially distant, and masked, in recognition of the COVID-19 pandemic. We wanted to make the meeting visually available to the public, to family, friends, neighbors and supporters, who may have attended in person if they could. But because of the logistics, livestreaming will not be a regular occurrence,” Lanza said.
Newly re-elected Commissioner Shaun C. Van Doren, who served as Board Director in 2020, said, “2020 was a challenging and yes difficult year. What we were able to accomplish here in the County is a testament to the experience of all the Board members and our willingness to work together. While we may be under a new name, Board of County Commissioners, we are still under the same steady management, and we will continue to serve in the best interest of the people of our county.”
Joining Soloway, Lanza and Van Doren on the County Board are Commissioners Matt Holt, a veteran of 14 years service on the Board, and Zach Rich, the former Mayor of West Amwell.
The County Commissioners were also joined at the re-organization meeting by Sheriff Fred Brown, Surrogate Susan Hoffman, Acting Prosecutor Mike Williams, and Assemblyman Erik Peterson.
The Hunterdon County Board of County Commissioners will meet in the Historic Courthouse on Main Street, in Flemington, on the first and third Tuesdays of each month, at 5:30 p.m. and the proceedings will be made available telephonically for those who do not wish to attend in person.