HACKENSACK, NJ — The Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders welcomed the return of incumbents Tom Sullivan, Mary Amoroso, and Germaine Ortiz at its annual reorganization meeting on January 7.
Amoroso, Joan Voss and Steven Tanelli took oaths of leadership as chairwoman, vice chairwoman and chair pro tempore, respectively.
Dignitaries in attendance of the meeting held on the fifth-floor of One Bergen County Plaza included First Lady Tammy Murphy; New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way; Bergen County Executive James Tedesco; Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton; Sports and Exposition Commissioner Lou Stellato; Paul Juliano Bergen County Democratic Chairman; representatives from the offices of Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Josh Gottheimer; in addition to various area assembly and council members and past freeholders.
“We have been attending many swearing-ins and reorganizations, and most of those reorganizations have been for change, and for new leadership and new direction,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle (D-37). “But not here in Bergen County. Bergen County has overwhelmingly voted in the incumbents once again into office, not because of change, but because of the progress they’ve made.”
Per the official election results, Amoroso led with the highest vote tally at 90,213 votes; Sullivan followed with 90,140 and Ortiz received 87,275 votes.
First Lady Murphy was the first to congratulate the re-elected freeholders on behalf of her husband, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
“It’s always an honor to be here in Bergen County to witness these dedicated public servants recommit themselves to this wonderful county,” said Murphy. “As community leaders, Bergen County’s roster is really unparalleled. Today’s swearing in, including Mary Amoroso, a distinguished journalist, mother, grandmother, wife. Tom Sullivan, a member of the Local 164 and IBEW Leadership and Germaine Ortiz, a financial professional close to my heart… Joan Voss, a career educator and former assemblywoman. Steve Tanelli, a former councilman, as well as a former little league and baseball coach. Tracy Zur, a lawyer who served as a prosecutor, judge, and public defender. David Ganz, a prolific writer and longtime public servant, all led by a tremendously talented County Executive, Jim Tedesco.”
She continued, “You have all been tremendous role models and leaders for this community as well as for your families. And today is both a continuation and a celebration of that service-oriented spirit… Serving in county government requires being available and accountable to everyone in the community, and we are deeply grateful to all who take up the mantle of public office.”
Tedesco echoed those sentiments.
“This is a freeholder team who cares about the most vulnerable, who cares about educating our young, that cares about helping veterans about eliminating veteran homelessness,” said Tedesco. “One of only two counties in the entire country to be able to say that there are no homeless veterans in over a million people county. I am the leader but I have great people who work hand in hand with me every day. They're the ones who make the difference. They make it on behalf of all of you.”
Ortiz reflected on the board’s achievements in the last year, which have included increasing infrastructure spending by paving miles of roads throughout this past summer and fall; continuing to restore funding at Bergen Community College; expanding culture events; increasing funding in health to focus on suicide prevention among youth; continuing its partnership with the Bergen New Bridge Medical Center to bring more services to county residents; continuing to expand shared-services throughout municipalities; and approving a $300,000 grant to support the US census 2020.
“I’m extremely proud to be able to work with the freeholders every day,” said Tedesco. “The freeholders are the legislative body of this county. And when you can work the executive and the legislative branch and then you tie in law enforcement and all of the other branches of government that we have here in the judiciary, this is what makes Bergen County the best county in the state of New Jersey.”