Government

Press Releases

Freeholders Bruce Bergen Announced Initiatives as Second Board Chair Term Begins

ab4da455b8f5713384b0_unnamed__3_.jpg
Freeholder Chair Bruce Bergen receives the Oath of Office from the 22nd Legislative District Assemblyman Jerry Green with his family standing by. Credits: Fran Sullivan
e80825b3bda1c1ede7ee_Re-org_1.jpg
Vice Chair Sergio Granados is sworn in by State Senator Nicholas Scutari, accompanied by family members. Credits: Fran Sullivan
e91feb2b8cae2f894f11_unnamed.jpg
Freeholder Linda Carter is sworn in by 22nd Legislative District Assemblyman Jerry Green as her brother Herman Carter holds the Bible. Credits: Fran Sullivan
23f22eeadfbd4e7032bc_unnamed__7_.jpg
State Senator Nicholas Scutari adminsters the oath of office to Bette Jane Kowalski as her family looks on. Credits: Fran Sullivan
ae28e3b3135d8fc05200_unnamed__5_.jpg
Mayor Christian Bollwage swears in Sergio Granados, surrounded by family. Credits: Fran Sullivan
751d0d51fbb13bd09e4d_unnamed__6_.jpg
City Councilman Frank Cuesta and Sergio Granados Credits: Fran Sullivan
6347ca39df3249744c52_unnamed__1_.jpg
Former U. S. Ambassador Phil Murphy Credits: Fran Sullivan
f227615088934702da4d_unnamed__9_.jpg
State Senator Raymond Lesniak Credits: Fran Sullivan
4b9dab5c73a2ea2ef4e8_unnamed__4_.jpg
ab4da455b8f5713384b0_unnamed__3_.jpg

ELIZABETH, NJ – Freeholders Bruce Bergen and Sergio Granados were re-elected to a second term as chair and vice chair respectively of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders at the 2017 re-organization meeting, Jan. 8, held in the Union County Courthouse.

Freeholder Linda Carter was voted chair pro temp. State Senator Raymond Lesniak and Former U.S. Ambassador Phil Murphy, both running for governor, also spoke to the audience that filled Judge Karen Cassidy’s courtroom.

In addition, newly re-elected Freeholders Carter, Granados, and Bette Jane Kowalski were sworn in office.

Sign Up for E-News

In his Annual Address, Bergen announced a series of initiatives entitled Connecting our Community that focuses on jobs, education, and training for young people; social services; arts and history; public safety; parks and recreation; and the environment.

“Here in Union County, we are prepared to stand for our core governing values and protect the most vulnerable among us, and to continue to stand for those who could be impacted in an unfair manner,” said Bergen. “Union County’s residents, many of them immigrants, have the right to be treated with the dignity and respect that all citizens of the planet deserve, regardless of ethnicity, gender, race, or sexual orientation.”

The first initiative is UC LEAP, Learning, Employment, and Arts Programs. The county is working with the Simon Youth Foundation to establish an Alternative High School for at-risk youth that will open at The Mills at Jersey Gardens. The Simon Property Group, which owns the mall, has created 29 such schools located in their shopping malls, in 12 states. This will be their first in the tristate area.

The county is also co-sponsoring with Overlook Hospital to create Project Search that will provide employment and training for youth with disabilities. Overlook is only one of four employers chosen state-wide for this program.    

Union County Vocational Technical Schools will add the Academy for Law and Justice to its campus. Students will prepare for public service in law, government, and criminal justice.

The American Theater Group will hold their second Annual Group Drama Festival at the Hamilton Stage in April where high school students will present a scene from a play or musical. The students will receive a professional critique from theatre professionals.

The Freeholder Board will also continue to sponsor performances by local theater groups at UC PAC in Rahway as part of the Union County Advancing Community Theatre program.

The county is continuing to Go Green with increased funding for community gardens. In addition, the Department of Public Works will renew the leaf composting operations at the Houdaille Quarry. The compost collected will be sold to private companies, earning as much as $500,000 in annual revenues.

Veterans will also be remembered when the county partners with local veteran groups such as Operation Rebound and the New Jersey Vets Commission. The county will establish the Veterans Success Center to assist vets with job placement and training, career advisement, referrals to health resources.

Residents will soon see new signage celebrating the county’s designation as a National Parks Service, Crossroads of the Revolution National Heritage Area.

Popular events will be easier to assess with a new online system that will keep residents up-to-date on programs and park events.

In the area of social services, Bergen spoke of the heroin epidemic now racing through the state. “This past year, the County Police, Prosecutor’s Office, and Sheriff’s Office, all engaged in training, response, or in supplying Narcan to local police departments to combat the plague.”

The county will fund beds for a minimum of 25 additional residents who need treatment that will include up to seven days DeTox and up to 28 days if inpatient rehabilitation.

This year, the Freeholder Board will create and fund the Union County Nonprofit Consortium Leadership Development program. It will be a series of management leadership training sessions. The Board will also establish an Office on Volunteer Services.

Two programs are aimed at assisting seniors. Funding for Senior Focus will be used for equipment, repairs, or rehabilitation of senior centers. “Almost all of our municipalities applied for the $25,000 grants, and we look forward to announcing the awards early this year,” said Bergen.

As part of the public safety concerns, the county will be purchasing a Fire Fighting Water Tanker that will bring 3,000 to 4,000 gallons of water to a fire scene. The Freeholder Board will expand the Mutual Aide Radio project that will assist 17 agencies who use the Union County Dispatch service with compatible radios.

The Bureau of GIS is working with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office to scan floor plans of important public facilities into the County GIS to speed emergency response. “We have already added the plans for the county’s 230 public and private schools and will continue to work to capture as many important buildings as possible,” said Bergen. “I know our municipalities are extremely excited about this service.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Kenilworth

Cranford High Student Competes at U.S. Junior Amateur Sectional Qualifier

June 20, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - Cranford soon-to-be senior Johnny Bush took his shot to qualify for a USGA championship on Wednesday.

Bush shot a 6-over-par 76 (38-38) to finish in a five-way tie for 21st place in a U.S. Junior Amateur Sectional Qualifier at the par 70, 6,558-yard Shackamaxon Country Club in nearby Scotch Plains.

65 golfers, including 54 from the Garden State, took ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 8, 2018

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by prominent ...

Susan G. Komen North Jersey Increases Program Funding by 15% for 2018-2019 and Awards 13 Grants to 11 Local Community Non-Profit Organizations

June 21, 2018

 

Susan G. Komen North Jersey announced that it will award a total of 13 grants to 11 local community non-profit organizations in its nine-county service area for 2018-2019, with an increase in total program funding at 15% year over year. Since its founding in 1997, Komen North Jersey has awarded nearly $19 million to local community programs in nine North Jersey counties and has directed ...

Small Business Ownership vs. Entrepreneurship

Written by: Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column, Published on 6/18/2018

Tags: Business, Community, Crowdfunding, Economy, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Small Business

Source: So, which are you – a Small Business Owner or an Entrepreneur? We compare the similarities and differences between the two, so you can ...