NEWARK, NJ - In an early afternoon ceremony on Jan. 2, 2019 at the Donald M. Payne School of Technology, Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, County Sheriff Armando Fontoura and County Surrogate Alturrick Kenney were sworn in to begin their terms.
Joining the three on stage were several notable public officials, including Senator Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, Newark Deputy Mayor Rahaman Muhammad and Essex County Democratic Chair LeRoy Jones.
Before the three county officials were sworn in, the attending public officials spoke to their qualifications, including keeping the county safe and raising its bond rating. DiVincenzo, in particular was repeatedly praised for his dedication to Essex County by the speakers.
After the speeches and a short musical performance by the school choir, DiVincenzo, Fontoura and Kenney were sworn in. Kenney was administered the oath of office by Muhammad and spoke about growing up in Newark and what it meant to be on the stage with his wife and children.
Kenney was elected as Surrogate in last year's race, replacing Theodore Stephens II who is now the county prosecutor. As the Essex County Surrogate, he will have jurisdiction over the probate of wills, the administration of estates, and other related matters.
After the ceremony, he said that joining the county organization will be a good way for him to better the office, including connecting residents in urban areas with the services they need.
"I think that the county and the freeholders and the administration demonstrated that working together, you get things done," Kenney said. "And to be a part of that team, to be a part of folks who are actually about serving the public is something that i want to continue to be a part of."
Sheriff Fontoura was re-elected to the position he has held in the county since being appointed in 1990. For his oath of office, he selected Essex County Assignment Judge Sallyanne Floria to preside. After being sworn in Fontoura talked about his time in the Newark Police Department and how it led to his career as county sheriff.
Speaking with TAPinto after the ceremony, Fontoura said that while his time in the role of sheriff has accumulated, his passion for the job has not diminished.
"I love this job," Fontoura said. "If I could afford it, I would do this for free. I think I have a great opportunity to do exactly what I love to do. I love working difficult, working hard to keep people safe, as safe as they possibly can. Working with all of our partners, it's just a labor of love."
DiVincenzo was sworn in last, but his ceremony held plenty of pomp and circumstance. Senator Booker administered the oath of office while Senator Menendez looked on. After being sworn in, DiVincenzo said in his speech how happy he was to be able to continue his mission of moving Essex County forward.
Watching students disperse in the hallway after the ceremony, DiVIncenzo said that along with making sure infrastructure projects in the county are well-maintained, balancing the books for taxpayers is a key priority in his next term.
"First of all, we're going to keep our financial house in order," he said. "We're going to keep taxes down to a minimum. We're at a AAA bond rating which we're so so excited about. And we're going to make sure our fiscal house is in order."