Somerset County News

NJ Governor-Elect Phil Murphy Visits Somerville for Jan. 5 Somerset County Freeholders Reorganization

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New Jersey Governor-elect Phil Murphy will attend the Jan. 5 Reorganization meeting of the Somerset County Freeholders in Somerville.
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Steve Peter, former Somerville Council president, left, and Mayor Brian Gallagher will be sworn to higher office at Friday's Somerset County Freeholders' Reorganization meeting. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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Longtime Somerset County Freeholder Peter Palmer will retire after 55 years in elective office. He served seven terms as freeholder. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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SOMERVILLE, NJ - New Jersey Governor-elect Phil Murphy will attend the Jan. 5 Somerset County Freeholders reorganization meeting for the ceremonial swearing-in of Somerset County Clerk Steve Peter.

The meeting begins at 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5 in the historic Somerset County Courthouse, 35 East Main St.

Peter, a borough resident and former president of the Somerville Borough Council, was officially sworn in as clerk on New Year’s Day by Superior Court Judge Robert E. Reed. 

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Murphy has no formal authority to conduct the swearing of officials to public office until he takes the oath of office as governor on Jan. 16 but his participation in the ceremonies provides a high-profile opportunity for state Democrats to showcase their successes in November’s state and local elections. Peter defeated longtime Republican County Clerk Brett Radi in the November election.

Somerville Mayor Brian Gallagher will be sworn in as a Somerset County Freeholder at the reorganization meeting, replacing Peter S. Palmer, a longtime public servant who had served 20 years on the board. Palmer was first elected to public office in 1968, serving on the Bernardsville Board of Education before serving on the Bernardsville Council; he also served as mayor of Bernardsville prior to his election as freeholder in 1997. He served seven three-year terms.

Gallagher will resign the mayoralty just prior to his swearing in.

Also being sworn to office for his second term will be Freeholder Brian Levine, first elected in 2014, and the former mayor of Franklin Township.

Gallagher and Levine join fellow Republicans Patrick Scaglione, Patricia Walsh and Mark Caliguire on the Board of Freeholders.

Scaglione is expected to be elected the new Freeholder Director by his colleagues.

Members of various county boards and commissions will be sworn in as well.

Free parking is available in the Bernie Field Parking Deck off East High Street adjacent to the county building.

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