Government

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

Rahway

Plainfield's Assemblyman Jerry Green Is Dead at Age 79

April 19, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22) has died at age 79, according to an email to TAPinto Plainfield from Councilwoman-at-Large Rebecca Williams. (Williams also shared the information on her Facebook page.)

On Jan. 24, Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22) resigned as Chairman of the Union County Democratic Committee "to focus his energy on recovering from an ...

Food Truck Festival and Car Show at Saint Joseph High School on April 28

April 9, 2018

METUCHEN, NJ -- Saint Joseph High School's Father's Club will host a Car Show and Food Truck Festival (featuring live DJ and Beer Garden) on Saturday, April 28, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Admission is $5.00.

 

Food Trucks will include:

Boardwalk Freddy
Bro-Rito
Cousins Maine Lobster
Empanada Monster
Falafull Gourmet
Jerkin' Chicken
Oink and ...

An Evening of Shining Stars Set for Friday May 4th

April 21, 2018

One of the area’s most anticipated events — “An Evening of Shining Stars” — featuring members of the special needs community from Cranford and around Union County, will take place on Friday May 4th, 2018 at 7:00 pm.

Founded by Cranford resident Sally Curci, the 7th annual showcase will feature “Music From the Decades” — with the cast set to ...

How to Report Potholes in Union County

With the winter weather finally winding down, potholes are a frequent issue for drivers. The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders would like you to know there are resources you can use to report them to the proper agency.

"We certainly encourage drivers and commuters to report any pothole they encounter on roads throughout Union County to the responsible authority," said ...

Politics IS Government in Union County

April 21, 2018

After Bruce Patrson of Garwood was stopped from speaking at the Union County freeholder meeting of March 22 regarding the politics behind refusing to give the party line to a sitting freeholder I thought this brazen suppression of free speech could not go unanswered. A the the April 19 meeting I answered with these comments.

After ten years of following government in Union County I conclude ...