The Cape May County Board of County Commissioners met on Wednesday evening to officially reorganize their government.
Commissioners Will Morey and Jeffrey L. Pierson both were sworn in, along with Sheriff Robert A. Nolan and County Clerk Rita A. Rothberg.
Senator Michael L. Testa, Jr. swore in Morey, Nolan, and Rothberg, while Surrogate Dean Marcolongo swore in Pierson.
The meeting was held virtually for the public due to current restrictions of COVID-19.
“It is an honor to be sworn in as Commissioner today,” Commissioner Jeff Pierson said in a county news release. “The lack of the public today is a reminder of the battle we have been fighting during 2020. As the liaison to our amazing Health Department, I know we have a lot of work to do this year including the already beginning roll out of vaccinations.”
The Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders was incorporated by an act of the New Jersey Legislature in 1798.
The term “Freeholder” was unique to New Jersey and referred to those who owned land free of debt. In August 2020, Governor Philip D. Murphy signed into law the change in name from “Board of Chosen Freeholders” to “Board of County Commissioners” for all 21 counties.
Effective Jan. 1, 2021, the name officially became the Cape May County Board of Commissioners and each member is referred to as a County Commissioner.
“We thank County residents for their active support of the “Safely Together” initiative put in place to assist us in living and working safely during the time of Covid”, said Commissioner Will Morey, liaison to Economic Development and Co-Chair of the of the Cape May County Business Recovery Task Force. “We will continue in earnest to explore and initiate ways to help our business owners and residents recover from the coronavirus in the weeks and months ahead.”
During the meeting, the Commissioners voted Gerald M. Thornton Director of the Board and Leonard C. Desiderio Vice-Director of the Board.
The Board is organized every January when departments are designated, and a director and vice-director are selected. Commissioners elect from among themselves a Commissioner Director, who conducts their meetings and serves as spokesperson for the Board.
The Commissioner Vice-Director fills this role in the director’s absence. The Commissioner Director and County Administrator serve as ex-officio members of each committee. Kevin Lare has been appointed Acting County Administrator and Acting Clerk of the Board.
“It has been a difficult past year, but I personally appreciate the support of our County residents, our business community, and our employees,” said Thornton. “We know it has been a tough year on everyone, but we continue to work to support our community and look forward to mass distribution of the vaccine in the months ahead.”