The Cape May County Board of County Commissioners held their annual reorganization meeting on Thursday.
Commissioners E. Marie Hayes and Andrew Bulakowski, who won three-year terms in the November election, were sworn in.
Also, the Commissioner Board voted on Commissioner Leonard C. Desiderio, who is also the mayor of Sea Isle City, as the new director. Hayes was appointed vice director.
The meeting was held at Cape May County Technical High School.
Hayes, of Ocean City, was first sworn into office on Feb. 1, 2013, to fill an unexpired term.
She has since been re-elected four times, including 2013, 2016, 2019 and last November. She has represented Cape May County with the Southern New Jersey Commissioners Association and the New Jersey Association of Counties, serving as presidents of both organizations in 2021.
This is the first time she will be serving Cape May County government as vice director.
“I am honored to be serving the residents of Cape May County for another term in office,” Hayes said in a statement. “I have always prided myself in speaking up to make sure Cape May County has a seat at the table and we get the resources we need in our part of the state. It is a privilege to become vice director. In this role, I will continue to ensure our county is protected for years to come.”
Bulakowski is taking the seat that was held by former Commissioner Director Gerald M. Thornton, who retired at the end of last year.
Bulakowski has served in numerous volunteer capacities, including vice chairman of the Lower Township Planning Board, as a member of the Cape May County Planning Board and as the Cape May County representative with the New Jersey Planning Board Officials’ Executive Board.
He also is the senior representative to the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters.
“I am so proud to become a Cape May County Commissioner and to represent the taxpayers of our county,” said Bulakowski. “Before I took office, I could see the real-life positive impact the Commissioners were having in our community. Now joining the Commissioner Board, I have the opportunity to build on that legacy as a part of this team to make this a great place to live for many generations to come.”
Desiderio was chosen to become Commissioner Director, a position held by Thornton since 2011.
Desiderio has earned a number of honors over the years, including being named to the New Jersey Association of Counties Hall of Fame last year. He was also chosen by the New Jersey Conference of Mayors as the Freeholder of the Year in 2004 and 2015. He also serves as the mayor of Sea Isle City. Desiderio was the vice director of the Commissioner Board before this year.
“I am thankful for the friendship and working relationship I have had with Jerry Thornton over the years,” said Desiderio. “Cape May County is a jewel, and all of the Commissioners get compliments when we talk with leaders in other parts of the state. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Commissioner Board. I also want to thank our employees for all the great work they continue to do.”