Toms River — Veteran Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari has been tapped by his peers to serve as director of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2020.
A former Dover (now Toms River) Township mayor and retired school superintendent, Vicari is the longest-serving freeholder in the state, having been elected to the board in 1981.
“It’s a privilege to be selected by my fellow freeholders to lead the board in the new year,” Vicari said.
Gary Quinn, the newest member of the board having been elected in 2018, will serve as deputy director.
The new director and deputy director took their seats at the board meeting on Jan. 2.
Vicari serves as chairman of the Office of Senior Services and the Department of Consumer Affairs. He is also liaison to the Ocean County Vocational-Technical Schools and the Department of Tourism and Business Development.
Vicari said his priorities for the new year include the continuation of affordable government.
“Ocean County has the fourth lowest county tax rate in the state,” he said. “Once again I can promise our residents there will be no surprises when the county budget is introduced later this year.”
Education will also again be a priority, as Vicari is a lifelong educator who served as teacher, principal, administrator and superintendent.
“The opening of the new vocational school, Performing Arts Academy, at Ocean County College will be a highlight of 2020,” he said. “The new state-of-the-art facility will allow students to complete a two-year college degree while still in high school.”
Fighting for senior citizens and opposing both federal and state cuts to senior programs is another priority for the New Year.
“Washington, D.C., and Trenton cannot balance their budgets on the backs of our seniors,” Vicari said. “It has to stop.”
Vicari has previously served 11 times as director of the board, most recently in 2017. He also served five times as Dover Township mayor.
Vicari said he also looks forward to working closely with Quinn, who is serving his first term as freeholder deputy director.
A former Lacey Township mayor and a 15-year veteran of the township committee, Quinn is director of both the Human Services and Transportation departments. He is also liaison to the Ocean County Department of Solid Waste and the Ocean County Mosquito Commission.
“I look forward to serving with Freeholder Director Vicari and the other members of the board in maintaining our AAA bond rating,” Quinn said. “Affordability and outstanding services have long been priorities of this Board of Freeholders, and will continue to be in 2020.”
— Monique M. Demopoulos