Freeholder Chairman Jose Munoz says his committee seat reassignments last month were designed to put the right freeholders in the right place.
“I assigned Freeholder [Bill] O’Dea to the community college because he has been very involved in looking into their activities,” Munoz said. “This is a very tough year and we want people who are going to make sure that we remain fiscally responsible so that we can make sure that we control costs in every department.”
The Hudson County Board of Freeholders consists of nine elected representatives who help oversee county facilities, budgets, policy, and personnel. Munoz was recently elected the chairman.
Some of the reassignments altered previous committee chairmanships. O’Dea, for example, will serve as the freeholder trustee on the Hudson County Community College (HCCC) board, and will chair a number of other key committees. Last year, Freeholder Anthony Romano, who represents Jersey City Heights and Hoboken, served on the HCCC board.
“But O’Dea has been very involved in some of the college’s activities, I thought he should be there to watch it more closely,” Munoz said.
O’Dea also will chair the county’s Banking Committee, which oversees which banks county funds are deposited. In the past, O’Dea had argued that the county should only deposit funds in banks that show good neighborhood support and services, such as reasonable rates for banking cards and loans to local businesses. He has also looked for banks to relocate branches into poorer parts of the city.
Munoz and Freeholder Thomas Liggio are also members of that committee.
“I looked for where I thought each person had an expertise.” – Jose Munoz
Munoz will serve as freeholder members to the HCCC Board of School Estimate and a non-voting trustee to the HCCC board. As chairman of the freeholder board, he sits in as a member of many of the standing committees, but will chair the county’s Task Force on the Homeless.
Freeholder Albert Cifelli will chair the Contract Review committee and the Ethics Committee.
Freeholder Junior Maldonado will serve as chairman of the Economic Development and Housing Committee, Personnel Committee, and the Tourism & Cultural Affairs Committee.
Freeholder Tilo Rivas is chair of the Education Committee.
Freeholder Doreen DiDomenico is chair of the Environment, Health & Human Services Committee, and Women & Minority Affairs Committee, and will sit as the freeholder representative on the Meadowview Psychiatric Hospital Board of Managers.
Freeholder Jeff Dublin will be the freeholder representatives to the Hudson County Open Space Advisory Board, and the county representative to the New Jersey Association of Counties. He is chairman of the Family Services & Welfare to Work Committee, and the Purchasing Committee.
Freeholder Anthony Romano will chair the Public Safety, Department of Corrections and Emergency Management Committee as well as the committee for Senior Citizens and Veterans Affairs.
“I looked for where I thought each person had an expertise,” Munoz said.
Freeholder support people of Ukraine
In a resolution passed at the freeholders’ Feb. 12 meeting, the board voted to express their support for the Democratic aspirations of the people of Ukraine and their right to choose their own future free of intimidation and fear. The resolution said that a democratic, prosperous and independent Ukraine is in the national interest of the United States.
The resolution gave support to demonstrators who had objected to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s abrupt suspension of negotiations on the Association Agreement with the European Union (EU) one week before it was due to be signed at the EU’s Eastern Partnership Summit.
“This is a reversal of stated government policy that precipitated demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens in the capital of Kyiv as well as in cities throughout the country,” the freeholder resolution states. “The demonstrators have sought to exercise their rights to freely assemble and express their opposition to President Yanukovych’s decision, as well as their support for greater government accountability and closer relations with Europe.”
The resolution was critical of the violent actions taken by Ukrainian police to disperse peaceful demonstrators in Kyiv’s Independence Square, resulting in many injuries and the arrests of several dozen individuals; and later raids on opposition headquarters. Reports suggest that more than a hundred people have died so far in escalating conflicts.
“We encourage demonstrators and members of the opposition and civil society in Ukraine to continue avoiding the use of violence and engage in a dialogue of national reconciliation,” the resolution said. “We call on the government of Ukraine to refrain from further use of force or acts of violence against peaceful protestors, journalists, students and clergy, and to respect the internationally-recognized human rights of the Ukrainian people, especially the freedoms of speech, press, and assembly.”
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.