Campaign Promises Are More Than Words to Somerset County’s Elected Democrats
Fulfilling a promise made during the 2019 campaign, Somerset County’s Democratic majority government is opening the Freeholder Board’s appointment process by inviting any resident with an interest in serving on a board, committee or commission to submit their resume and be considered for openings. The new process begins with a web page listing every available opportunity, and a form to submit a resume.
“We are inviting residents of Somerset County to volunteer to serve on one of our 30 boards and commissions to provide a voice to every community in Somerset County,” said Freeholder Director Shanel Robinson. “Volunteering to serve is a great way to share your expertise and contribute to your community, and the more diverse our volunteers are the better we can serve the public.”
Under the previous Republican leadership, Freeholder appointments were done behind closed doors and many times there was no supporting documentation for a nominee. In December one Republican Freeholder defended a nomination without a biography or resume for Freeholders to review by saying, “He’s a good guy.” The new process ends such cronyism and ensures a more diverse government that recognizes the contributions of everyone.
Interested residents can learn more about opportunities and apply at http://ow.ly/iNEe30qd9o5.
“Somerset County’s government is here for every resident, and we are working to ensure their voices are heard and their needs met,” said Deputy Director Sara Sooy. “Every decision we make is dedicated to the mission of providing great county services in every corner of the county.”
“Last summer we saw evidence of how a closed, insular nomination process can harm our volunteer committees and damage the services Somerset County delivers for its residents,” said Freeholder Melonie Marano. “We promised to open up the process to everyone and to be transparent in our appointments. This website is the start of keeping that promise.”
Democrats have a history of keeping their campaign promises in Somerset County. In 2017 then-candidate Steve Peter promised to open up access to the Clerk’s office by having mobile office hours in the communities it serves instead of requiring residents to come to Somerville. Despite pushback from the former leadership, Clerk Peter kept his promise and has held multiple mobile offices serving hundreds of families who could not get to Somerville during regular hours. The mobile office is so popular that multiple municipal officials – Republican and Democrat -- have requested it for 2020.
In 2018, candidates Robinson and Sooy promised to increase public access to the Freeholder board by broadcasting meetings on the Internet and holding some meetings in the evening to allow access to everyone. Both promises were implemented in their first year on the Freeholder board, and as a result, Somerset County’s residents have a greater voice in their government.
“Democrats believe in good government because we believe in serving the people we represent,” said Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer. “You can bet that when a Somerset Democrat makes a promise on the campaign trail, they will fight hard for it when they are in office working for you.”