By Art Gallagher
Freeholder Deputy Director Rob Clifton will be chosen by his colleagues to serve as Freeholder Director when the board reorganizes in January.
Freeholder John Curley and Freeholder-elect Tom Arnone told MMM that they support Clifton for the position. Curley said that it is his understanding that current Director Lillian Burry also is supportive of Clifton filling the position. Clifton confirmed that he has the unanimous support of his fellow Republican Freeholders. Burry has yet to respond to MMM’s calls on the matter.
There is not yet a consensus as to who will be Deputy Director. Curley said he he would like the position but speculated that Burry might also want it. Arone, who will be sworn in for his first term in January, will defer to his senior colleagues to work it out. Clifton said, “we’re still meeting on that.”
Freeholder Amy Mallet, will be the lone Democrat serving on the board next year. As a minority party member, she would not be expected to be selected for a leadership position.
The Freeholder Director presides over meetings of the board and signs legal documents for the county.
The county budget is Clifton’s top priority. “Smaller and less expensive government is our objective, while providing residents with the services they have come to expect and that they pay for,” said Clifton, “The expansion of shared services with Monmouth County municipalities and school boards, as well as with other counties will enable us to reduce costs and improve the quality of services.”
The terms of Burry and Mallet both expire this year. Burry is expected to seek a third term. There has been speculation that Mallet will run for Assembly, depending upon how the legislative districts are redrawn. She a candidate for Assembly in the 12th legislative district in 2007 and sought the nomination in 2005.