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Somerset County Freeholder

Somerset County is governed and managed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders. The board consists of five members.The Freeholder Director earns a salary of $22,902 and the other Freeholders earn an annual salary of $21,902. In 2019, one Chosen Freeholder is elected from the County at large to serve a three-year term.

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  • Candidate picture

    Melonie Marano
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Patricia "Pat" Walsh
    (Rep)

Biographical Information

What do you consider the most important challenges facing Somerset County? What personal and professional experiences have prepared you for addressing these challenges?

The Board of Chosen Freeholders is committed to transparency with the public. How do you propose to assure that transparency? Please identify any issue or functional area you would emphasize.

What priorities would you like to see in the next budget for the County? Is there any specific department or agency that you consider particularly in need of attention; and if so, why, and what would you do? Please specify particular areas in need of oversight or funding.

Qualifications/Experience • Elected and served 6 years Green Brook Township Committee Member & Mayor –. Active member of several subcommittees including the Environmental Commission, Cultural, Heritage and Historic Preservation Committee, Green Design Group, Volunteer Day, Land Use Board, and Green Brook Flood Control Commission • Somerset County Tax Board Commissioner – Serving since 2011- Certified Tax Assessor in good standing. • 25+ year professional background working as an Accountant, Auditor, Department Head and National Sales Executive. Worked for private CPA firm, ASCAP, SESAC and Universal Vending Management. • BS Rider University – Accounting & Attended Fordham MBA Program • Certificates in numerous government studies courses from Rutgers University. • Leadership Somerset graduate. • Board member of Somerset Treatment Services for past 10 years.
Campaign Address 180 Greenbrook Rd. Green Brook NJ 08812
Campaign Email meloniemarano@gmail.com
Website https://www.somersetcountydemocrats.org/
As I talk with voters, I hear about their commuting frustrations; particularly struggles with the Raritan Valley and Gladstone Branch train lines. As of now, there is no timeline for reinstating the one seat ride to Manhattan on the Raritan Valley Line. Somerset County needs a strong advocate for rail riders to speak on their behalf. Not only will this increase quality of life, but work productivity and home values as well. Having been a commuter from Dunellen station for over a decade, I can relate to rail commuters, and having been a governing official for 6 years, I have the background in navigating the governmental waters to work with other community leaders to press for improvements.

Our county roads and bridges also need attention as well. It is vital that as a county we do our best to provide safe pathways for vehicles. Advancing the walk/hike/bike program will also complement other means of travel, while providing health and recreation.
Transparency is fundamental to any government’s function, particularly on the County level, and one of my top priorities upon assuming office is making sure that Somerset County residents are well-versed on the functions of their elected representatives. Specifically, I think it is imperative that we ensure our residents and business owners know where their tax dollars are going and work to make sure that these tax dollars are being used in ways that directly benefit our hard-working constituents.

This transparency responsibility transcends down to Commissions and Authorities under the county’s umbrella as well. The Freeholder Board needs to ensure that the public is acutely aware of the activities and spending, of these entities too.
RVCC tuition has risen. This is a concern to me. Investments in our county college and our vocational/technical schools are vital. I would like to explore ways to coordinate alliances with our business community to determine what skills are needed in their organizations, and make sure that our programs are offering these skill sets to the students. Ultimately our students will need jobs, and our employers need workers. We as a county need to focus on ways to synchronize the two.

I also want to dig deeper into the County’s spending on energy to see how we can reduce our consumption which ultimately, saves resources and dollars.

Business retention and promoting Somerset's tourism economy to highlight the County's rich history, natural treasures, bike trails and farming are a priority too.
Qualifications/Experience 11 years as Mayor of Green Brook, 11 years as County Freeholder
Campaign Address 66 E Main St, Somerville, NJ 08876
Campaign Email somgoporg1@aol.com
Website parentiandwalsh.com
Maintaining and improving upon our quality of life. We have among the lowest unemployment rates and poverty rates in the state, and our private sector economic growth is above the state average, all while continuing to provide quality services to our seniors, veterans, and families. My time as a Mayor of Green Brook, and on the Somerset County Freeholder board, uniquely qualify me to continue leading Somerset in the right direction.
We’re proud of our commitment to transparency. The Board posts its budgets and budget presentations on the county website and publishes an e-newsletter twice a month updating residents on our activities. The county also publishes public notices, county ordinances, Freeholder meeting agendas and minutes, financial and budget information, bid and RFP tabulations, among the many documents we make available on the county website. I’m most excited about our online outreach - we are starting to livestream Freeholder Board meetings, starting this month, and we also update our Twitter, Facebook, and Instragram feeds regularly.
I’d like to continue to identify, pursue, and preserve open space, maintain and improve our wonderful park system, and reassess our social service programs to meet the needs of our most vulnerable.