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Newly seated freeholders give Republicans 8-1 majority

Freeholder at Large Alex Marino of Linwood is sworn in to office by his father-in-law, Superior Court Judge Daryl Todd. Alongside Marino are his children Patrick, Mac and Madeline, his wife, Bonnie Todd Marino, his father Carl Marino and stepmother Rosalie Valenti. MAYS LANDING – A new Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders with an 8-1 Republican majority used its first meeting of the year Tuesday, Jan. 3 to reorganize and swear in new members, along with the Atlantic County executive and the sheriff.

Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson was the first to take the oath of office. Citing four near-perfect county audits, Levinson pledged to work hard to maintain Atlantic County as one of the most efficient counties in the state. Levinson said he is looking forward to working with one of the most cooperative freeholder boards. “Unlike Washington, we cooperate here in Atlantic County,” he said in a playful jab to the country’s national legislators.

Atlantic County Sheriff Frank X. Balles was sworn in to his second term. He spoke briefly, saying said he was honored by the trust people placed in him with their votes.

District 3 Freeholder Frank Sutton of Egg Harbor Township was sworn into his third term. He served six years on the Egg Harbor Township Committee prior to being elected freeholder.

“I look out into this crowd and see many people – housewives, husbands, professionals and neighbors who make up Atlantic County. That is what we are, here on this freeholder board. We are a mix of people who represent you.”

Jim Bertino of Hammonton was sworn in to his first elected term on the freeholder board representing District 5. He had been appointed to complete the term of former freeholder and current Atlantic County Surrogate Jim Curcio in 2011.

John Risley of Egg Harbor Township was sworn into office as an at-large freeholder by his friend, Curcio. For Risley, who has a long resume of public service, it was a return to the freeholder board where he served one term from 2002-2005. He has served on city councils in Linwood and Somers Point, the Mainland Regional High School Board of Education and most recently on the Egg Harbor Township Committee.

“It is great to be back and great to be back on this board,” he said. “Public service is a great passion and runs as deep as my roots, especially in county government.”

Risley said he would be asking tough questions at budget time and tough follow-up questions as every expenditure needs to be carefully examined.

Atlantic Cape Community College and Atlantic County Institute of Technology help make Atlantic County the “gateway to success,” he said.

“Students can come here to Atlantic Cape, get two years of affordable education, and soon will be able to complete their four-year degree here through Rutgers University. If that is not a home run, I don’t know what is,” Risley said.

Alex Marino of Linwood was sworn in as the other at-large freeholder elected in November. A self-described hard worker, he said he wakes up every day with ideas of how to improve the world – which makes his day sometimes hard to plan – but promised to work for the betterment of every resident of Atlantic County.

District 1 Freeholder Charles Garrett, the board’s lone Democrat, was out of state during the reorganization.

The first order of the governing body was to elect a chairman and vice chairman for 2012. Nominated by Sutton and seconded by Freeholder Joe McDevitt, Frank Formica of District 2 was chosen chairman, as he was in 2011.

At-Large Freeholder Frank Giordano was returned as vice chairman.


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