Thursday, January 7th, 2010

The Morris County Freeholders have unanimously elected Gene F. Feyl and William J. Chegwidden to serve as director and deputy director respectively of the board for 2010.

The action occurred during the freeholder board’s Stated Annual Meeting on Jan. 6, which was attended by New Jersey Governor-elect Chris Christie.

Christie, a former Morris County Freeholder, administered the oath of office to Feyl, Chegwidden and John Murphy, who were sworn in to begin new three-year terms on the freeholder board. The meeting also featured John Pecoraro being sworn in for a fourth five-year term as Morris County Surrogate.

Feyl, who also led the board as director in 2009, thanked his colleagues for their confidence in once again entrusting in him the leadership post. He said the board’s goals in 2010 include one that is similar to its accomplished 2009 goal of reducing taxes.

“We reduced county taxes in 2009 by $2.2 million dollars and have, through retirements and attrition, reduced 223 county jobs during the past three years,” Feyl said. “Our goal for 2010 is again no tax increase, and if possible, a modest decrease.”

Feyl, starting his second three-year term on the board, thanked Christie for participating in the meeting, and pledged the board’s support of a Christie administration.

“We look forward to the culture of accountability and determined leadership that you will bring to the state of New Jersey,” Feyl told Christie. “We all realize the enormous task that lies ahead. Please be assured that we, in Morris County, are committed to assisting you and your administration in any way possible.”

Chegwidden, who also served as deputy director last year, touted the Morris County Improvement Authority’s renewable energy pilot program that will install solar panels on the roofs of 14 public school buildings in five school districts and several county government facilities. According to Chegwidden, the initiative is being financed by the Improvement Authority with county-guaranteed bonds and no debt service incurred by the local entities.

“The numbers are in and we are saving $2.4 million over 15 years for our local governments,” Chegwidden said. “That’s 20 percent off of the price of utility- provided electricity, with the price locked in for 15 years. That provides budget certainty at a time when we need it most.”

Murphy, who has been a freeholder since 1998, commended the progress that was made in 2009 in the development of a nonprofit area of Central Park of Morris County in Parsippany.

“We presented the keys to a county-owned facility on Executive Way at the new Central Park of Morris County to Hope House, Eric Johnson House and the Interfaith Council for Homeless Families,” Murphy said. “These three nonprofit agencies are collaborating to use the building to provide increased services to their clients, who include homeless families and those suffering from HIV and AIDS, and the freeholders are proud to have in some way facilitated that collaboration.”

The freeholders in 2010 will continue to conduct their regular public meetings on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. The meeting schedule may be found on the county government Web site, www.co.morris.nj.us