The Burlington County Board of Commissioners celebrated the start of the new year at their 2022 Reorganization Meeting on Jan. 5 where they selected a new director and deputy director and resolved to continue to find new ways to help residents and businesses during the ongoing pandemic.
Commissioner Dan O’Connell was selected to serve as the board’s director for 2022 and Tom Pullion was selected to serve as deputy director. O’Connell and Commissioner Felicia Hopson were also sworn in for new three-year terms on the five-member Board, and Brian Carlin took the oath as the new Burlington County Surrogate.
“2021 was a year of perseverance, transition and recovery. We had hoped to see the last of the COVID-19, but unfortunately, we are faced with another resurgence of the virus,” said O’Connell. “We’ve worked hard during the last two years to provide assistance to businesses and residents — from basic necessities that no one should be without to assuring our local small businesses remain the foundation of our communities. In 2022, we will continue this mission and also seek new and innovative ways to help our residents and businesses recover.”
“I thank my colleagues on this Board for their service to our county, particularly Commissioner Hopson who led this body through two incredibly challenging years. Our entire county has benefited from her extraordinary leadership and it’s my honor to continue to serve alongside her,” said O’Connell, who was sworn-in to his new term by State Assemblywoman Carol Murphy as director by State Senator Troy Singleton.
“I would also like to thank many of the partners who have worked with our county and aided our COVID response, including Virtua Health, the New Jersey National Guard, our Governor and our county’s representatives in Congress and the New Jersey Legislature, including Assembly members Herb Conaway and Carol Murphy and Senator Troy Singleton. All three have demonstrated a deep commitment to our county and their ability to lead by example has inspired us all to do more,” he added.
Carlin assumes the post of County Surrogate after serving more than a decade as Burlington Township’s mayor. As Surrogate, he will lead the office responsible for probating wills and estates, as well as some adoption and guardianship issues.
In addition to Tom Pullion’s leadership post as deputy director, he will continue to serve as the Board’s liaison to the Departments of Solid Waste and Recycling and Public Works.
2021 accomplishments and 2022 plans
During his reorganization address, O’Connell highlighted many of the County’s accomplishments from last year and several of its 2022 initiatives, including the county’s continuing COVID response.
Since the start of the pandemic, the County has distributed millions of items of protective equipment to long-term care facilities and first responders and helped vaccinate and test hundreds of thousands of residents. More than $13 million in rental assistance has also been awarded to more than 1,700 county households, along with $295,000 in zero-interest loans to small businesses.
“None of this happens without the dedication and hard work of our county employees, department heads, volunteers and many partners. We owe them all a tremendous debt of gratitude for all that they have done,” O’Connell said. “Lives have been saved because of all these collective efforts and sacrifices. If this virus has taught us anything, it is that we are stronger when we work together. We must remember that for as long as this crisis continues and beyond.”