County commissioners hold organization meeting

Felicia Hopson remains board director, with Dan O’Connell as her deputy

Special to The Sun
The commissioners kept Felicia Hopson (seated center) their board director. She is only the second Black woman to serve in that role.

The Burlington County Commissioners held an organization meeting earlier this month at the Olde Historic Courthouse, where Felicia Hopson was selected to remain as board director and Dan O’Connell was installed as the board’s deputy director for 2024.

Hopson is only the second Black woman to serve as the leader of the county commissioners. In addition to her director duties, she will remain board liaison to the Department of Human Services, the Burlington County Bridge Commission and the department of economic development.

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O’Connell – who was board director in 2022 – will serve as deputy director this year. He will remain liaison to the health department, elections and schools.

Commissioner Tom Pullion remains liaison to the public works department, the Department of Solid Waste and Recycling and the Burlington County Library System. Commissioner Allison Eckel also continues as liaison to the Department of Resource Conservation, public safety and the county prosecutor’s office, and Commissioner Balvir Singh continues as liaison to the corrections department, county courts and the county medical examiner’s office. County Administrator Eve Cullinan was also reappointed to a five-year term.

“I’m humbled and truly honored to have the privilege of leading this commissioner board once again,” Hopson said. “Thank you to my colleagues for your vote of confidence in my leadership.”

Hopson also addressed a county project that’s moving forward – the Burlington County Emergency Shelter – in her remarks.

“Creating an emergency shelter in Burlington County has been my top priority since the day I took office in 2019, and we have worked diligently towards that goal,” she noted. “ … After making visits to emergency shelters elsewhere in New Jersey and meeting with an expert consultant, we have developed plans for the construction of an emergency shelter on the existing Burlington County Human Services campus at 795 Woodlane Road.

“This is absolutely the right location for the shelter,” Hopson added. “It’s centrally located in the county, accessible by bus routes and immediately next to the place where residents go to receive assistance and services. The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs has blessed our plans, and we anticipate breaking ground and starting construction in 2024.”

Hopson also addressed two major county initiatives that are happening soon.

“The first is our military and veteran-owned business grant program, which will begin accepting applications this month,” she said. “The second is a grant program for food pantries. We set aside $1 million to aid individual food pantries and nonprofits on the front lines in the fight against hunger every day.”

Special to The Sun
Burlington County Commissioner Balvir Singh takes the oath for a new three-year term on the board. He was sworn in by Congressman Andy Kim.

The meeting also featured the swearing in of Pullion and Singh to new three-year terms, and Joanne Schwartz to a new term as county clerk.

“In this day and age in which we live, sometimes it gets challenging to think about the fact that there’s still groups of people that can come from different things and different ethnicities and come together to make a positive change and a positive difference,” state Sen. Troy Singleton pointed out.

“This board does that exceptionally well, and while we don’t talk politics in this building, I will tell you that good government makes the best kind of politics …” he added. “ … This commission, this county, is better because these five individuals have willingly decided that they will sacrifice so much of their own personal lives to give to this community, to give to Burlington County.”

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