By Jay Cook |
Monmouth County Freeholders Say ‘No Thanks’ to Name Change
Citing unnecessary costs and the value of history, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders officially announced their opposition to a state bill petitioning to change the “Board of Chosen Freeholders” moniker to the “Board of County Commissioners.”
All five members signed off on a resolution Thursday afternoon opposing the change.
“This is classic fixing what ain’t broken,” Monmouth County Freeholder Gerry Scharfenberger said. “I’ve heard the lamest justifications for going down this road of needless expenditures.”
Proponents for the name change believe the name is outdated and doesn’t wholly represent female politicians at the county level. The term “freeholder” is associated with men from the 17th century in America who owned land free of debts. In the colonies, only freeholders could hold office.
The only female freeholder in Monmouth County – Deputy Director Lillian G. Burry – said a name change would just add confusion.
“They didn’t even give one good, solid reason for even entertaining the idea,” said Burry. “That’s what I find so disturbing. Why do you have to change history?”
Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone said this name change is the wrong path. Legislators instead should be focusing on making the state more affordable.
“I sit here with a Board of Freeholders that work on extremely productive, cost-saving measures to try and make this a better quality of life at an affordable price here in Monmouth County,” he said. “I’m really somewhat concerned with that being a priority, changing our name.”
Also coming into play is the funding that will be needed to change every letterhead and signage for the county vehicles, buildings and parks.
“Just imagine – everything that goes around in this county has to be changed,” said Arnone. “There’s a cost factor to all this.”
Gov. Murphy Signs Bill Sending NWS Earle Students To Colts Neck District
A bill making students living on base at Naval Weapons Station Earle attend the Colts Neck School District instead of Tinton Falls public schools was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy earlier this month.
Sponsored by local politicians state Sen. Vin Gopal (D-11) and Assemblymembers Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey (both D-11), the bill effectively ends a years-long battle based around state funding and logistics, officials said.
“Tinton Falls has been disparately impacted by educating the entire student population at Naval Weapons Station Earle without proper funding for far too long, placing an undue burden on not only the district but taxpayers as well,” said Gopal.
Since 1988, students living on the U.S. Navy base had attended schools in the Tinton Falls School District, while the majority of the civilian housing on NWS Earle was actually located in Colts Neck. There were 68 students living on Earle property who attended Tinton Falls schools in 2016. Two additional students were homeschooled.
The bill requires all students residing on Earle to attend the Colts Neck School District for grades K-8 beginning in the 2018-2019 school year – high school students already attend Colts Neck High School. Current students will have until July 1, 2021 to transition over to Colts Neck to not disrupt graduations.
A senate version of the bill passed 28-1 and the assembly passed it 52-24. Other local Two River-area elected officials didn’t support the bill. State Sen. Declan O’Scalnon (R-13) abstained from the senate vote and Assemblywomen Amy Handlin and Serena DiMaso (both R-13) both voted “no.”
The bill was also sponsored by state Education chair Teresa M. Ruiz (D-29) and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33).
“I am extremely pleased that Governor Phil Murphy has seen the merit in the bill,” said Gopal. “By signing the Earle bill into law, Gov. Murphy has joined us in not only supporting the Tinton Falls School District, which was in dire need of support, but the taxpayers of Tinton Falls as well.”
Handlin’s Internet Security Bill Progressing
With a recent focus on federal regulations for social media sites like Facebook, Middletown’s state assemblywoman has forwarded state legislation to protect internet users.
The bill, co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-13), prohibits internet service providers from disclosing a subscriber’s personal identifiable information unless agreed to in writing. It would also prevent providers from withholding service, slowing internet speeds or lowering service quality if a user doesn’t waive their privacy rights.
“The internet is a part of life,” said Handlin. “People are on- and offline all day long. They enjoy the convenience, but they have no privacy without effective legal protections.”
The bill was also sponsored Assemblymen Ronald Dancer (R-12) and Erik Peterson (R-23). It’s cleared the Assembly science, innovation and technology committee and is now due for a second reading.
This article was first published in the May 31-June 7, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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