Polos, Pulomena begin new terms as freeholders

Crabiel gets nod for 12th consecutive year as director


Staff Writer

H. James Polos H. James Polos EDISON – John Pulomena and H. James Polos were sworn in as Middlesex County freeholders and David B. Crabiel resumed the position of board director for the 12th consecutive year during a reorganizational meeting held at the Middlesex County College Performing Arts Center on Friday.

“I am elated by the overwhelming support we’ve received from the residents of the county”, Polos said. “I pledge to continue to work hard and be creative and innovative in government and to try to make it work smarter for the people.”

Polos, a councilman, council president and former mayor of Highland Park since 1982, ran for the freeholder board nine years ago. Since then, he has held the position of chairman for the Committee of Public Works, the Department of Transportation and the county Task Force on School Violence and was recently appointed to the Governor’s School Security Task Force Advisory Committee.

He hopes to proceed with a county cooperative purchasing program that allows municipal governments to utilize the buying power of the county, thereby reducing municipal costs for supplies, vehicles, electricity and gas. A $100,000 grant was received from the state to hire a shared services coordinator.

John Pulomena John Pulomena He will continue to work with the transportation network through Middlesex County Area Transit [MCAT] to develop better commuting means for residents and plans to continue the county’s green initiatives to make the environment cleaner for future generations and expand upon the county as a “Showroom of Environmental Technology.”

Pulomena, a three-term councilman and former council president in South Plainfield, has been a freeholder since 1998. He has served as the chairperson for the Middlesex County Planning Board and the Public Health and Education Department and as a member of the Administration and Finance Committee.

He was integral in the establishment of the Academy of Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies on the Middlesex County College campus and the construction of a new Vocational and Technology High School in Perth Amboy. He also spearheaded the Tech 2000 program that invested over $5 million in the past five years to ensure that a computer is placed in every classroom in the county, in both public and private schools. The addition of defibrillators is expected.

A partnership was also recently created between Middlesex County College and Raritan Bay Medical Center to establish a nursing program and Pulomena helped expand the services for rape crisis victims through the construction of a new facility that also houses a tuberculosis outpatient clinic and has worked to establish the Office of Terrorism Preparedness & Planning in conjunction with the federal and state Homeland Security initiatives.

“I am confident in the months ahead we will listen hopefully more than we speak … and follow a course of action best for those we represent,” Pulomena said.

After the freeholders’ oath of administration, Crabiel was nominated to continue his work as a director.

Crabiel cited practicing budgetary restraint, implementing a video-visitation system at the Adult Correction Center, protecting and maintaining 6,000 acres of open space and 3,500 acres of farmland, enabling a prescription drug program for senior citizens, and adhering to a strict county ethics code as some of the accomplishments not already mentioned by the newly sworn-in freeholders.

In the coming year, he expects to call upon the state government to authorize the creation of a limited Constitutional Tax Convention if legislators themselves can not solve the property tax burden. He is also looking forward to the construction of a 180-bed facility in Old Bridge for tuberculosis patients and the creation of a new Academy for Medical Science and Information Technology on the college campus. In addition, the board will seek to develop a new logotype and slogan for the county through open competition.

“With these initiatives and many more, Middlesex County will continue to prosper and will continue to benefit from a county government that lives within its means, provides for the public welfare and which maintains the promise of a good and always improving quality of life,” Crabiel said. “We will serve you with unqualified integrity and the highest standards of ethical government. We will provide high-quality county services at an affordable cost and without unnecessary and costly frills. You will be safe in all your neighborhoods, free to enjoy our parks and playgrounds and comforted by the fact that with a competent staff of county employees, professionals and volunteers, county government will continue to work well in Middlesex County.”

Afterward, Stephen J. Dalina was selected to be the deputy director by Freeholder Christopher Rafano, who chided Dalina for his age and by Freeholder Blanquita Valenti, who called Dalina a bionic freeholder because of his recent double-hip replacement.