MOUNT HOLLY – The Burlington County Council of Commissioners kicked off the new year by selecting a new director and deputy director.
The commissioners also pledged at their 2022 reorganization meeting to find new ways to help residents and businesses during the ongoing pandemic.
“We were hoping to see the end of COVID-19, but unfortunately we are facing yet another resurgence of the virus,” said Commissioner Dan O’Connell of Delran, who was chosen to take the post of director of the council this year .
He said the council would seek “new and innovative ways” to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
Edgewater Park Commissioner Tom Pullion was chosen as deputy council director at Wednesday’s meeting.
Brian Carlin, former mayor of the Township of Burlington for more than a decade, was sworn in as the county deputy. He will lead the office responsible for probate wills and estates, as well as some adoption and guardianship matters.
O’Connell and Commissioner Felicia Hopson of Willingboro were sworn in to a three-year term at Wednesday’s meeting. Hopson previously led the board of five Democrats in 2020 and 2021.
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O’Connell joined the board in 2019 serving an unexpired term and was elected for a full term in November 2019. He was deputy board director last year.
O’Connell is a retired firefighter and locomotive engineer and a former state legislative director for the United Transportation Union.
Pullion, a former member of the Edgewater Park School Board and City Committee, was elected to County Council in 2017.
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2021 achievements and 2022 plans
In his reorganization speech, O’Connell noted that the county had tested hundreds of thousands of residents and distributed millions of pieces of PPE (personal protective equipment) since the start of the pandemic.
More than $ 13 million in rent assistance has also been provided to more than 1,700 county households and $ 295,000 in zero-interest loans to local small businesses.
“None of this happens without the dedication and hard work of our county employees, department heads, volunteers and many partners,” said O’Connell.
“If this virus has taught us anything, it is that we are stronger when we work together. We must remember this as this crisis continues and beyond,” he added.
O’Connell also identified “affordability” as one of the main goals of the commission.
According to the State Department of Community Affairs, he said, Burlington County “had the lowest average county tax for two consecutive years. And when the 2021 property tax data is released later this month, we expect for the third year in a row, “
Among other goals, the commissioners plan to hold additional roundtables to connect existing and potential businesses with information and resources. They also expect to host a “Burlington County Day” for local artists, chefs and other small business owners to market their products.