Ocean County, NJ government leader will not seek re-election
🔵 Retirement announcements across Ocean County
🔵 Ocean County Commissioner Joe Vicari not seeking re-election and announces retirement
🔵 Looking back on Vicari's more than 43 years in public service in government and education
There have been a few changes occurring in Ocean County circles of late including retirements.
Among them, Brick Police Chief James Riccio after more than 36 years in law enforcement (the new Brick PC, David Forester was sworn in this week), Ocean County Assignment Judge Marlene Lynch Ford, and Berkeley Township/Ocean Gate CFO Fred Ebenau following 40-years in government.
On Thursday morning, Ocean County Commissioner Director Joe Vicari put out a letter announcing that 2023 will be his last year in government, and along with that, he will not be seeking re-election this year.
There was a long thought process that went into the decision Vicari made on Thursday, saying that "after much soul searching, today I am announcing that I will not seek re-election to the Ocean County Board of Commissioners. After more than 43 years of public service, I have decided to retire and devote more time to my family."
Inside Ocean County Commissioner Joe Vicari retirement announcement
Since being elected to the Ocean County Commissioners (Freeholders) Board in 1981, Vicari he has become the longest-serving freeholder/commissioner in New Jersey.
In 1979, Vicari was elected to the Dover Township (now Toms River) Committee and served in that role until 1994 when he was elected mayor.
There have certainly been plenty of big news events that have occurred over the duration of his time in office including Superstorm Sandy recovery and the most recent Covid-19 pandemic and the day-to-day, year-to-year operations of what's going on in Ocean County.
Some of the main goals and projects Vicari had worked on and towards over the years that he highlighted in his letter include:
🔵 Expanding the county government complex.
🔵 Bringing in clean energy programs to the county.
🔵 The development idea of turning the Ocean County Airport facility into a regional hub.
Vicari has been the chairman of Senior Services for the county and continually worked towards helping seniors in Ocean County obtain services including Meals-On-Wheels and working towards getting the senior freeze program as well as homestead rebates.
Other areas where he worked tirelessly was on environmental issues such as preserving open space and working to protect beaches and the Barnegat Bay.
Vicari was among the many as well pushing for a Veteran's clinic to come to Ocean County.
What Ocean County Commissioner Joe Vicari made a priority in office
As the liaison for Ocean County Tourism, Vicari has always made it a priority to zone in on helping grow the this critical industry and help it thrive along with all the small businesses across the 33 municipalities.
"We've been blessed in Ocean County with 44-miles of the best oceanfront property you can find anyplace along the Atlantic Coast and I would even say the United States, not only because of the water but because of the fine sugar type sand that we do have and it's very clean," Vicari previously told Townsquare Media News.
In 2021, Vicari was among those fighting against the state of New Jersey and the idea of raising toll hikes on the GSP, NJT, and ACE.
"What happens in Ocean County every single day (is) 90,000 residents are on the road with their car going to work back and forth to make a living, to put food on their table," Vicari previously told Townsquare Media News. "So they see the price of the Garden State Parkway going up, the Turnpike going up, the Atlantic City Expressway going up -- and now on the other hand, they're still paying more for gasoline because our taxes are going up automatically."
In 2020, Vicari helped unveil the M.A.S.H. (Mobile Assistance for Seniors at Home) Unit in Ocean County to help the largest population of seniors in the state and Veterans.
"We want to make sure we protect our greatest generation of people as well, they went through World War II and the Depression and everything else and if there's a need, we will address those needs and do whatever is necessary to make sure they live a very comforting life," Vicari previously said.
Ocean County Commissioner Joe Vicari thankful for the community as he retires
Here is the full retirement letter from Ocean County Commissioner Director Joe Vicari.