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CMCo Commissioner Actions: Disability Services Approved, Smith Approved as CFO

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By Al Campbell

In this story, the Cape May County Board of County Commissioners:

  • Approved a lease at County Commons with an organization that provides services for those with disabilities.
  • Appointed Brittany Smith as chief financial officer.
  • Approved a contract between the Sheriff and FOP Lodge No. 7.
  • Accepted a state marketing grant for tourism.
  • Continued agreement with Atlantic County for Public Health Officer.
  • Granted approval to Lower Township Christmas parade.

CREST HAVEN – Excitement and enthusiasm surfaced over a lease of county-owned property in Rio Grande to serve those with disabilities. 
A resolution was approved Nov. 10 by the Cape May County Board of County Commissioners to lease space in the County Commons. That structure is a multi-use site near routes 9 and 47, where Social Services and Veterans Affairs have offices, and several businesses are located. It is the site of the former Kmart.
Community-based Resources for Independent Living, Inc., headquartered in Burlington, will be in the facility. The organization’s presence was lauded by Assemblyman Antwan McClellan (R-1), Ocean City Councilmember (4th Ward) Bobby Barr and Executive Director Lisa Killion-Smith.
McClellan noted the three-year quest to get the organization a local site was “a labor of love.” He lauded Commission Vice-Director Leonard Desiderio, Commissioner E. Marie Hayes, and County Counsel Jeffrey Lindsay for advocating and “working with us to take care of our kids.”
Barr summed up McClellan’s efforts by stating, “He chopped down every wall they put in front of us.” 
He added that the board, Lindsay, McClellan, and others who had a part in bringing about the lease could “Go home tonight and feel easier because you made a difference in people’s lives. That’s what government is supposed to do.”   
Killion-Smith told the board that Resources for Independent Living, Inc., with sites in Salem, Burlington, and Cumberland counties, is the state’s sole veteran-run program to offer its “array of services.”
“We’re happy to be serving families in Cape May County,” she said.
“When we get to work with somebody, and keep track of their progression and see how far they’ve come; treating them like people and teaching them and working with them, never giving up on them; when you see someone tie their shoes, when someone said ‘They’ll never able to do that.” 
“When you teach someone to count change…when you hit those milestones, it’s the best feeling in the world,” she said.

Mission Statement

According to its website: Resources for Independent Living is a community-based member organization whose purpose is to serve people with disabilities. 
Our core services are independent living skills training, information, referral, transition, peer support and advocacy. Membership is open to all people with disabilities, their able-bodied friends and supporters. They promote personal growth and empowerment through choice, self-determination, and participating in programs that provide information, education, skills development and networking opportunities. 
Resources for Independent Living provides people with disabilities the means for self-choice, self-direction and self-reliance in an inclusive society that offers equal rights and privileges to all.

Name Smith CFO

By unanimous vote, the board appointed Brittany Smith as county chief financial officer effective Nov. 14. 

Sheriff, FOP Pen Pact

The board approved a memorandum of agreement between Sheriff Robert Nolan and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 7. 
The contract covers uniformed Correctional Police Officers and Correctional Police Officer Sergeants. 
The contract covers officers who work in the correctional center. It runs from Jan. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2024. No specifics were included. 

Accept State Marketing Grant

An $18,000 grant from the state Division of Travel and Tourism to market tourism opportunities was approved.
The resolution states it will “expand marketing while working toward a stronger New Jersey economy.”
For its part, the county must match the grant with $4,500. The time covered is from October 1, 2022, to December 31, 2023.

OK Pact for Public Health Officer

A shared services agreement was renewed with Atlantic County for a public health officer.
On Aug. 10, 2021, the board approved a resolution to enter a shared services agreement for the services of a public health officer. That expired Dec. 31, 2021, and was amended from April 26, 2022, through June 30, 2022.
That, too, expired, and the northern neighbor needs services provided by Cape May County Public Health Officer Kevin Thomas. 
Currently, Kara Janson is the acting division director of Atlantic County’s Division of Public Health. 
The latest agreement expired on Dec. 31, 2022.

OK for Lower Rotary’s Christmas Parade

Because Lower Township Rotary’s Christmas parade on Dec. 10 will use part of two county roads, the board had to approve.
The event will close portions of Breakwater Road (County Road 613) and Bayshore Road (County Road 603) from 4 p.m. until about 7:30 p.m. 

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