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Freeholder Sullivan Announces Retirement at end of 2013; Longest tenured Freeholder touted as a driving force and leader who championed quality of life improvements

Staff at The Alternative Press

Thursday, February 14, 2013 • 2:01pm

Citing the time as being “right” for his retirement from the board, Freeholder Daniel P. Sullivan today announced he will not run for re-election to the Freeholder Board, and will leave office at the end of his sixth term on December 31st.

Sullivan, a Freeholder who resides in  Elizabeth who was originally appointed in 1995 to complete a one-year term, will have marked 19 years in office at the end of his term this year. He was the longest serving member of the Freeholder Board, and has served as chairman and vice chairman of the board.

“I have enjoyed serving the public as a Freeholder and I am proud of the contributions and achievements that I have been able to make with my colleagues on the board,” Sullivan said. “I feel the time is now right for me to retire from elected office.”

“I will miss the camaraderie with my colleagues, and I thank the public for their continued support throughout this time,” said Sullivan, who will continue to serve the public as the Executive Director of the Union County Utilities Authority. Sullivan did not receive a Freeholder salary since he began work at the UCUA in 2011. “I also wish to thank our Department Directors and County family of employees for their work in implementing many important programs the public needs.”

Freeholder Chairman Linda Carter thanked Sullivan for his years of service to Union County and added he will be missed on the board.

“Freeholder Sullivan has a great mind for government, as well a great sense of humor that could ease any situation,” she said. “The County witnessed many quality of life improvements he helped to initiate, and among his legacies, he led Union County through some of its most difficult moments.”

Carter was referring to Sullivan’s chairmanship of the board, in the aftermath of the national financial meltdown and subsequent recession, where Sullivan as Chairman in 2010, oversaw part of the distribution of more than $27 million in Federal stimulus funds across Union County  and spearheaded drives to improve green initiatives and energy conservation at County facilities.

Charlotte DeFilippo, the County Democratic Party Chairman, also thanked Sullivan for his efforts.

“As a Freeholder, Dan was a champion for progressive Democratic causes and fought for many improvements in raising the quality of life for the residents of Union County,” DeFilippo said. “I thank him for his service, his friendship, and support through the years.”

Sullivan, an outspoken member of the board who specialized in development and transportation issues, made his mark as a policy guru, and enjoyed planning, crafting and shaping major governmental initiatives across the board. He will remain as the Chair of the Fiscal Committee for this year.

“Dan has a gift for being able to understand complex issues, and for problem solving,” said County Manager Alfred J. Faella. “He can also communicate complex ideas in very understandable terms to the public. He will be greatly missed.”

During his tenure, the Board marked the initiation and completion of important economic development initiatives they either spearheaded or assisted on, including the Union County College building in Elizabeth, the Park Madison Project in Plainfield, the new Parking Garage and office development in Elizabeth, the Froehlich Building in Westfield, the expansion of one of the county’s largest employers, Wakefern in Elizabeth, and various transportation improvements that included the expansion of Liberty International Airport, and shuttle service on Route 22.

Sullivan was also a staunch defender of the County’s Open Space program, which has saved more than 300 acres of pristine green space in the state’s most densely populated county, while opening up major recreational parks in Scotch Plains, Clark and Berkeley Heights, and creating the Union County Performing Arts Center, among its many achievements.

Freeholder Sullivan, a former member of the Elizabeth Board of Education, was also a driving force who championed educational causes that witnessed the expansion and various improvements at the Union County Vocational Technical Schools, and Union County College.

Sullivan supported unprecedented initiatives for senior citizens, including free courses at Union County College through the Senior Scholars Program; and Seniors in Motion, which provided towns with senior transportation vans. Sullivan was instrumental in developing HEART grants (History, Education and Arts Reaching Thousands) to support Union County’s history and arts. 

While serving on the Board, Freeholder Sullivan has been chairman of the Union County Economic Development Committee and the Fiscal Affairs Committee. He has also served on the Community Development Block Grant Committee, the Transportation Advisory Board, and the Labor Advisory Board. 

Freeholder Sullivan has served twice as the Chairman of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, which allocates federal funding for transportation projects.

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