Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-1st, swears in Charles Thomas as the Democratic freeholder to replace former Freeholder Louis Magazzu.

Caitlin Dineen

BRIDGETON — Charles Thomas, a former chairman of the Cumberland County College board of trustees, was sworn in Tuesday night as the newest county freeholder in a brief ceremony.

Thomas, 77, of Hopewell Township, was selected by the Cumberland County Democratic Organization as the candidate to replace former Democratic Freeholder Louis Magazzu.

Magazzu resigned Aug. 2 after nude photos he sent to an Internet girlfriend surfaced online.

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Thomas will remain on the board until the Nov. 8 elections. His term began immediately.

Before freeholders entered into executive session, Thomas said he was glad to be a freeholder for Cumberland County a second time. Previously, he served from 1964 to 1966 when the board consisted of 26 people.

“It’s good to be able to give back,” he said. “I think the fact that I’m here, I am probably able to contribute.”

Thomas has more than two decades’ experience in education and job training, which he said may benefit the board.

“Education and job training are the key to the success of our county,” he said.

James A. Dunkin, 55, of Millville, outgoing freeholder deputy director, was selected by the county’s Democrats to run for the final year of Magazzu’s term.

Per state law, County Democrats had 35 days from Magazzu’s resignation to fill the vacancy.

Initially, the executive committee nominated three candidates, of which freeholders would have selected a replacement. However, committee members announced their selection Monday.

“We are extremely pleased to be past this process, and we are eager to move onto the issues that are important to the citizens of Cumberland County,” Doug Long, co-chairman of county Democrats, said in a press release.

County Solicitor Brendan Kavanagh said the Democratic executive committee selected the replacement after acknowledging freeholders had other important matters — including the damage the county sustained during the recent storm and flooding — to discuss at their meeting.

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