William Whelan resigned Friday from the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders, where he served as its director.
The decision comes about a week after some Democrats urged Whelan to quit the post following what state officials said was an investigation into the unlicensed running of a day-care operation by his wife at their Deerfield Township home.
Whelan made no mention of that incident in a letter sent to Cumberland County Administrator Kenneth Mecouch on Friday.
“Sixteen years ago, I had a family emergency that caused me to rethink my career,” Whelan states in the letter. “I did not need to leave my position at that time but thought I could improve the balance of my life in favor of spending more time at home. Recent activities have now caused me to do the same rethinking I did 16 years ago.
“I realize now that I should again rebalance my life,” he continues in the letter. “It is for that reason that I am resigning from the office of Cumberland County freeholder. I am grateful I have been able to serve the wonderful people of our county and I thank all those who have been so supportive. I love our county and I believe our future is bright.”
Whelan said in the letter his resignation took effect as of noon Friday.
Whelan did not elaborate in the letter regarding the family emergency that occurred 16 years ago. He did not respond to a request by The Press of Atlantic City for comment.
Doug Long, the freeholder board’s deputy director, will serve as acting director. Cumberland County Freeholder Tony Surace said the board could reorganize when it next meets July 16. That is a work session meeting.
“I would state to you that Bill has provided incredible leadership for the county during his term,” Surace said. “It’s important that we keep that momentum and direction that was set forth by Bill.”
Cumberland County Democrats must also select a replacement for Whelan on the freeholder board. No information was available Friday regarding when that might happen.
Whelan’s resignation leaves Democrats with a 4-2 majority on the freeholder board.
Officials with the state Department of Children and Families said the day care operation was being run by Whelan’s wife, Carole.
State regulations require a license for any home day care facility that handles more than five children under the age of 13.
The department informed Carole Whelan on May 20 that she was in violation of those licensing regulations. A department official eventually inspected the Whelan home, and Carole Whelan was informed by the department on June 12 that she was “not caring for more than five children under the age of 13.” No penalties or charges were imposed because it seemed that Carole Whelan was not familiar with state licensing regulations for home child care facilities, department officials said.
Cumberland County Democratic leader Bob Balicki eventually informed Whelan that party members would “support his decision to step down” to deal with those matters.
Whelan has served as a freeholder since 2008. The term from which he resigned on Friday was to expire at the end of 2014.
Whelan, executive vice president at Colonial Bank, is also a former member of the Cumberland Regional Board of Education.
Whelan is the second prominent Democrat to resign from the freeholder board in less than two years.
Louis Magazzu quit the board in August 2011 after nude photographs of himself that he sent to an alleged Internet girlfriend surfaced on the Internet.
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