CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — Cape May County Administrator Stephen O’Connor confirmed on Monday that he is retiring as early as next month.
O’Connor, 53, of Sea Isle City, has been the administrator and clerk for the freeholder board for 12 years but he has put in 32 years with the county. O’Connor began as a toll taker for the Cape May County Bridge Commission before rising through the ranks to run the bridge system.
“I’m going to go out with good feelings and start a second career,” O’Connor said.
On Monday night, O’Connor became the interim executive director of the South Jersey Economic Development District, which serves the counties of Cape May, Cumberland and Salem, but is now struggling with financial problems. He also plans to revive a company he started before becoming administrator, South Jersey Consultants, LLC., which among other things ran political campaigns.
“I like the idea of going to a struggling organization,” said O’Connor, who before becoming administrator helped the county with special projects including creating a community college program and leasing the Cape May Airport to the Delaware River & Bay Authority.
O’Connor said he is eligible to retire from the county in May but has agreed to stay on into June if he is needed.
“I told them whatever they need for the transition I will be there,” O’Connor said.
Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton said there is no obvious successor to take over as administrator.
“I don’t think anybody is in the pipeline right now,” Thornton said.
Thornton, who was in office when O’Connor was hired as a toll collector, commended him for his many years of service.
“He always was very good on public policy,” Thornton said.
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