NORTHFIELD — Jerome H. Irick, of Buena, has been appointed as Atlantic County’s new representative on the state Pinelands Commission.

Irick was appointed Tuesday during the county’s Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting, after some members of the public requested the appointment be tabled because the opening had not been advertised.

Irick, an engineer and farmer, replaces Paul Galletta, of Hammonton, co-owner of Atlantic Blueberry Co. Galletta served as Atlantic County’s Pinelands commissioner for 12 years.

“I’m sure Mr. Irick is a fine nominee,” said Jason Howell, of Port Republic, the stewardship coordinator for the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, who asked what the process was in choosing him.

He and Ryan Grech, policy advocate for the alliance, asked the freeholders to table the appointment to give more people a chance to be considered, and to allow for a more public selection process.

“I’m going to support this nominee, who has been recommended from the administration,” said Freeholder Ernest Coursey, a Democrat. “But two people have raised legitimate concerns. Going forward, maybe we can come up with a better process with the administration.”

County Administrator Jerry DelRosso said the county website contains information about boards and commissions, where people can submit their names for consideration for future appointments. But the county did not advertise this specific opening, he said.

Irick said he is a 1966 graduate of Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, has been a professional engineer since 1980 and a licensed professional planner since 1992. He also owns 75 acres in Buena where he farms sweet corn, hay and grains, and is the president of the Atlantic County Board of Agriculture.

He does not own land in the Pinelands, he said.

In 2017, the New Jersey Society of Agriculture recognized his farm for being in the same family for 100 years, he said.

He is also a delegate to the Farm Bureau and to the Vegetable Growers Association, a Minotola fire commissioner and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension representative from Atlantic County to the Board of Managers, he said.

Galletta cited business, family and health issues as his reasons for resigning.

“It was time to step down,” he said. “But I am feeling good now.”

In other news, Pleasantville Council President Judy M. Ward was appointed to the board of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority to a term that expires May 1, 2024; and Regina Bell was appointed Atlantic County division director for the county library system effective April 1. Bell had been the assistant director. Former Director Gair Helfrich resigned to move closer to her family, officials said.

Freeholders also welcomed new Director of Special Transportation Demetrious Pearson, who starts in the position Monday. He has 19 years in transportation management and logistics, he said.

Contact: 609-272-7219 Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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