Cape May County Freeholder E. Marie Hayes recently became president of both the New Jersey Association of Counties and the Southern New Jersey Freeholders' Association, a spokesperson said Wednesday.

State Sen. Michael Testa, R-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, swore in Hayes to the Association of Counties position last Friday at the Statehouse in Trenton.

Others on the board of directors and executive officers are Mercer County Freeholder John Cimino, 1st vice president; Monmouth County Administrator Teri O’Connor, 2nd vice president; Cumberland County Freeholder Director Joseph Derella, secretary/treasurer; and Essex County Freeholder Brendan Gill, immediate past president.

Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, R-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, swore in Hayes on Monday to lead the SNJ freeholder group.

Hayes was reelected last year as a Republican freeholder but has recently been embroiled in conflicts with both her running mate, Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton, and with Cape May County Administrator and Clerk of the Board Elizabeth Bozzelli.

Bozzelli sued the county and Freeholders Hayes and Will Morey, alleging retaliatory harassment over her decision not to give Hayes’ son a job transfer. Her son works for the county.

Hayes has denied any wrongdoing, but Thornton and the other freeholders on the all-Republican board voted last year to censure her for her alleged behavior in the case.

The New Jersey Association of Counties is a nonpartisan organization that advocates for legislation, regulations and policy directives that help county governments operate more effectively and efficiently, enhancing services and saving taxpayer dollars.

The Southern New Jersey Freeholders’ Association is made up of the state's eight southernmost counties: Cape May, Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Ocean, Salem, Cumberland and Gloucester.

Contact: 609-272-7219

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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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