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Burlington County Commissioner Felicia Hopson. (Photo: Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe)

Democrats take control of Burlington Freeholder Board

Youngkin resigns

By Nikita Biryukov, January 01 2019 4:27 pm

Two new Democratic Burlington County Freeholders were sworn in Tuesday, giving the party control of a five-member body for the first time since 1975.

But only Freeholder Felicia Hopson and County Clerk Joanne Schwartz were sworn in at the Freeholder Board’s annual reorganization meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Freeholder George Youngkin, who was elected despite suspending his campaign after the Burlington County Times reported he was arrested on domestic violence charges in 2006, was sworn in at around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Burlington County Democratic Chairman Joseph Andl said Youngkin submitted his resignation before the board’s reorganization meeting, following through on a post-election promise to resign from his seat. His resignation is effective Jan. 2.

Burlington’s Democrat County Committee members will then have 35 days to select a replacement.

So far, Gina LaPlaca, a former top aide to Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts and the director of state government affairs for Verizon, and Delran councilman Daniel O’Connell, a former New Jersey Transit locomotive engineer who served as state director of the United Transportation Union, are leading the pack.

But while replacing Youngkin may define the first several weeks of Democrats’ control of Burlington, the board’s newly-appointed Democratic director and deputy director, Freeholders Tom Pullion and Balvir Singh, respectively, will control the body for at least two years.

Freeholder Latham Tiver is the county’s last Republican freeholder, and he’s up for reelection in November, when there will also be a special election to fill the remaining 26 months of Youngkin’s term.

Even if Democrats lose both of those races, they’ll keep a 3-2 majority.

The Freeholder Board filled three offices by appointment Tuesday.

Former county surrogate candidate Sander Friedman was named county solicitor, Carolyn Havlick was named the county’s chief financial officer and County Administrator Eve Cullinan was appointed as interim clerk of the Board of Freeholders.

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