OCEAN COUNTY – Gerry Little was sworn in as a Freeholder but will retire as a Commissioner.
The 72-year-old announced that he will not seek re-election in 2021.
Freeholder was a term for the five elected officials who oversee county operations. State law changed this title to “commissioner” for 2021.
Little, of Surf City, was appointed in 2003 to fill the term of the late James Mancini. He has held the seat ever since.
Multiple attempts at reaching Little for this article have been unsuccessful.
All five County Commissioners are Republican. That party always endorses the incumbent during election time. This November, there will have to be a new name on the ballot.
A few prominent Republicans are circling the seat.
Berkeley Councilman John Bacchione has already stepped up and put his name in the running.
The New Jersey Globe reported that Little Egg Harbor Mayor Barbara Jo Crea has thrown her hat in the ring as well.
County Republican Chairman Frank Holman said that four or five have expressed interest, but they won’t know who the serious candidates are until January 16, the deadline to send resumes. The screening committee will interview candidates on February 6.
Generally speaking, the GOP will endorse a candidate, and they will have the party line in the primary election in the summer.
According to his bio on the county’s website, Little worked as Chief of Staff for the state’s 9th Legislative District from 1984 until his retirement in 2003.
He had been involved in the Surf City Taxpayers Association, the Arbor Day Foundation, the Alliance for a Living Ocean, the USO, the New Jersey Lighthouse Association, the Art Schwerzel Good Scout Award, the Long Beach Island Historical Association, the Friends of the Island Library and the Coast Guard Rescue Boat Association.
He was on the Long Beach Township Board of Commissioners from 1988 to 1991 during which time he served as police commissioner.
He served on the Surf City Council from 1995 until his appointment to the Freeholders. He had also been on the Ocean County Planning Board and the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Fund Advisory Council before becoming a freeholder.
Every freeholder has committee assignments and he was currently serving as liaison to Veteran Services, the Ocean County Road Department and the Ocean County Health Department.
He was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps in 1969.
He and his wife, Mary Lee, have two adult children.