Epic Meet the Candidates Series Enters Final Days of Election 2013
As part of my ongoing effort to introduce candidates to the voting public, Save Jerseyans, I started a weekly column called Meet the Candidates. In essence, it is a past day stump speech updated for the virtual world.
We are now entering the final stretch of this campaign cycle with only a few days left before Election Day 2013. At Save Jersey, we are dedicated to keep you, the voter, informed and that is why I am pleased to introduce you to Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone.
Freeholder Arnone graduated Neptune High School and then went on to attend Brookdale Community College. Since the early 1980’s, he has owned T. Arnone’s Landscaping and he’s currently the Vice President of Property Management at PRC Group in West Long Branch. His prior political experience includes serving as a Neptune City council member from 1997-2003 and then as the mayor from 2004 through 2010. He was elected to the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2011 and continues to hold that position to this day.
My interview with Freeholder Thomas Arnone is below the fold…
Sanders: What makes you a better candidate than your challengers?
Arnone: I think my 15 years at a municipal level government and my one year as President of New Jersey Conference of Mayors where it was a bipartisan group where the best needs were met in the State of NJ. Additionally, my business background of owning a small business as well as being Vice President of a large corporation and meeting the challenges that comes along with that. Lastly, I would also have to include my past 3 years as a Freeholder, the agenda I set for myself before my election in 2010 and how we succeeded in moving forward.
Sanders: Do you support an effort to reduce municipal spending services through consolidation? As an example, the Somerset County Freeholders have been urging municipalities to merge their local police forces with the county for years. Is merging services really a way to save money and is this a practice Monmouth County is looking to initiate?
Arnone: To clarify, Monmouth County is not looking for merger but rather they are looking for shared services. I think that shared service is the word we are looking for and we have taken a very proactive approach. Monmouth County is recognized throughout the State of New Jersey as the most pro-active shared services county in the state. We have designed a very creative program to partner up with the municipalities to show a major cost reduction for the municipalities while simultaneously serving as a revenue base for the county.
Sanders: In one of your recent ads, you claimed to have reduced government spending by $6 million dollars. Can you explain briefly how you accomplished that feat?
Arnone: This is exactly what we were trying to achieve through our Shared Services program. We were able to generate some revenue through privatization of different departments; merging some departments and more importantly taking $4 million dollars of revenue generated through Shared Services programs. With that being said, we were able to reduce the budget by $6 million dollars.
Sanders: Can you explain to the voters what “Grow Monmouth” is?
Arnone: Grow Monmouth is a county-wide initiative to support and assist existing business and to attract new business. The Grow Monmouth program provides business with marketing lists and demographic and competitive information that will help grow their business. The program also provides competitive and demographic information to new businesses making a choice on location. Additionally, a new business or a growing business can call one of our business specialists at any time to discuss marketing plans or to hone a potential business idea. All of these services are available free of charge.
No business wants to spend any more time or money if a project is not going to work in a proposed location. A large component of the Grow Monmouth initiative is the partnerships that have been created with our municipalities. Grow Monmouth allows the county to work with local governments to help potential business owners figure out if they will fit in the master plan of a municipality. If a business is not a good fit for a particular municipality, the county can help direct that business to a location that is a better fit.
So far, just over 530 businesses have used the services of Grow Monmouth, resulting in the retention and creation of jobs. The end result to the economy of the county is the continued stability as noted in our AAA bond ratings.
Sanders: If your constituents wanted to reach out to you and ask you questions about your positions or how to volunteer on your campaign, to whom can they reach out?
Arnone: I firmly believe in an open door policy. Any constituent interested in contacting me regarding my positions or if they are in need of assistance with an issue they can call my office or my personal cell at any time. I give this information out freely throughout the county. Additionally I can be reached through my county email or my personal email. Moreover, if a constituent would like to contact me regarding volunteering for campaign purposes, again they can either call my personal cell, email my personal email or contact Republican Headquarters directly.
Thomas A. Arnone Contact Information
Personal email firstname.lastname@example.org
County email: Thomas.Arnone@co.monmouth.nj.us
County Phone: 732-431-7158
Personal Cell: 908-309-9176
Republican Headquarters: 732-431-6664
If you are a candidate or with a campaign and you’re interested in being featured in my weekly Meet the Candidates article, Save Jerseyans, then email me at email@example.com. Don’t dawdle! Only days left to go…