EDISON – Carol Barrett assumed the oath of office here in a packed auditorium at Middlesex County Community College while her son and the widow of long-serving Freeholder David Crabiel and the Crabiel’s daughter stood by her side.
Judge Todd Mayo, chief judge of the East Brunswick Municipal Court, held Crabiel’s personal Bible where Barrett placed her hand.
Later, Stephen J. “Pete” Dalina, a 20-year veteran of the board and Crabiel’s ally, received the board’s unanimous support for freeholder direct on a motion by Freeholder H. James Polos, seconded by Freeholder Christopher Rafano.
His colleagues describe Dalina as a champion of parks and open space acquisition. He’s served as deputy director now for nine years.
A South Brunswick councilwoman, Barrett was the choice of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization at a convention this past Sunday to fill the vacancy created by Crabiel’s death. She joined two other newcomers to the seven member board: Ronald G. Rios and Mildred S. Scott, Crabiel’s running mates in the Nov. 4th election.
“My son told me he thought Dave Crabiel would have wanted me to do this,” said Barrett, a retired county employee and former president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 73.
On getting sworn in as freeholder director by Assignment Judge Travis L. Francis, Dalina stood with a large assemblage of family members, including his wife of 57 years, Eleanor.
Superior Court Judge Alan Rockoff joined the Dalinas.
“I am the oldest good luck charm outside of the Egyptian mummy charms,” said Rockoff, who knows Dalina going back to the latter’s days as a 2nd Ward politician in Woodbridge.
Dalina described himself as a “Hungarian kid from Fords.” Moments before remembering with respect and affection his predecessor Crabiel andpledging to work to keep taxes low for the 700,000 residents of Middlesex County, he assumed his placeon the dais with his colleagues.