“There was a time when politicians viewed themselves as mere public servants, not entitled power brokers. It’s time to restore government to an institution that serves and supports the good of the people.”https://www.carenfitzpatrick.com
Here’s why we enthusiastically endorse Caren Fitzpatrick for Atlantic County Freeholder:
Contract Vetting: I will rigorously review all county contracts to make sure they reflect fiscal responsibility and the values of constituents.
Comment: This is already very important to me. I’m a corporate CFO and an MBA. I know a good vs bad spend.
Pay to Play: I will not exchange professional service contracts for donations to my campaign or the campaigns of my friends/allies. When possible, I will open contracts up for a competitive bidding process, instead of automatically renewing last year’s contract.
Comment: Atlantic County got rid of its pay to play rules a while ago. I find it egregious that my opponents, one whom has been on the Board 15 years, receive donations from vendors who have county contracts. At the very least, he should abstain from voting on their contracts.
Professionalism: I will commit my time and energy to full length meetings that make information accessible to the public. I will not support rushing through an abbreviated consent agenda.
Comment: I’m doing this job so that I can be present and advocate for the residents of my county.
Meeting location: I believe meetings should rotate throughout the county in order to make attendance more feasible for residents of all municipalities.
Comment: We did this in 2019, when we had a different chair. It was well-received and we got a true taste of where our constituents live. The current chair stopped that, and now we are in a remote situation.
Meeting structure: I believe the bulk of the meeting should focus on county business rather than award ceremonies or speeches.
Comment: Additionally, I believe the government meeting should not begin with a Christian prayer.
Meeting accessibility: I support using technology to make meeting attendance more accessible for residents, via recording or live-streaming of meetings or other remote attendance options.
Comment: One of my accomplishments on this board was to have some meetings scheduled at 6 pm, instead of always 4 pm.
Information reporting: I support easily accessible online meeting agendas and minutes. I support user-friendly budgets so residents can easily see how public funds are allocated. I support user friendly agendas that include explainers about resolutions being voted on.
Comment: These are necessary in order to make informed decisions. For some reason, our public agendas do not include the backup the Freeholders receive. I asked about this and was given a no-reason reason.
The “county line” in primary election ballots: Realizing that being placed in a preferential ballot position hinges on freeholder candidates and that the county line is misleading and manipulative to voters, I will take a firm stand against the county line and advocate for a bubble ballot as is used in every other state and in some counties in NJ.
Comment: I understand ballot position often dictates votes. A “no-line” ballot is more fair.
Responsible County Entity Oversight: I will work to ensure that the county entities I oversee — libraries, parks, technical schools, community colleges, correction facilities, infrastructure — are safe, professionally staffed and appropriately funded.
Comment: Atlantic has a county executive form of government, we freeholders don’t oversee departments. But we do sit on committees and act as liaisons. I do my best to advocate for my committees and bring their needs forward.
Appointments to Boards, Authorities and Commissions: I will appoint people with diverse perspectives to boards, authorities and committees, opening up government for greater participation, rather than selecting the well-connected. Because new ideas and voices are important, I will seek out new residents to fill these board positions rather than having the same individuals serve for decades.
Comment: Part of my platform is that boards, authorities, and commissions are in a “bubble”, where only those who know about them are appointed. The county must do a better job of publicizing availability and openings.
More information about Caren Fitzpatrick:
Education: AAS, Accounting, BS Business Administration, MBA
Current Occupation: Sr Director Finance and Administration
Public/party service: first term freeholder, lifelong democrat and advocate for marginalized people and underserved.