Holmdel’s Deputy Mayor Serena DiMaso is one of four candidates running for a seat on the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders in a Jan. 14 special election.
A vacancy has been created by the impending departure of county Freeholder Director Robert D. Clifton, who has been elected to the state Assembly with one year left in his term. County Republican Committee members will select a candidate who will both replace Clifton on the Freeholder board and run for a full term in the 2013 election.
“I think I’ve done a good job in Holmdel and I’d like to bring that experience to the county level,” said DiMaso in an interview last week. With her experience working on open space issues, shared services and budgeting, DiMaso said she can make county government smaller and smarter. “To help those younger people who want to move into Monmouth County, and help the older people who want to stay,” she said.
Holmdel Deputy Mayor DiMaso is competing for the position against Atlantic Highlands Councilman Peter T. Doyle, Manalapan Township Committeeman Ryan Green and Howell Mayor Robert F. Walsh, according to the Monmouth County Affiliated Republican Club website.
The winner will be required to give up their municipal office to join the all-Republican Freeholder Board, said DiMaso. Should she be selected, DiMaso said she had no “regrets or worries” leaving the Township Committee, where she has been a steady presence for 10 years, because she has confidence in the leadership of Mayor Patrick Impreveduto and her colleagues. “I think Pat’s doing a really great job. I don’t have a fear that anything bad is going to happen to Holmdel,” she said.
Special elections to replace a Freeholder candidate “don’t happen that often,” said Wayne Pomanowksi, the president of the county Affiliated Republican Club. On Saturday, Jan. 14 at Colts Neck High School, Republican representatives of Monmouth County’s voting districts, in 52 municipalities, will be called to the convention to cast ballots.
The vote is tabulated on the spot and a winner declared. The swearing-in is held the following week.
“They’re all good candidates,” said Pomanowksi. "Doyle is a bright fellow, with a military background. Walsh, from Howell, is a very well liked guy with a good heart, who saved his town a lot of money. Green is deputy mayor in Manalapan, a smart guy and well spoken. DiMaso is also a very well spoken woman, and she’s an attorney. I don’t think there is anybody who can clearly say it’s ‘their’ race,” he said.
In 2008, DiMaso ran for an open county Freeholder position, but lost to Freeholder John P. Curley. In order to improve her chances for this opportunity, she, like other candidates, has sent out letters or emails to every member of the Committee, attended county Freeholder meetings, accepted invitations to speak before citizen groups and called upon elected county committee members in other towns. On Friday, Jan 13, all four will speak at a “Meet the Candidates Night” at Doolan’s Shore Club in Spring Lake Heights.
DiMaso’s fiscally conservative style is represented in her platform. If elected, she said she would advocate for pooling unused open space funds from different municipalities and steer them toward greater good in the county. She would promote the county’s 911 police dispatching service, and encourage more towns to join the county library service. She has a plan for a more efficient way for the county road department to clear snow off county roads, by splitting up the territory to get the job done quicker and reducing wear and tear on vehicles.
Her years as a trustee at Bayshore Community Hospital are also an asset, she says. She is involved in fundraising efforts and getting the word out about the improvements underway since its merger with Meridian Healthcare a year ago, and will serve as board chairman in 2012.
DiMaso is 48 years old, married to physician Gerald DiMaso. The couple has four children, ages 23, 21, 19, and 16. She is also a volunteer with the Holmdel Township First Aid squad.