FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 25, 2009

CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia
Public Information Director
W: 908-527-4419 - C: 908-770-3662

 

FREEHOLDER CHESTER HOLMES ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT FROM BOARD
Four-Term Rahway resident and former police officer to remain active in community
and spend time with his private security business

 

RAHWAY---Citing increased demands on his private security business, Holmes Security and Investigations Inc.,  Freeholder Chester Holmes today announced he would not seek re-election to a fifth term on the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Holmes, a popular Rahway resident who will have served more than 49 years in the public sector as a former police officer, former Rahway Councilman, former Council Chairman, and Union County Freeholder at the end of the year, said that while he plans to leave the board at the end of his fourth term on Dec. 31st, he plans to continue to doing what he has done his entire life, being an advocate for Union County.

“I may be leaving elected office, but I will continue to serve my community in any way I can,” Holmes said, with a smile. “I have been fortunate to meet so many wonderful people in public life over the years. It has been a pleasure serving all our residents throughout this time. I would like to thank all for their support. I tried my best to provide you with the type of dignified, responsible leadership that you deserve. Public service is a privilege, and one I’ve never taken for granted.”

Freeholder Chairman Al Mirabella and Freeholder Deborah Scanlon, who were both first elected with Holmes in 1997, said Holmes would be missed, and issued a joint statement:

“Chester is one of the most decent, down to earth, approachable individuals we have ever met. He was a calm, soothing presence on the Board, and someone who also provided great leadership in many different areas, especially, public safety and homeland security. We wish him well, and he will be missed by all his colleagues and the public.”

Sheriff Ralph Froehlich who has known Holmes since both men served on municipal police departments more than 40 years ago, decades ago, agreed.

“He continued the legacy of being a fine police officer who was dedicated to public service into his role as Freeholder,” Froehlich said. “He was a pleasure to serve with.”

Holmes said it had been especially rewarding to serve the public through his tenure on the Freeholder board. He spoke about having served as a chairman on the Homeland Security Committee, which has applied for and received millions of dollars in Federal funds, which were used to purchase security equipment, vehicles, and special training for municipal and county first responders, and law enforcement personnel.

Throughout his term on the board, Holmes also served as an advocate for rebuilding the County infrastructure, including hundreds of bridges, culverts and well over 100 miles or roadway that has been repaved in recent years. Early in his term, he was a proponent of five-year, $10 million road improvement plan.

In other areas, Holmes also cited his support for the Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation program, which has worked to preserve well over 300 acres of open space throughout the County, preserve historic locations, renovate existing and create new playing fields, and provide funding for recreational activities for thousands of children throughout the County.

In 2006, Freeholder Holmes was also honored by the New Jersey Association of Counties with the President’s award for his extraordinary leadership, devotion to community service and volunteerism. A devout Baptist, Holmes also attends services at Friendship Baptist Church in Rahway, and served as a chairperson of the trustee board.

Holmes gave special thanks to his running mates, Freeholders Scanlon and Al Mirabella, who all started their terms together in 1997. He thanked County Democratic Chairwoman Charlotte DeFilippo for providing inspiration and support through the years. Holmes also acknowledged the efforts of the County Manager, George W. Devanney, Deputy County Manager Liz Genievich and the Clerk of Board, Nicole Dirado for their assistance and support.

“Finally, I would like to thank our Union County family of employees who make it all happen on a day-to-day basis,” Holmes said. “I will always treasure my affiliation with County Government and what we were able to accomplish during my tenure.”