Chairman Sergio Granados, a native of Elizabeth, was the youngest Commissioner ever elected to the Board in 2013, and was also the youngest Democratic board member elected in New Jersey. He was re-elected to his fourth term in 2022 and is serving his second term as Chairman in 2023.
As Chairman in 2018, Granados’s “Moving Union County Forward” initiatives focused on advocacy, equality, volunteerism, public safety, and the environment. Granados also created the first Union County Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration and spearheaded the opening of the Office of LGBTQ Affairs, the Office for People with Disabilities and Special Needs and the Office of Community Engagement and Diversity. Each of these new offices was the first of its kind in New Jersey.
Under his tenure as Chairman in 2018, Union County also became the first New Jersey county to equip all municipal police with body cameras, and he led the creation of the Warinanco Dog Park, the first to serve residents in eastern Union County.
Granados has also served as Chairman of the Open Space Trust Fund, working to create the Kids Dig In! grant program, the first inclusive playground in Union County, and the “Level the Playing Field” a grant program for municipalities. He also developed the UC Night at the Theater grant program for high schools.
As Chairman of the Fiscal Committee in 2020, Granados oversaw the disbursement of COVID-19 relief funds. He also worked with the Fiscal committee to provide residents with a zero percent tax increase for the first time in over two decades while maintaining a “Aaa” bond rating from Moody’s, the highest attainable rating.
Granados continued to help oversee COVID-19 response in 2021 as Chairman of the Public Safety Committee. The County also launched the Fresh Start Mobile Shower initiative to provide hygiene services and guidance to displaced and unsheltered residents.
In 2022, Granados returned as Chairman of the Fiscal Committee. He also served as the Advisory Board Liaison to the Workforce Development Board, Human Services Advisory Council, Voter Accessibility Advisory Board, Vocational-Technical School Board of Estimates and Improvement Authority.
As Chairman in 2023, Granados’s “Building a Stronger Union County” vision will focus on building a stronger Union County, empowering our residents and the private and public sectors through initiatives that create opportunities for all to succeed, with funding and programs for transportation, employment, housing, health, recreation, financial assistance and other services.
Granados attended Union County College, and graduated from Kean University with a Bachelors in Business Management and Masters in Public Administration.
“Building a Stronger Union County”
Union County Commissioner Chairman Sergio Granados
Tuesday, January 3, 2022 – 6:00 p.m.
- Good evening elected officials, family, friends, and citizens of Union County.
- Thank you for joining me at this year’s Re-Organization Meeting.
- Before I begin, I would like to recognize my family and fiancé, Kellianne, my biggest support system, because without them, I would not be here today.
- It is with great honor to stand here before you as the Chairman for 2023. And a special thank you to the Governor and the Senate President for swearing me in today.
- I also would like to give a special acknowledgement to our County Manager, Ed Oatman, for all of his hard work and dedication and for working alongside Deputy County Manager Amy Wagner, our County Directors and employees – who make up our Union County family – including James Pellettiere, Clerk of the Board and Kelly Martins, Director of Public Information, for making sure that today runs smoothly.
- Each year has its challenges, but every challenge presents an opportunity for success in the face of adversity.
- As Chairman, I want to build a path of resilience and togetherness, so I am announcing a series of initiatives, which will roll out throughout the year, called “Building a Stronger Union County.”
- They will focus on enhancing our local communities, while empowering our private and public sectors.
- Our residents are what make Union County strong and each year we continue to ensure that they are at the forefront of all our decisions.
- Over time, we have created one of the most innovative agendas in the State of NJ and we are going to continue to follow this route in 2023.
- We want to develop greater relationships between Union County businesses to help them succeed – while ensuring that we are providing job opportunities for our residents.
- In keeping with the county’s commitment to providing and expanding workforce opportunities, we will launch a series of programs and services providing our residents with access to free, online training portals, where residents can enhance their career skills and obtain credentials and certifications.
- We will also provide grant funding to Union County organizations, to offer free, basic career services to residents during evening hours and weekends – making it convenient for all to access.
- These services will enhance financial literacy and minimize any barriers residents may have in obtaining a career and achieving their goals.
- I am proud to say that our county is one of the most diverse in the State and I am committed to making sure everyone has the resources they need to thrive.
- We are expanding and developing programs for our residents, including our veterans, seniors and persons with special needs.
- From setting aside housing, to tenant-based rental assistance programs, there will be help for anyone who needs it.
- We live in a time where mortgage rates are high, home prices are high, and housing inventory is low.
- And Union County homeowners and renters need access to affordable housing, tax relief and financial support.
- This year, we have over $10 million dollars in the Union County Emergency Rental Assistance Program to provide significant economic relief to ALL eligible Union County residents, regardless of your status – because we know that everyone can go through struggles in their life.
- It is through support like this, that we can come together and provide assistance to those who are at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
- Help is on the way, not only for renters – but for homeowners, because we know everyone needs support.
- The U.S. housing market surged during Covid-19 and many residents are noticing that the new property assessments put a higher value on their homes.
- In some cases, this means an increase in their property taxes at a time when other costs, like food and fuel, are also surging.
- Union County is working to develop a program that will help low to middle income homeowners who qualify, reduce their tax burden, which can mean reducing their tax bill by hundreds to thousands of dollars.
- But that’s not all – we will be creating a Union County Safety Net Program, that will put money back into the pockets of qualified disabled veterans AND senior citizens, to help defray the costs of housing and basic needs.
- Together, we continue to prioritize our efforts to strengthen the programs and services offered to our residents, while maintaining our strong financial footing – because we know that every dollar counts.
- Creating jobs, building on affordable housing, exemplifying a solid economy is what I mean by building a stronger Union County. It also means improving the health of our residents.
- The county is on a continuous path towards diversity, equity, and inclusion – from innovative programs and groundbreaking initiatives to supporting our residents from all walks of life.
- Developing programs and spaces where individuals – no matter what race, gender, orientation or religion can feel safe, will continue to have a lasting impact on our residents, their health and well-being.
- We have seen a rise in mental health concerns over the last few years and it is essential now, more than ever, that we tackle this issue together.
- Mental Health can affect anyone sitting in this room, and it is not a topic that we should be ashamed of – it is one we should bring to light and let our residents know that they are not alone.
- This year, we will be introducing a series of initiatives that will enhance access to mental health services.
- From suicide prevention training to programs connecting individuals living with a substance abuse disorder to treatment and recovery – we are putting our residents health first.
- There will be community resources for those seeking treatment and there will be information for concerned friends or family who want to learn more about these supportive services.
- In addition, our Sheriff’s Department is looking to further train their officers with courses focusing on working with individual towns in mental de-escalation techniques.
- Our Prosecutor’s Office is currently working with three towns within our County on a pilot program, called Arrive Together, where police departments are accompanied by mental health professionals when responding to calls involving a person in crisis.
- We will be working towards expanding this initiative throughout all municipalities in our county.
- As you can see, it is my belief that a community that bands together – rises together and we are doing just that.
- Investing in our children is investing in our future – and we need to build on excellence by supporting all of our youth.
- We will be seeking to address the needs of our younger residents in and out of school by providing innovative and inter-agency collaborative programming working alongside school personnel and local service agencies to deliver services that promote positive mental health and youth development by strengthening social, emotional, and behavioral skills.
- Many families struggle financially and during the school year, there are numerous children who receive free or reduced-priced school meals.
- However, what do families do when school is not in session for winter, spring or summer break?
- Utilizing ARPA funds, we are teaming up this year, to create a Grab and Go Lunch Program, so no child goes hungry on a day when they are on school break.
- Our youth need a place they can express themselves and many times the arts are a way to do that.
- It can be expensive, so this year, we would like to offer full scholarships to students throughout Union County to participate in a theater summer arts program at UCPAC.
- We are building today for a better tomorrow, and that also means enhancing our parks, recreation areas and our streets.
- Our parks are the crown jewel of Union County – from our trails and stables to our sports, playgrounds, picnic areas and activities – there is a use for everyone.
- And keeping up with the demand for our park systems – we will be working on installing new multi-purpose fields, upgrading existing equipment, installing a second sheet of ice at the Warinanco Sports Center and much more.
- In furthering our commitment to a safer Union County, we applied for a Traffic Safety Pedestrian Improvement Study that will enable us to not only identify where we need to update sidewalks, danger zones and intersections, but improve the overall flow of traffic throughout our county.
- Union County is a great place to work, visit, invest and live with our expansive parks and open space, superior schools and a fiscally responsible government.
- We need to continue to expand our County’s momentum, build on great opportunities and successes, and lift our community to unprecedented heights.
- These were just some of examples of all of the great things we will do together in 2023 and we will be announcing more as the year goes on, because we are breaking down barriers, opening doors for all, and building the county that our residents want and deserve.
- I want to thank the Board of County Commissioners, County Manager and constitutional officers for their commitment in delivering real results for Union County.
Commissioner Chairman Granados Announces “Building a Stronger Union County” Initiatives during 166th Annual Reorganization Meeting
Commissioner Sergio Granados has been selected as Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners and announced a series of initiatives for 2023, titled “Building a Stronger Union County,” focusing on enhancing local communities, while empowering private and public sectors.
Granados, a lifelong resident of Elizabeth, who is the youngest Democratic Commissioner ever elected in the State of New Jersey, announced his initiatives at the 166th annual reorganization meeting held in the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth on Tuesday.
Included in these initiatives, among others are developing greater relationships between Union County businesses, job training and opportunities for their residents, a series of mental health programs and services, park enhancements and housing assistance programs for renters and homeowners as well as rebate programs for the veteran and senior population.
Former Commissioner Christopher Hudak was sworn into his first term as Union County Surrogate, and Bette Jane Kowalski, Sergio Granados and Rebecca Williams were sworn in for their terms. Commissioner Joseph Bodek was appointed to fill the seat of outgoing Commissioner Christopher Hudak. Commissioner Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded was appointed Commissioner Vice Chairwoman. The Commissioners also voted to fill numerous positions on County advisory boards and to adopt the Board’s 2023 schedule and procedural rules.
“As Chairman, I want to build a path of resilience and togetherness, so I am announcing a series of initiatives, which will roll out throughout the year, called “Building a Stronger Union County,” said Commissioner Chairman Sergio Granados. “Our residents are what make Union County strong and each year we continue to ensure that they are at the forefront of all our decisions. These were just some of examples of all of the great things we will do together in 2023 and we will be announcing more as the year goes on, because we are breaking down barriers, opening doors for all, and building the county that our residents want and deserve.”
Contact the Chairman
Office Phone Number: 908-527-4112
E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org