FREEHOLDER CHAIRMAN
ALEXANDER MIRABELLA

amirabella@ucnj.org
908-527-4113

Biography

Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella brings experience in business and public service to the Board of Chosen Freeholders. First elected in 1997, he is serving his eighth three-year term. He has served as Vice Chairman five times. He was sworn in as Chairman for the fifth time in 2020, and announced a series of initiatives that focus on expanding emergency communications, supporting entrepreneurship and career development, and working to uphold equal rights for Union County’s diverse population under the title, “Inclusion, Safety, and Outreach.”

As Chairman in previous years, Mirabella helped implement the Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, sparking significant increases in Union County parkland. He developed the Sensory Friendly Theater program for persons with autism and other sensory sensitivities, organized Freeholder meetings in local communities, assembled a shared services committee, and focused on infrastructure planning, workforce development, and sustainability measures that leverage millions of dollars in job-creating federal programs.

Chairman Mirabella also oversaw the expansion of the Office of Veterans Services along with other efforts in support of active duty service members. He organized the annual Columbus Day Italian flag raising event and was honored by the Italian Tribune with the “Christopher Columbus Man of the Year Award.”

He was also instrumental in creating the Union County Office of LGBTQ Affairs, the first office of its kind in New Jersey. During its first year in 2018, the Office organized outreach and advocacy events addressing housing, senior services, education, health, public safety, community engagement and other areas of concern.

A staunch advocate of education, Mirabella has been recognized for his support of Union County College and was instrumental in the creation of the Union County Vocational-Technical High Schools (UCVTS).

As Chairman in 2012, Mirabella launched the Union County Means Business Initiative to provide the local business community with a direct connection to beneficial resources and programs.

He has served on the Veterans Affairs Committee, Fire Services Advisory Board, and Union County Vocational-Technical School Board of Education. He has been honored by Prevention Links for his work in substance abuse prevention, by the Union County Library Directors for his advocacy on behalf of libraries, by Community Access Unlimited for his efforts on behalf of the disabled, and by the Raritan Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross for securing grant money to train disaster volunteers.

He was first elected to the Roselle Park Borough Council in 1991 and served until 1996. He graduated from Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y. with a degree in Economics. He and his wife, Phyllis, have a son, Alexander, and a daughter, Micayla.

Initiatives

Keeping Union County Safe and Secure

  • Expansion of the Union County Regional Dispatch Center, a shared service handling emergency calls for County and regional response units as well as medical centers and municipal responders. The Dispatch Center launched in 2012 with a half-dozen municipalities on board. Currently the facility handles calls for 14 municipalities and two medical centers along with six County and regional units, and usage is expected to grow.
  • Distribution of new fire radios, a shared service enabling municipal fire departments to communicate more effectively with County responders during emergencies. Under this program, Union County will distribute a total of 62 radios to seven municipal fire departments: Clark, Fanwood, Garwood, Hillside, Kenilworth, Mountainside and Plainfield.

Union County 2020

  • Partner with Union County College, Kean University, municipalities and many other “complete count” committees dedicated to ensuring the highest possible participation in the 2020 Census. Union County has also recruited high school students to help engage the public through the UC-STEP youth development and leadership program.
  • Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which provided voting rights to women.
  • Repurpose County property on Cushing Road to serve as a working farm created and run by students at the Union County Vocational-Technical School District in Scotch Plains, connecting the campus with important trends in urban agriculture and the farm-to-table economy.
  • With the assistance of Union County’s grant writer, launch a new online Grant Portal to help municipalities find grant opportunities.

Union County Means Business for All

  • Partner with the Union County Economic Development Corporation on programs that focus on women, minority, veteran, and LGBTQ businesses.
  • Explore a partnership with Union County College for a new Business Trades Apprenticeship program.

Union County Cares

  • Partner with the international Prevention Access “Undetectable = Untransmittable” Campaign in support of efforts to eradicate HIV and end HIV-related stigma. The Union County Office of LGBTQ Affairs will work with the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation to spearhead the effort, which includes advocates in almost 100 countries across the world. Governor Phil Murphy has also signed New Jersey on to the campaign.
  • Launch new “Fresh Start” initiative will provide mobile bathing and laundry service for people in need.
  • Adapt indoor riding ring at Watchung Stable for wheelchair accessibility.
  • Review signage at Union County parks and public recreation facilities to help ensure access and inclusion for all visitors.

Address

Press Release

Union County Freeholder Chair Mirabella announces “Union County 2020: Inclusion, Safety, and Outreach” Initiatives during 164th Annual County Government Reorganization – Freeholder Vice Chairman Angel Estrada Sworn in; Freeholders Granados and Kowalski begin new terms; Freeholder Williams begins first full term; Union County Surrogate James S. LaCorte begins new term.

Union County, NJ – Freeholder Alexander Mirabella has been selected as Chairman of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and announced a series of initiatives for 2020 under the title, “Union County 2020: Inclusion, Safety, and Outreach,” aimed at upgrading the County’s public safety infrastructure; supporting entrepreneurship, career development and education; and working for the equal rights and dignity of all Union County residents.

Freeholder Chairman Mirabella announced the new initiatives at the 164th annual reorganization meeting of the Freeholder Board, held in the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth on Sunday, January 5. 

During the meeting, Freeholder Angel G. Estrada of Elizabeth was selected as Vice Chairman. Freeholder Sergio Granados of Elizabeth and Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski of Cranford were sworn in for new terms. Freeholder Rebecca Williams of Plainfield was sworn in to her first full term, having served a partial term in 2019. Union County Surrogate James S. LaCorte was sworn in for a new term.

This is Mirabella’s fifth term as Freeholder Chairman, having previously served in 2001, 2006, 2009, and 2012.

Mirabella took note of challenges that lie ahead, pledging that the Freeholder Board will continue to support initiatives that strengthen the Union County community.

“With that in mind, this year my Chairman’s Initiatives aim at supporting the pillars of strength that define our community: our beautiful neighborhoods, our wonderful can-do spirit, and the rich diversity of our citizens,” said Mirabella.

The “Union County 2020: Inclusion, Safety, and Outreach” initiatives are:

Keeping Union County Safe and Secure

  • Expansion of the Union County Regional Dispatch Center, a shared service handling emergency calls for County and regional response units as well as medical centers and municipal responders. The Dispatch Center launched in 2012 with a half-dozen municipalities on board. Currently the facility handles calls for 14 municipalities and two medical centers along with six County and regional units, and usage is expected to grow.
  • Distribution of new fire radios, a shared service enabling municipal fire departments to communicate more effectively with County responders during emergencies. Under this program, Union County will distribute a total of 62 radios to seven municipal fire departments: Clark, Fanwood, Garwood, Hillside, Kenilworth, Mountainside and Plainfield.

Union County 2020

  • Partner with Union County College, Kean University, municipalities and many other “complete count” committees dedicated to ensuring the highest possible participation in the 2020 Census. Union County has also recruited high school students to help engage the public through the UC-STEP youth development and leadership program.
  • Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which provided voting rights to women.
  • Repurpose County property on Cushing Road to serve as a working farm created and run by students at the Union County Vocational-Technical School District in Scotch Plains, connecting the campus with important trends in urban agriculture and the farm-to-table economy.
  • With the assistance of Union County’s grant writer, launch a new online Grant Portal to help municipalities find grant opportunities.

Union County Means Business for All

  • Partner with the Union County Economic Development Corporation on programs that focus on women, minority, veteran, and LGBTQ businesses.
  • Explore a partnership with Union County College for a new Business Trades Apprenticeship program.

Union County Cares

  • Partner with the international Prevention Access “Undetectable = Untransmittable” Campaign in support of efforts to eradicate HIV and end HIV-related stigma. The Union County Office of LGBTQ Affairs will work with the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation to spearhead the effort, which includes advocates in almost 100 countries across the world. Governor Phil Murphy has also signed New Jersey on to the campaign.
  • Launch new “Fresh Start” initiative will provide mobile bathing and laundry service for people in need.
  • Adapt indoor riding ring at Watchung Stable for wheelchair accessibility.
  • Review signage at Union County parks and public recreation facilities to help ensure access and inclusion for all visitors.

In addition to the Chairman’s Initiatives, Union County will continue ongoing work and launch other new programs.

Among the highlights for public recreation, work will progress Master Plan for the reservoir in Clark, and new turf fields will open later this year at Snyder Avenue Park in Berkeley Heights, Madison Avenue Park in Rahway, and Oak Ridge Park in Clark.

In addition, this summer a new pilot program bringing the County’s popular summer camps from the Watchung Reservation in Mountainside to Warinanco Park in Roselle. Other projects include the addition of an audio feed to the Peregrine Falcon Cam in Elizabeth, and a full slate of programs at the Trailside Nature and Science Center leading up to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22.

“I would like to take a moment to, in advance, to recognize our entire Union County team of employees for their diligence, professionalism, and dedication to public service,” said Mirabella in closing. “I’m proud of each County employee, who in their own way, contribute to all our collective success. Thanks to their efforts in years past, we are all looking forward to a brighter future.”

Speech

Union County 2020 Re-Organization Meeting
Union County Courthouse, 2 Broad Street, Elizabeth
Remarks of Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella
January 5, 2020

“Union County 2020”
Inclusion, Safety, and Outreach

Reverend Clergy, Judge Cassidy (thank you for the use of your court room today), members of the Freeholder Board, elected officials, friends, family and citizens of Union County: I would like to thank you for joining us as we welcome another New Year.

Many thanks to Senator Scutari for swearing me in. I appreciate our friendship from my 1st day on this Freeholder Board.

I have always admired your public service since your Freeholder days to your many years as my State Senator. I appreciate your hard work and dedication as our Chairman – you have led us to unprecedented victories and brought our party together and work tirelessly leading our party in Union County.

Thank you for all you do!

Special thanks to Governor Murphy, Congressman Malinowski.

Our state Senators and Assemblywomen and Assemblymen. […]

I always appreciate the friendship of Mayor Bollwage – I had the chance to attend Elizabeth’s Reorganization on New Year’s Day and I’m continually impressed with the Mayor’s accomplishment and his vision for his City!

I want to introduce my family who is here, my wonderful wife Phyllis and children Alex, his girlfriend Becca and Micayla, sister-in-law Antoinetta and […]

I want to congratulate our new Vice Chairman, Angel Estrada – we have served together for over 2 decades, quite a record, and I know he will work hard, as he always does, and will be a great partner.

To my colleagues being sworn in today, I wish you the best of success and congratulations on your re-election.

I would like to thank Freeholder Kowalski for her outstanding leadership of this Board in 2019 – we had a very productive year, kept focused on our priorities and accomplished a very aggressive agenda.

Freeholder Granados on his re-election – he is clearly one of the hardest working public servants in the entire state of New Jersey.

Freeholder Williams elected to her first, of many, full term on the board. She is passionate in her conviction and is a large part of the heart and soul of this board.

Together with Freeholders Garretson, Hudak and my running mates, Freeholders Palmieri-Mouded and Staten, we make quite a team!

As we stand on the cusp of a new decade, I would like to pause for a moment and reflect on the state of Union County last year.

Over the past I2 months we have moved forward on Veterans’ services, improvements to our recreation facilities, and new Shared Services to help Municipalities.

As 2019 drew to a close, we achieved:

Renewal of off-peak one-seat ride service on the Raritan Valley Line – Thank you, Congressman Malinowski;

A green light for the Tremley Point connector road in Linden;

And, the purchase of additional open space for Nomahegan Park.

While this record is very satisfying, we cannot rest here. We face many new challenges today.

Among those challenges is a rising tide of intolerance that has spread across America.

And so I pledge, here and now, that this Freeholder Board will do everything in our power to help strengthen the bonds in our community so that every individual, from every walk of life, truly feels that they are at home here in Union County.

With that in mind, this year my Chairman’s Initiatives aim at supporting the pillars of strength that define our community: our beautiful neighborhoods, our wonderful can-do spirit, and the rich diversity of our citizens.

My Chairman’s Initiatives are titled, “Union County 2020: Inclusion, Safety, and Outreach.”

First, let’s start with the basics -our public safety infrastructure.

My first initiative is called “Keeping Union County Safe and Secure.”

This is a shared services initiative that helps local communities expand their access to emergency services and public health.

One highlight will be the expansion of the Union County Regional Dispatch Center in Westfield.

The Dispatch Center handles 14 municipalities, along with two medical centers, and six County and regional emergency response teams.

With our population growing, now is the time to expand this essential community resource.

Also, we are going to provide seven local fire departments with new radios, to help improve communications with County personnel during emergencies.

My second initiative addresses another basic foundation of community life, and that is our economic health.

Titled “Union County Means Business for All,” this initiative aims to support entrepreneurship and career development among our residents.

We are going to partner with the Union County Economic Development Corporation on programs that focus on women, minority, veteran, and LGBTQ businesses.

We will also explore a program with Union County College for a new Business Trades Apprenticeship program. I appreciate the partnership of President McMenamin.

And, in another expansion of shared services, with the help of our grant writer, we will offer a new Grant Writing portal to help our municipalities connect with new funding opportunities.

There is another element that is equally essential, and this is one that really gets to the heart of who we are as a community.

And that is, respect for the fundamental human rights and dignity of every person.

Over the years, this Freeholder Board has fostered many programs that help ensure everyone in Union County feels safe, secure, included, and respected.

We have advocated for equal rights and equal dignity, and we have reached out to those who are under-served, and under-appreciated.

With the next two initiatives, entitled “Union County 2020” and “Union County Cares,” we are going to build on this foundation, and continue working to create a community in which everyone counts.

And so, our first order of business this year is to start from the ground up.

We are commencing an all-hands-on-deck effort to raise awareness about the 2020 Census.

Simply put, if we want to make sure that everyone counts in our community, we need to make sure that everyone is counted.

The Census is fundamental to everything we do as a community, including grants for public safety, roads and bridges, and social services.

We are working with our UC-STEP student volunteers and many other community partners to get the word out.

This year we will also reach out to Union County residents with new programs focusing on acceptance and inclusion.

Some are modest in scale, but they can make all the difference for someone who needs a helping hand.

For example, we are launching a new mobile shower and laundry service for people in need.

This year we will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment in honor of the hard-fought battle for women’s voting rights.

We will also improve access to the indoor riding ring at Watchung Stable for people with disabilities, and we will be reviewing signage at all of our County parks to ensure that everyone who comes to enjoy them feels at home.

And, we will continue to expand on our public recreation resources in Union County.

One major project this year will be the development of a Master Plan for the reservoir in Clark.

Education remains a top priority for this Freeholder Board.

We will also explore a partnership with the Union County Vo-Tech schools in Scotch Plains, to establish a working farm created and run by the students.

This new facility will provide many new opportunities for hands-on learning, and connect our youth with important new trends in urban agriculture and the farm-to-table economy.

This project will build on the phenomenal growth we have seen in the Vo­ Tech schools’ campus over the years.

Union County’s Vo-Tech schools regularly rank near the top in state and national surveys. This Freeholder Board is proud to support outstanding, free public education!

We continue to be proud to support scholarships for qualifying students at Union County College, which has ramped up its programming at all three campuses (Cranford, Elizabeth and Plainfield), and is among the top two-year institutions in the entire State of New Jersey.

Kean University has grown into a world class institution with new additions to its campus including the new Hynes Hall, set to open this year.

This County has enjoyed a terrific partnership with retiring Kean University President, Dawood Farahi -I wish him the best. He truly has significantly improved the campus and enhanced the worldwide reputation of Kean University!

I want to close by drawing your attention to one especially important outreach project that we will undertake in 2020.

This next initiative builds on our past work.

In 2006, we became one of the first counties in New Jersey to extend health benefits to Domestic Partnerships; and later, one of the first to support marriage equality.

Letters and emails of support came pouring in from all over the county.

These messages inspired us to keep working hard until the equal rights of LGBTQ families and individuals are the law of the land.

I will repeat what I said in this very room 14 years ago, almost to this day:

“We are proud to live with residents who support the principles of fairness and dignity for all Americans. Rest assured, this Freeholder Board will never back down from doing the right thing.”

And so, I am very proud to announce that this year, Union County is joining the Prevention Access Campaign.

This campaign is a community of advocates in almost 100 countries across the world, who are working to end the dual epidemics of HIV and HIV-related stigma.

Governor Phil Murphy, has also joined New Jersey in this global effort. Thank you, Governor.

The centerpiece of the Prevention Access Campaign is “U = U,” which stands for “Undetectable equals Untransmittable.”

U = U is a message of strength and unity.

It stands for the triumph of the global fight against AIDS through science, research, and education.

And, it recognizes that ignorance is one of the last remaining barriers to fall before the epidemic is stopped.

Union County will help amplify the U = U message, and I am proud to say that we have already laid the groundwork through our Office of LGBTQ Affairs.

We created this Office in 2018 with a mission to educate and inform.

Since its launch, the LGBTQ office has worked to connect our residents with community resources and leading advocacy organizations.

I am proud to say that we will be joining with the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation on the U=U campaign.

And, we will be supporting Garden State Equality in their fight for an end to laws that discourage people from getting a diagnosis and receiving treatment.

And since it will be such a busy year, I would like to take a moment, in advance, to recognize our entire Union County team of employees for their diligence, professionalism, and dedication to public service.

County Manager Oatman, Deputy County Manager Wagner and the rest of the directors in our County deserve the credit for our County’s outstanding service and reputation.

I also want to thank Jim Pellettiere, our Freeholder Clerk; and Niko Micheludis, my confidential aide, who works as hard as anyone in the County.

I’m proud of each County employee, who in their own way, contribute to all our collective success.

Thanks to their efforts in years past, we are all looking forward to a brighter future.

All of my personal public service would not be possible without the support of my family, my children Alex and Micayla and my wife Phyllis.

Phyllis, who is a part of as many boards and committees as I  am, always finds time to keep our family all together and give me the help I need – whether its advice or just to listen.

You continue to be my inspiration –    I love you!

And with that, I thank you all for joining us today, and I wish you all a happy and successful new year.