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Christopher Hudak sworn in as new Union County Surrogate

Christopher Hudak of Clark has been sworn in as the 16th Union County Surrogate. Hudak assumes the position of Surrogate after serving 12 years on the Union County Board of County Commissioners, formerly the Board of Chosen Freeholders, where he served as Vice Chair this past year.

“I thank the residents of Union County for their confidence in first electing me in 2010 and now it is an honor to have been elected Union County Surrogate. Serving our constituents has been one of the greatest privileges of my professional life and I look forward to serving all of our residents in a different capacity,” said Union County Surrogate Chris Hudak. “As I begin the work of the Surrogate, I remember my predecessor, James S. LaCorte, who held this position for 20 years and was a man of grace. My staff and I are committed to extending that same poise to anyone who walks through our doors.”

Hudak was nominated by Governor Phil Murphy in October to complete the unexpired term of Surrogate LaCorte in October and was confirmed by the New Jersey Senate. He will begin a new five-year term on January 1, 2023.

The County Surrogate is an elected position, established by the New Jersey Constitution, which oversees the probating of wills, qualification of will executors, appointment of administrators for those estates without wills, and qualification of guardians for incapacitated persons and minors, as well as certain matters related to adoption. The office also operates the Surrogate’s Intermingled Trust Fund for Minors and Incapacitated Persons. Elections for County Surrogate are held every five years.

While on the Board of County Commissioners, Hudak led the creation of the Union County Infrastructure Grant program, which to date has distributed over $12 million in matching grants for road resurfacing and other municipal infrastructure priorities. He proudly sponsored the County’s initiative to combat heroin addiction by supporting Operation Helping Hand, which connects residents with rehab services, created a grants program to support STEM opportunities in elementary and middle schools countywide, and during his tenure, Union County became the first county, nationwide, to ask gun vendors for their positions on gun safety.

A licensed attorney, Hudak’s experience in public and non-profit service includes Kean University, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, the Partnership for a DrugFree New Jersey, and as a staff member in the New Jersey Assembly and State Senate. Hudak graduated from Roselle Catholic High School, holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Kean University, and received his Juris Doctorate, as well as his Bachelor’s Degree, from Rutgers University. He was born and raised in Linden, and now resides in Clark with his wife, Terri, their daughter, Catherine, and son, Jackson.

The Union County Surrogate’s office is located in the Union County Courthouse at 2 Broad Street, Elizabeth NJ 07207.

For more information about the programs and services of the Union County Surrogate, visit ucnj.org/surrogate, email ucsurrogate@ucnj.org or call 908-527-4280.  Questions and concerns may also be faxed to the Surrogate’s Office at 908-351-9212.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form. Connect with Union County on social media

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Union County to hold emergency Holiday Food Distribution on November 19

The Union County Board of County Commissioners informs residents of an upcoming emergency food distribution event for Union County residents on Saturday, November 19th.

Details are as follows:

  • Saturday, November 19, 2022 at 8:00 a.m.
  • KEAN University in Union Township, located at 1000 Morris Avenue
  • Drive-Thru

The food distribution is open to all Union County residents. Food will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and no registration is required. The events will take place rain or shine.

“Union County recognizes that with recent inflation and residual effects of the pandemic, many residents continue to experience food insecurity,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “Tens of thousands of households within Union County have benefitted from our food distribution programs over the past two and a half years.”

Residents wishing to pick up food at the drive-up distribution event at Kean University must arrive in a vehicle. Walk-ups will not be accommodated.

“The Commissioner Board is holding this food distribution as we recognize that the holiday season is upon us and food distributions are a continuous lifeline for many who are still struggling financially. This helps ease some of the costs associated with the holiday season for our residents,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados who also serves as Liaison to the Human Services Advisory Board. “We thank Village Super Market, Gargiulo Produce and all volunteers for their continued collaboration.”

All drive-up recipients must remain in their cars. Food boxes will be placed in the trunk or truck bed of the vehicle by volunteers.

Upon arrival, proof of New Jersey residency and indication of how many people reside in their household will have to be provided. Recipients will receive a special holiday food box and produce with all the trimmings. Please note that only one box of food will be provided per recipient.

To learn more about Village Super Market, visit: https://www.myvillagesupermarket.com. To learn more about Gargiulo Produce, visit: http://www.gargiuloproduce.com.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form. Connect with Union County on social media.

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Shakespeare returns to Union County with “The Tragedy of Macbeth”, November 19th in Plainfield

The Union County Board of County Commissioners and the City of Plainfield are proud to sponsor a free screening of the 2021 film, “The Tragedy of Macbeth” at the Plainfield Performing Arts Center, located at 724 Park Avenue in Plainfield on Saturday, November 19, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.

Pre-registration is encouraged. To register, visit: ucnj.org/reserve.

 “The 2021 version of ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ is a wonderful film adaptation of a William Shakespeare work,” Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “Union County is proud to sponsor this free cultural event in conjunction with the City of Plainfield for our residents.”

A powerful adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, the film stars Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand as the iconic married couple, who are willing to go to any means to take power over 11th-century Scotland. Nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Denzel Washington, this is a compelling and unique vision of a timeless work.

“We continue to present a diverse lineup of arts and cultural events at the Plainfield Performing Arts Center (PPAC).  The County of Union is a great partner and supporter of the arts here in Plainfield and we’re proud to have their support and collaboration as we present this film screening of a beloved and acclaimed play.  We hope to see our residents as well as friends from neighboring municipalities come out and enjoy this theatrical treat,” said Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp.

To attend this special showing, please register at ucnj.org/reserve, as space is limited. “The Tragedy of Macbeth” is rated R and is for mature audiences. The screening is open to Union County residents. 

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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Union County Begins Code Blue Emergency Shelter Initiative 2022-2023 Season

The Union County Department of Human Services will again institute the Countywide Code Blue (CB) Initiative in an effort to prevent death and injury among homeless and housing insecure persons during periods of extreme weather conditions with temperatures at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit with precipitation.

“Last winter, over 5,000 placements were made in safe and secure shelter during a total of 91 Code Blue nights,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “Union County is proud to once again provide emergency shelter assistance to individuals and families in need during the coldest nights of winter.”

When extreme weather conditions are predicted, Union County Department of Human Services will implement a Countywide Code Blue.  During the Code Blue period, emergency shelters will be asked to increase their bed capacity.  Once shelters are filled to capacity, alternate arrangements will be coordinated by the Division of Human Services within the Department of Human Services and the State of New Jersey’s Homeless Hotline (NJ 211) outside of Division of Social Services business hours.

“The purpose of the Code Blue initiative is to keep our most vulnerable individuals out of harsh environments for their own health and safety,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, Liaison to the Human Services Advisory. “It is so important to keep people off the streets, but it becomes even more imperative in the brutal winter months. Our top priority is the safety of our residents and this service helps those most at-risk stay safe and warm.”

“Due to the adverse living situations experienced by homeless persons, the U.S. Census and other broad counts of the homeless are often underestimated,” said Director of Human Services, Debbie-Ann Anderson. “The support of community organizations, local police and social service providers is necessary to ensure that our most vulnerable residents seeking shelter are afforded an opportunity to come in from the cold during dangerous and severe weather conditions.”

Notification will be provided to municipal police departments via the County Police hotline by 10:00 a.m., when a Code Blue is called. Code Blue referrals will be accepted during daytime hours only between 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. During these hours, homeless individuals and families should be referred to the Union County Division of Social Services, located at 342 Westminster Avenue in Elizabeth or 200 West 2nd Street in Plainfield.

For outside of the Division of Social Services business hours (8:30 am – 3:00 pm) and overnight assistance, the State of New Jersey’s Homeless Hotline (NJ 211) is available and can be reached by dialing 211 or 877-746-5211.  Municipalities are asked to accommodate homeless individuals locally overnight whenever possible.

All Code Blue alerts will be sent via the Union County First Alert system. For those wishing to register to receive First Alerts, should email codeblue@ucnj.org with the following information: first & last name, email address, and a request to be added to the distribution list. An email response containing a registration link allowing modification to account information will be sent.

For more details about the Countywide Code Blue Initiative, contact Agnes Oboz at (908) 527-4842 or via email at codeblue@ucnj.org.

To contact the Union County Department of Human Services, residents can use the online contact form at ucnj.org/dhs, email the DHS Action Line at DHSaction@ucnj.org, or call 908-527-4847.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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Union County Announces Shared Services Agreement with Union College

The Union County Board of County Commissioners announced that it has entered into a Shared Services Agreement with Union College of Union County for Health and Prescription Benefits Administration.

The resolution was presented at the most recent Agenda Setting Meeting of the Board of County Commissioners on October 20th.

“The establishment of this shared services agreement is mutually beneficial and the Commissioner Board is proud to work collaboratively with Union College of Union County,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca L. Williams.

The County of Union partnered in a Shared Services Agreement, offering Union College the opportunity to participate in the County’s benefits plan as a subgroup, with the College paying the County a fully-insured premium equivalent on the first of each month.

“The ongoing partnership between the County and Union College has existed on multiple levels over the years, benefitting all County residents in different ways,” said County Manager Ed Oatman. “Participation with the County’s Health and Prescription Benefits plan is projected to save Union College approximately $500,000 in 2023.”

The Shared Services Agreement will represent an 8% savings for Union College through 2023 and encourage a reduction in expenses. The agreement will commence on January 1, 2023 and will run for 24 month with an option to renew for another 24 months.

“We appreciate the County partnering with us to provide health insurance to our College employees at a time when those costs are continuing to climb. By entering into this shared services agreement, we are able to save costs while maintaining a comparable level of service,” said Union College of Union County, NJ President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin

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Union County Clerk Provides How-To Videos for Voters

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi is providing voters with two new videos that explain voting procedures for the 2022 midterm elections. Election Day 2022 is Tuesday, November 8.

“Voters have the ability to choose between different ways to cast their ballot. These videos are designed as a supplement to the written instructions provided on their ballot, in order to help voters understand the different processes and choose the one that works best for them,” said Ms. Rajoppi.

The two videos now available on the County Clerk’s website, unioncountyvotes.com and on the Union County Votes mobile app:

  • Three Ways to Vote: Early voting, returning a Vote-by-Mail ballot, and voting on Election Day. 
  • How to Vote by Mail: The correct procedure for filling out a Vote-by-Mail ballot.

For more information about the County Clerk’s election services visit unioncountyvotes.com or contact the Elections Division at 908-527-4996 or ucvote@ucnj.org.

For more information about all County Clerk programs and services, visit online at ucnj.org/county-clerk or call 908-527-4787.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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Union County Clerk Extends Office Hours for General Election Voters Using Mail-In Ballots

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi reminds voters that her offices in Elizabeth and Westfield will be open for extended hours on Saturday, November 5, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., for anyone seeking to obtain a Vote-by-Mail ballot for the 2022 General Election..

“The Saturday hours help ensure that everyone who applies for a Vote-by-Mail ballot can do so, without having to take time off from work or other weekday responsibilities,” said Ms. Rajoppi.

Voters who use the County Clerk’s One-Stop service can come to the Elizabeth or Westfield office, apply for their ballot, receive it, fill it out, and deposit it in a secure drop-box on site, all in the same visit. Privacy booths are located at the offices for voters to fill out their ballot.

The office locations and hours are:

Union County Courthouse

2 Broad Street, Room 113

Elizabeth

Regular hours: Monday – Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm

Open Saturday, November 5, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm for Vote-by-Mail

Colleen Fraser Building

300 North Avenue East (Union County services complex)

Westfield

Regular hours:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8:00am – 4:00pm; also open

Tuesday, Thursday: 8:00am – 7:30pm

Saturday: 9:00am – 1:00pm

For more information about Vote-by-Mail ballots and all other elections information visit the Union County Clerk’s elections website, unioncountyvotes.com or contact the office at 908-527-4996 or ucvote@ucnj.org.

For more information about all County Clerk programs and services, visit online at ucnj.org/county-clerk or call 908-527-4787.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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Union County Board of Elections Reminds Vote by Mail Voters to Return Their Ballots

Voters have four ways to return Vote by Mail ballots

The Union County Board of Elections reminds Vote-by-Mail Ballot voters to return their ballots on time.

“There are several ways to return your Vote-by-Mail ballots,” said Board of Elections Administrator, Nicole DiRado. “We encourage all VBM voters to return their ballots as soon as possible.”

Residents wishing to use Vote-by-Mail ballots can

  • Secure Ballot Drop Box: There are 24 secure ballot drop boxes available to Union County Voters, with at least one in each town.  Ballots are picked up every day and returned to the Board of Elections for processing.  Ballots must be deposited into the drop by 8:00pm on Election Day.  For a complete list of drop boxes, check the Board’s website at www.ucnj.org/ucboe.
  • United States Post Office (or third party delivery service): Voters can drop their ballot in the mail.  So long as the ballot is postmarked on or before Election Day and received within 6 days of election, the voter’s ballot will be canvassed. 
  • In Person Delivery:  Ballots can be delivered in-person to the Union County Board of Elections.  The Board of Elections is open 8am – 4pm Monday through Friday.  The Board of Elections will have special openings on November 5 (9:00am – 2:00pm) and November 6 (10am – 2pm).  The Board will be open on Election Day from 6:00am to 8:00pm. The last time to deliver a ballot in-person is 8:00pm on Election Day.  Voters wishing to deliver their ballot in person must present a NJ Driver’s License or NJ-Issued ID.
  • Bearer Delivery:  Voters can ask a trusted person to serve as a bearer of their ballot.  If a person other than the voter is returning a ballot, the bearer portion of the outer envelope must be completed by the bearer in the presence of the voter.  Bearers can deliver a maximum of 3 ballots.  However, a bearer may deliver up to 5 ballots for family members living in the same household.  In-person delivery of a bearer ballot requires the bearer to present a NJ Driver’s License or NJ-Issued ID.

For more information about returning your vote by mail ballot, early voting, your election day voting location or other important election matters, please contact the Union County Board of Elections:  908-527-4123 / ucboe@ucnj.org / www.ucnj.org/ucboe.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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Union County to Host Maritime Transportation, Logistics and Development Job Fair on October 20 in Elizabeth

Multiple employment and credential opportunities to be offered at event at Union College

The Union County Board of County Commissioners, in partnership with the Department of Human Services, Port Authority, Union College and the American Job Center, will host a job fair for Union County residents ages 18 and older on Thursday, October from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.. The job fair will take place at Union College of Union County on the 5th floor of the Kellogg Building, located at 40 W. Jersey Street in Elizabeth. The event is free to attend.

“We encourage residents to attend this job fair, as it is an excellent opportunity for job seekers to meet employers in the transportation, logistics and development workforce.” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “On behalf of the Commissioner Board, I would like to thank the Department of Human Services, the Port Authority CPP, the American Job Center and Union College for their collaboration in making this event possible.”

This Port Authority partner agency for the job fair is the Port of New York and New Jersey’s Council on Port Performance. The Council on Port Performance (CPP) provides oversight on the implementation of programs and initiatives that improve efficiency and service reliability at the Port of New York & New Jersey. The CPP brings together a cross section of stakeholders with expertise in all areas of ocean transportation and logistics, including trucking. These volunteers put their expertise and creative ideas together to ensure productive and efficient cargo movement for all port customers.

The objective of this event is to help maritime transportation, logistics and distribution (TLD) employers to recruit potential candidates for careers in this business sector. According to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL), TLD is the third largest employment sector in the state. The job fair will allow employers to promote training, available job openings and viable career pathways to community members. Independent Owner Operators will also be given the opportunity to connect with Licensed Motor Carriers. 

“The Maritime TLD Job Fair is a great way for job seekers to identify pathways to obtain new credentials while targeting career advancement,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, liaison to the Workforce Development Board. “Attendees will have a chance to discover opportunities for in-demand, critical roles. The Commissioner Board works to continuously provide those seeking employment with a variety of pathways to further their professional curriculums.”

The Maritime TLD Job Fair is free to attend and registration is encouraged. To sign up for this event, residents can visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/port-authority-job-fair-tickets-432533297737.

Along with the Port Authority CPP and Union College of Union County, the Maritime TLD Job Fair is being coordinated by the American Job Center within the Union County Department of Human Services. For more information about future job fairs/hiring events, please call the American Job Center at (908) 558-8000. To contact the Union County Department of Human Services, residents can use the online contact form at ucnj.org/dhs, email the DHS Action Line at DHSaction@ucnj.org, or call 908-527-4847.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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Union County to Host Inclusive Hiring Event for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and to honor that, the Union County Board of County Commissioners, in partnership with the Department of Human Services, the Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs and the American Job Center, will host an Inclusive Hiring Event for Union County residents with disabilities and specials needs who are 18 years of age and older on Friday, October 28, 2022.

“We encourage all residents to attend this inclusive hiring event, where they can speak in-person with representatives from various companies and learn about the different positions available,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “This is a great opportunity and on behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs and the American Job Center and its participants for coordinating these efforts.”

Beginning at 10:00 a.m., the Inclusive Hiring event will be held at the Warinanco Sports Center, located at 1 Park Drive in Warinanco Park. Various positions are available with employers Walgreens, Council for Airport Opportunity (CAO), Port Authority of NY/NJ, and IKEA.

“After speaking to many residents and their families about hosting an inclusive hiring event  dedicated to those with special needs and disabilities, I brought this initiative to our committee and I am so thankful we were able to put this together for our residents,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, liaison to the Workforce Development Board. “We have worked with the employers you will find at this hiring event at previous events and they continue to advocate for our County community. Holding this hiring event truly embraces inclusivity and I hope everyone looking for employment will join us.”

While this is a free event, registration is required. The deadline is register is October 21, 2022. To sign up for this event, residents can visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inclusive-hiring-event-tickets-390661568267 .

“The Council for Airport Opportunity is excited to partner with the Union County Board of County Commissioners to present airport employment opportunities at the upcoming inclusive hiring event,” said a representative from CAO. “The Council for Airport Opportunity works to support people from all backgrounds and abilities to secure employment at our local airports.  We are committed to helping all of our customers attain success in their career goals.  Our airports are booming with activity and we want to ensure that local residents of all backgrounds are benefiting from the jobs created by this economic engine.”

“Walgreens is excited to be a hiring employer at this Inclusive Hiring Event and look forward to meeting our customers who may potentially become team members,” said a representative from Walgreens.

“The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has a long-standing commitment to an inclusionary workplace and continues to take steps to cultivate, recognize and celebrate a welcoming and respectful work environment,” said Daniel Duffy, President, Port Authority Abilities Network.  “Events such as this help us develop a pool of highly qualified job applicants that reflects our commitment. Additionally, the Port Authority Abilities Network is instrumental in meeting the agency’s commitment to exceptional customer service.”

The Inclusive Hiring Event is an event of the Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs, under the Division of Individual and Family Support Services and the American Job Center, Union County Department of Human Services. This event was made possible by a grant provided to us through the Kessler Foundation.

More information about the Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs, please call the office at 908-527-4807 or 908-527-4781. For more information about future job fairs/hiring events, please call the American Job Center at (908) 558-8000.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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