The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders appointed Edward Oatman to be the new County Manager effective March 1st.
Oatman, 42, has more than 16 years of governmental experience. He is the 12th top executive under the County Manager form of government. Oatman assumes responsibility for the day-to-day operations and budget of a 21-municipality government with approximately 2,800 full-time employees. He will be responsible for the implementation of the policy of the Board of Chosen Freeholders.
“I would like to thank the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders for this opportunity as well as the residents of Union County,” said Oatman. “I look forward to continuing the vision and course of action the Freeholder Board has set, and to deliver the best possible services to our residents. It is an honor to serve the public in this position.”
Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados congratulated and welcomed Oatman.
“Ed has more than 16 years of governmental experience at the state and in working with officials at the local and county levels of government, as well as experience in running a business,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados, who added that Oatman had reached out to every Freeholder on the Board prior to his confirmation. “We are excited to work with him in moving Union County forward.”
Freeholder Vice Chairman Bette Jane Kowalski added that the Board has confidence in Oatman’s abilities having worked through him over the years on state issues involving Senator Scutari and former Assemblywoman Linda Stender.
“Ed has great experience in developing solutions to complex issues,” said Kowalski. “He brings the added dimension of his statewide contacts and experience, and his ability to build a consensus in getting things done.”
Over the years, Oatman has worked to assist Senator Scutari and former Assemblywoman Stender in developing landmark environmental, public safety, health and infrastructure legislation. He has served as Chief of Staff for Senator Scutari for the past six years and for Assemblyman Jim Kennedy for the past two years. Oatman was the Union County Campaign Coordinator for Governor Phil Murphy. Oatman previously served as Chief of Staff for former Assemblywoman Linda Stender from 2002-16. He is a partner in Parktowne Associates, a small business focusing on political consulting and community and governmental affairs.
Oatman has worked on bills that would prohibit individuals on the terror watch list from being able to purchase a gun in New Jersey; the Global Warming Response Act signed by then Governor Corzine; a measure reducing the use of pesticides in schools; the Pedestrian safety legislation which provides pedestrians with a clear right to safely navigate New Jersey’s roadways; and a bill that consolidated the NJ Turnpike and the Parkway, resulting in millions in savings to taxpayers.
Oatman also worked with various levels of government in efforts that resulted in funding for the Tremley Point Connector road in Linden, a long-sought infrastructure project that is vital to improving roadway safety and fueling economic development in the region.
Working on behalf of Stender and Scutari, Oatman worked to aid a local Scotch Plains family as Scutari amended a law to change the form of Marijuana that could be distributed for medicinal purposes. Christie ultimately vetoed the measure and the case made national news as it involved a two-year-old Scotch Plains resident who suffered from a catastrophic, drug-resistant form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome.
As County Manager, Oatman added he would continue to follow the Board’s vision of realizing economic efficiencies, maintaining the County’s high bond rating, while continuing the trend of delivering solid services that touch all residents and working families at every stage in life.
“These are all areas this Freeholder Board has excelled in governing, and I will continue to move the needle forward,” said Oatman.
Oatman also emphasized the importance of continuing to jumpstart economic development, especially infrastructure improvements including roadway projects, while providing new job opportunities to residents.
“We certainly look forward to working with our new Governor, who shares many of the same priorities as the Freeholder Board does,” said Oatman.
Oatman has a Bachelor’s of Science in Political from Kean University. Oatman currently serves on the Kean University Board of Trustees; and has been active in his hometown of Woodbridge, having served on the Boards of the Woodbridge Little League; and the Woodbridge Township Youth Soccer Association. He is a member of the Mawbey Street School & Woodbridge Middle School PTO.
Oatman is married and has three children, and lives in Woodbridge with the family dog, Buddy the Beagle.