Forget the aphorism—for Camden County’s freeholder board, it was in with the old, in with the new at its 2013 reorganization meeting.
Jeffrey Nash, of Cherry Hill, the longest-serving freeholder, first elected in 1991, and new freeholder Michelle Gentek, of Gloucester Township, were both sworn in alongside fellow freeholder Ian Leonard among a standing-room-only crowd at Camden City Hall Friday evening.
While it might’ve seemed like old hat to Nash, who started in government by serving on the Cherry Hill township council in 1990, the longtime freeholder said the election process and rejoining the board still holds plenty of meaning.
“Even after eight terms, it is extremely humbling…to see how many people are actually going into a voting booth, exercising that privilege, that right to vote and pulling your lever,” he said. “As long as I’ve been with the board, I’ve always treated it not as a job, but as a passion.”
Nash touched on his experience of the past several days, having sat in on various reorganization meetings across the county, as embodying that same spirit.
“You recognize just how many people in their hometowns are serving with very little, if any compensation, that take time out of their lives to walk away from their families and their jobs to do work in their community,” he said. “We should all be very grateful.”
Gentek followed a similar theme, but paid tribute to her family, specifically, for allowing her to make the jump to the freeholder board, which she acknowledged would result in more than a few hours away from her three sons.
“With this position comes a lot of sacrifice,” Gentek, who served three years on Gloucester Township Council, said.
But her brief speech following the swearing-in ceremonies was also colored with hope for what she can accomplish with that sacrifice.
“I don’t take this position for granted,” she said, addressing the audience. “I’m really looking forward to being here to be your voice.”