BY KATHY CHANG
NEW BRUNSWICK — Leslie Koppel has become the first person from Monroe Township to be represented on the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders’ dais.
On Feb. 16, Koppel was sworn in to the seat, which was vacated by longtime Deputy Freeholder Director Carol Barrett Bellante, who announced her resignation from the board in January. She remained on the board through Feb. 2.
“Carol Bellante was an exceptional leader who forged the way for a lot of women,” Koppel said. “I’m excited to take her place and follow her path.”
Koppel, who grew up in Monroe Township and served on the Monroe Township Council for 10 years, most recently as council president, said her hometown always had a great working relationship with the county and the Board of Chosen Freeholders.
“I loved being on the council and I am going to miss everyone who I have worked with,” she said.
She said the county always helped the township with preserving open space and helping out with their roads.
Koppel said with the continuing growth of Monroe Township, she hopes to represent her hometown on the freeholder board.
“This is a new opportunity and everyone in the county has been very professional,” she said, adding that she looks forward to working with her new team of freeholders.
Koppel, who will serve on the board’s Finance Committee, said she will serve the remaining of Bellante’s term through Dec. 31, 2017, and said she will run for her first elected freeholder seat in the November election.
Freeholder Charles Tomaro was nominated and sworn in as deputy director at the meeting on Feb. 16.
On March 6, the Monroe Township Council is expected to select their nomination from three candidates to fill Koppel’s seat on the council.