November 11, 2011
League to Present Annual Distinguished Public Service Award During Annual Conference
In 2004 the League of Municipalities Executive Board and Officers established an award to honor individuals or organizations that have, over a period of time, made substantial contributions to our State through their distinguished public service. This year on Thursday, November 17th during the League Delegate Luncheon, the 7th Annual Distinguished Public Service Award will be presented to three individuals who have valiantly served the public in their own unique way - Former New Jersey Senator Bill Schluter, New Jersey Police Superintendent Colonel Joseph “Rick” Fuentes and Rutgers University Professor Emeritus Ernie Reock.
The Honorable Bill Schluter began his public service as a member of the Pennington Borough Council. After six distinguished years in that office, he was elected to serve in the New Jersey General Assembly and, subsequently, as a State Senator. During his tenure in the Legislature, Senator Schluter was an eloquent and independent voice for, among many policies, ethics reforms, environmental protection and historic preservation initiatives. His support for municipal land use regulations and off-site improvement assessments earned him recognition as “Public Enemy #1 for the developers.” While in the State Senate, he came to the conclusion that the State Legislature was unlikely to seriously address New Jersey’s chronic over-reliance on regressive property taxes. As an alternative, Senator Schluter developed the idea, and drafted legislation to accomplish the convening of a Citizens’ Convention for Property Tax Reform. He left the Legislature in 2001 to pursue an independent campaign for the Governor’s Office. Since leaving elective office, Senator Schluter has remained active in New Jersey affairs, most notably as a Founder and Co-chairman of the government watchdog group, Citizens for the Public Good. In that capacity, he remains a leading and eloquent advocate for property tax reform. In 2003, he joined with the League of Municipalities and others to lead our Citizens’ Convention for Property Tax Reform coalition. Senator Schluter served as Chairman of the New Jersey Clean Elections Commission and is currently serving on the State Ethics Commission. This senior statesman is rightly regarded as a leading voice for independent thinking, progressive problem solving and ethical public service in our Garden State.
New Jersey Police Superintendent Colonel Joseph “Rick” Fuentes began his public service by enlisting in the State Police in 1978 serving the Division throughout the State, including assignments as a general road duty Trooper, instructor at the Sea Girt Academy, supervisor with the FBI/NJSP Joint Terrorism Task Force, Narcotics Unit and Street Gang Unit. In 2003, Colonel Fuentes was selected by Governor McGreevey to become the 14th Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. Colonel Fuentes has been an invaluable asset to the League providing immeasurable support to the League’s Emergency Preparedness Task Force as well as our municipalities before, during and after any emergencies.
Ernest C. Reock, is a faculty member of the Rutgers University Center for Government Services since its establishment in 1950, serving as its director from 1960 until his retirement in 1992. He is the author of numerous reports, including the first Handbook for New Jersey Assessors and the annual series of Legislative District Data Books. In 1976, the New Jersey State Senate and General Assembly adopted resolutions commending his work as secretary of the joint education committee and the joint committee on the public schools. His 1980 report on the state’s school budget caps was awarded the Governmental Research Association’s “Most Distinguished Research” award. He was the recipient of the Rutgers Presidential Award for Distinguished Public Service in 1988 and the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service under the Governor’s Pride Award Program in 1997. Dr. Reock has served as a member of state task forces and as a consultant to various state and local commissions. Over the years, Dr. Reock has generously donated his time, talent, energy and expertise to numerous League of Municipalities’ Committees, Task Forces, Steering Groups and individual members, in order to assist them in their efforts to better serve the people of our State. He has never been too busy to provide valuable service to elected and appointed public servants, at all levels of government, anywhere in our Garden State.
For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director at (609)695-3481, extension 122 or 609-915-9072.
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