Joseph H. Vicari

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Joseph Hugo Vicari (born 1946) is an American Republican Party politician who has served as a member of the Ocean County, New Jersey Board of Chosen Freeholders since 1981.

Biography[edit]

Freeholder Vicari is a former principal with the Brick Public Schools in Brick Township. As of 2009, Vicari serves as the superintendent of the Berkeley Township School District.[1]

Vicari served as a member of Toms River Township (then Dover Township) Committee from 1980-1994. During his tenure he served as Mayor of Toms River five times.

As a Freeholder, Vicari has been responsible for the development of programs such as the "Buy in Ocean County" program and the Business Help Fair.

Vicari lost his job as the Berkeley schools superintendent in July. He said he did not accept unemployment insurance as it would have been "immoral to take it."

But according to state records, Vicari retired on July 1. His final base salary was $162,080 for which he receives an annual pension of $97,837. In 2006, he also cashed out his pension as an elected official for which he receives $12,157. In addition to his pensions, he also receives an annual stipend of $30,000 as a freeholder.[2]

On April 22, 2014, Vicari was the defendant in a sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit filed by Rosemary Mennona, who is the general supervisor of building services for Ocean County.[3]

More recently Vicari was questioned about a $25,000 "pizza connection". In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a state of emergency had been declared by Governor Christie. That state of emergency allowed the Ocean County freeholders to bypass normal bidding laws and order $25,000 worth of pizzas, calzones, salads, cannolis and other food from the husband of Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari's secretary. Vicari said the food order was "done within the law" because the normal bidding process was suspended by the state of emergency. He said that the order to Lakehurst Pizza and Luigi's Restaurant, best known as Luigi's in Lakehurst, was made because it was the only eatery open at the time. The $25,000 bill was the largest food order issued by the county following the storm. A review by the Asbury Park Press found that at least two other pizzerias in Toms River, and much closer than the 18 minute drive from Lakehurst, were open immediately after the storm. Neither received any county food orders.[4]

An October 2014 article in the Asbury Park Press indicated that the F.B.I. investigation focuses on county contracts awarded through the Buildings and Grounds Department where Vicari is the Freeholder Liaison. The former Supervisor of that department stated that the F.B.I. had visited his home and questioned him about certain contracts. Neither the F.B.I. nor the U.S. Attorney for the State of New Jersey commented.[5]


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