By ELLEN CARROLL
Rich Long, who has been a member of the Ocean Township Board of Education since October 2010, is scheduled to be sworn in as a Township Councilman in January.
Long will fill the seat left vacant with the retirement of Mayor Bill Larkin.
Currently, Chris Siciliano is serving as acting mayor.
In an interview this week Long said he is looking forward to serving the township as a member of the Township Council.
“In the political world, when it comes to Ocean Township, it doesn’t matter if I’m a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian or a Vegetarian,” he said. “This is what makes non-partisan government so refreshing. The focus is solely on the town’s citizens. My goal as a councilman in Ocean will be to always do what is best for the community, leaving partisan politics outside the front door of Town Hall.”
The Township Council is non-partisan.
Long said he will be a willing listener first as a council member and then help the council address issues.
And this is not his first time to the table. He was elected to Carteret’s Borough Council in 1982, eventually becoming council president. Besides serving as a councilman he was a member of the Community Development Board, the Office of the Disabled and the Planning Board. During that time he was also a toastmaster and master of ceremonies for numerous political events in Carteret.
Long acknowledges he is somewhat old-fashioned.
“I will do what I can to help my community,” he said. “This is not the first time for me. I have experience and that’s what I can bring to the table… and to make a positive impact.”
Acting Mayor Siciliano said Long has the qualities the council was searching for.
“He comes loaded with experience and that is what we were going for,” he said. “He has roots going back to the 50s in the township. And he has six years of municipal experience and that is really key here. We are trying to get folks with experience.”
Siciliano described Long as “well rounded” and someone who understands Ocean Township and government.
Long, who has lived 41 years in the township, is probably the only graduate of Ocean Township High School who has served both on the school board and the Township Council. He is a member of the class of 1967, the first graduating class at the high school.
He is a graduate of Glassboro State College with a degree in English.
After a stint with the Air Force Reserves he taught English and English as a Second Language at the forner Battin High School. Twice he was named Teacher of the Year there.
In 1984 he became Supervisor of English for the Elizabeth public schools and was named Teacher of the Year twice.
After his retirement from the Elizabth school district he became a Supervisor of Student Teachng at Monmouth University..
In 1987 he became an Adjunct Professor at Kean University teaching courses in English Comosition and World Literature. Later, he joined Kean’s Education Department teaching courses in curriculum development. He continues to teach at Kean.
Long will resign from the township school board in order to serve on the council.