Ocean County Government
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Commissioner John P. Kelly

Commissioner John P. Kelly
Chairman: Roads and Bridges, Engineering and Finance
Term Expires: 12/31/2025
Phone: 732-929-2003
Email: CommissionerKelly@co.ocean.nj.us

Ocean County Commissioner John P. Kelly has been an Ocean County elected official since 1993. He was sworn into his 11th three-year term on the Board of Commissioners during the Board’s organization meeting Jan. 4, 2023.

Commissioner Kelly is liaison to many Ocean County Government departments that maintain the County infrastructure, assist in connecting residents to County government, and makes certain the County remains fiscally conservative.

Commissioner Kelly, serving as co-chair, works closely with the Ocean County Department of Finance, his colleagues on the Board of Commissioners and County department heads in developing an annual County budget that funds all the core services and programs for County residents while keeping Ocean County affordable and maintaining its AAA bond rating. The 2024 budget decreased the County property tax rate for the eighth consecutive year.

As chair of the Office of Engineering, Commissioner Kelly works closely with the engineering staff annually overseeing more than $40 million worth of infrastructure improvements focusing on roadway safety. He also serves as Chairman of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. As liaison to the Ocean County Road and Bridge Departments, Commissioner Kelly oversees the maintenance of more than 1,600 county lane miles and almost 260 bridges and culverts moving commuters and pedestrians safely throughout the County.

Commissioner Kelly has closely worked with the Ocean County Security Department, the County Corrections Department and the county Juvenile Services Department in implementing programs for Ocean County youngsters including bicycle safety programs, Internet safety programs and anti-gang programs.

In December 2019, Commissioner Kelly supported the opening of the Youth Center, operated by the Juvenile Services Department. The center was created to provide a positive life path for young men and women, ages 12 to 17. Use of the center is voluntary, and services and programs range from culinary programs to counseling.

In 2001, Commissioner Kelly championed making Ocean County government even more accessible to its residents with the opening of the County Connection, a county government service outlet conveniently located at the Ocean County Mall, Toms River. He continues to serve as liaison to that program. Since its opening, well over 1 million people have walked through its doors seeking information and assistance from a well-trained staff.

Commissioner Kelly in concert with the Board led the successful effort to protect Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station from being dismantled by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission in 1995 and again in 2005. He continues to support the work of what is now known as Joint Base – McGuire, Dix, Lakehurst working closely with Congressional leaders to keep the tri-service base viable and strong in order to protect homeland security and promote economic growth.

During his tenure on the Board, he has brought to fruition such important projects as the construction of the Ocean County Training Center, providing quality instruction for thousands of fire and first aid volunteers, the expansion of the Ocean County Jail, improvements to the Ocean County Police Academy and upgrades to emergency communications.

Commissioner Kelly served as Director of the Board in 1995, 2001, 2007, 2013, 2016 and 2022 and as Deputy Director in 1998, 2004, 2010 and 2019.

Commissioner Kelly has served as a member of the New Jersey Association of Counties since 1993. And, during that time he has served as Secretary-Treasurer, Second Vice President, First Vice President and as President in 2004.

He began his work in public service more than 35 years ago when he was first elected to the Eagleswood Township Committee. Commissioner Kelly served as mayor of the Southern Ocean County municipality for 11 out of the 17 years he was on the committee. And, he formerly served as a member of the Eagleswood Volunteer Fire Company and had been a Webelo leader in Cub Scouts.

He has served as past president and treasurer of the Ocean County Mayors’ Association. He has received many awards and commendations as a Freeholder, now Commissioner, including being named Public Official of the Year by the Chiefs of Police of New Jersey and in 2006 by the Ocean County Chiefs of Police Association. And, he was honored by the Jersey Shore Council of Boy Scouts of America as the 2007 Citizen of the Year.

He was married for 42 years to the former Evelyn Bodie, who passed away January 2022, and is the father of five children, John, Dawn Marie, Crystal Lynn, Billy and Jimmy, and grandfather to Cecelia Grace, Juliana Faith, Sullivan Perry, Evelyn Elizabeth and William Christopher.