County Commissioners

Frank Balles

Born and raised in Atlantic County, Frank X. Balles has spent more than 32 years of his life in law enforcement protecting our local community.  Frank served more than two decades as a police officer in Pleasantville, advancing through the ranks to Administrative Captain.  In 2008, during his first bid for public office, Balles decisively defeated a fifteen-year incumbent and was elected Atlantic County Sheriff.   Twice re-elected, Frank returned to his position as Captain with the Pleasantville Police Department on August 1, 2017 where he officially retired on December 1, 2018.  Frank subsequently decided to serve his municipality and in 2019 was sworn-in as an Egg Harbor Township (EHT) Committeeman until October 2020 when he was elected to fill the Freeholder-at- Large seat vacated by Frank D. Formica.

Beginning his career as an Auxiliary Police Officer, Frank has a passion for volunteerism.  He began Explorer Post #29 shortly after his election, which enables youth throughout the county to learn about the benefits of a career in law enforcement as well as a variety of public safety careers. 

The transformation of the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office did not go unnoticed and Frank’s fellow sheriffs elected him as the President of the Sheriff’s Association of New Jersey in 2011. In addition, Frank’s efforts have been recognized with numerous awards from the City of Pleasantville, Mainland PBA, NAACP, The Women’s Center, Family Services Association, Jersey Shore Council of Boy Scouts, Crime Stoppers of Atlantic County and the Coalition for a Safe Community.   In 2013, Frank became the first and only officer from Atlantic County selected as Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the American Legion of New Jersey Department.

As Sheriff, Frank reenergized the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office. When some said it could not be done Frank worked with local officials, Republicans and Democrats to reestablish the Office’s K-9 unit as well as regular patrols of Atlantic County’s more rural municipalities. In addition, Frank has also worked with local police chiefs to transport prisoners to the Atlantic County Justice Facility. Frank is a proponent of community policing and began the first countywide Community Policing Unit. He led the agency with pride and passion knowing they were doing more with less.

Frank currently serves on the Executive Board of Avanzar (formally the Women’s Center), Crime Stoppers of Atlantic County, President of the April Christine Memorial Scholarship and is currently the President of the Pleasantville Police Foundation.  Frank has served on many other boards previously including EHT Zoning Board and has served as a youth coach.  During his distinguished law enforcement career, he has completed the FBI National Academy, the National Sheriffs Institute, the West Point Command and Leadership Program and more than 35 law enforcement related schools and seminars.  As an instructor at the Atlantic County Police Academy, Frank has used his knowledge and experience to train the next generation of law enforcement professionals. Respected by his peers, Frank is the former Commander of both the Atlantic County and Pleasantville Emergency Response Teams.

Frank will bring fresh ideas to the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders with his experience both municipal and county budgets, staffing, contract negotiations and management.  Frank will serve 15 months of the unexpired term and run for re-election in 2021.

Frank resides in Egg Harbor Township with his wife Cyndi.  He is the father of two children, Michael and Kerri and four grandchildren.

Jimmy Bertino

Commissioner James “Jimmy” Bertino was appointed Fifth District Commissioner in January 2011. Commissioner Bertino served as a Hammonton Councilman from 1997 to 2011 and Deputy Mayor. He has also served as Chairperson of the Water and Sewer Committee and member of the following Hammonton Town Committees: Highway Department, Law and Order, Master Plan, Administrative, Shade Tree, MUAC, Rent Control, Planning Board, Environmental Commission, Parks and Recreation, Business and Industry and Education. In 2000, Jim was honored with the American Hometown Leadership Award. He is currently a member of the NJ Farm Bureau, Hammonton Historical Society and Knights of Columbus. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Oak Grove Cemetery and the Board of Directors of the Hammonton Recreation Club, Inc. Jim is a lifelong resident of Hammonton where he resides with his wife Hope. They are the parents of three children, Jackie, Jimmy, Jr. and Michelle.

Rich Dase

Rich Dase has dedicated a great deal of his life to public service. As a former member of the staff of U.S. Congressman Frank LoBiondo, he worked toward resolving constituent concerns and problems. He is currently a seventh grade Social Studies teacher at the Galloway Township Middle School where he advises several activities. Prior to his career in education, Rich worked as an advertising copywriter for three Atlantic City casinos and as a freelance advertising copywriter. He enjoys volunteering with the Galloway Township Police Athletic League, Galloway Township Athletic Association and the Galloway Township Elks Lodge. In 2005, Rich was elected to Galloway Township Council with the highest vote total. He is also a past member of the Galloway Township Planning Board. Rich was first elected District Four Freeholder in November 2007. Rich has been a resident of Galloway Township his entire life and currently lives there with his wife Andrea and children Nicholas, Ayden and Kylie.

Amy Gatto

Amy Gatto was first elected to the Hamilton Township Committee in 2007 at the age of 24 and at 29 years old, became the youngest and only the third woman to hold the office of Mayor in the Township’s several hundred year history.  In 2019, Freeholder Gatto was proudly selected to serve as the first female to Chair the Board of Freeholders in its 182 year history.  Despite the tough times facing the region, during Gatto’s tenure on Township Committee, the governing body was able to eliminate their $2.4 million structural deficit by encouraging economic development and making government more efficient as well as pay down millions in municipal debt without raising taxes several years following.  She was honored to be elected to the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2016.

A lifelong resident of Mays Landing, Gatto graduated from Oakcrest High School in 2000.  She attended Widener University in Chester, PA, graduating in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business and a Bachelor of Arts degree in French.  Following graduation, Gatto committed herself to public service, becoming a graduate of the Christine Todd Whitman Excellence in Public Service Series and becoming an elected member of the local school board in 2005.  She also went to work for PECO Energy, an Exelon Company, in Philadelphia, PA as an Executive Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer. In 2008, Gatto was honored as one of Atlantic City Weekly’s “Top 40 Under 40”.  As her career progressed, she went to work as a Project Manager and Manager of Service Operations at AtlantiCare in Hammonton, NJ, and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ in Mount Laurel, NJ.  Currently, she serves as a Lead Manager in Service Operations for AXA, a financial services company.

Gatto is proud to be the daughter of Dr. Jeri-Lynn Vernon, principal of Absegami HS and lifelong educator who currently resides in Galloway, NJ with her husband Walter Vernon, retired Army Major, and Bill Gatto, retired union Laborer, Local 172 and 40 year employee of the Atlantic City Race Course, who currently resides in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. She has one brother, Billy Gatto.  

Gatto has long battled Crohn’s Disease and is an active advocate for the disease.  She is a proud member of the Italian American Service Organization, UNICO – Greater Atlantic City Chapter.  She has also organized and participated in many community service initiatives including “Rock-N-Vote;” Martin Luther King, Jr. “Day of Service;” public speaker for local high school and college assemblies; member, OHS 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee; Township Committee 200th Anniversary Celebration Committee; fundraiser for Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, MS WALK, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Hamilton Township PAL, HERO Campaign, Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation and she fondly volunteers at various events at area schools and local organizations.

Maureen Kern

Maureen Kern, a lifelong resident of Somers Point, was elected District Two Commissioner in November 2015. She holds the distinction of being elected the first woman to hold the position of Commissioner Vice Chair in Atlantic County’s 182 year history. A powerful voice for women’s issues, Maureen is an advocate for those who suffer with mental health issues and the disabled. She serves as the Commissioner liaison to the Atlantic County Institute of Technology Board and Special Services School District Board, the Disability Advisory Board and the Mental Health Advisory Board. Maureen has been dedicated to community service throughout her life following in the footsteps of her late father Lawrence “Bud” Kern’s legacy of commitment and betterment of the community. His outstanding example of volunteerism coupled with a strong work ethic resulted in the formation of the Somers Point Good Old Days Festival held annually in his memory. Maureen is a member and past co-chair of the Good Old Days Committee who awards scholarships to Somers Point youth that demonstrate prideful commitment to community involvement and the spirit of volunteerism. Maureen volunteered for many years on the Foundation for Education, which supports annual projects and new educational ventures, while raising awareness for the schools through special events and a significant community presence. She was elected to the Somers Point Board of Education from 2002 to 2009, serving on many committees including Budget and Personnel. Prior to serving on the Board of Education she was elected as Somers Point Recreation Commissioner from 2001 to 2008. Maureen launched her public service career in 2009 when elected to the Somers Point City Council. In 2012 she was elected and served as Council President until 2015. Maureen, the only female on Council during her tenure, was an integral part of establishing the City’s vision and master plan. She formed a strong economic development team and initiatives to promote Somers Point as a destination location at no additional cost to the taxpayers. Maureen graduated from Montclair State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She started her professional career in tourism at Caesar’s Atlantic City and has been involved in promoting “Atlantic City,” with focus on marketing conventions and corporate meetings since 1979. She currently holds the position of National Sales Manager at Tropicana Casino and Resort and is a member of Meeting Professionals International. Maureen’s education and experience is an asset to the Freeholder’s Tourism/Economic Development Committee. Married to Jay Phillips, they are the proud parents of three sons Buddy, David and Bryan.

Andrew Parker

Andrew W. Parker, III was born in Atlantic City, NJ to Andrew and Pearletha Parker.  Shortly after Parker was born, his parents moved to Egg Harbor Township (EHT).  Parker graduated from Egg Harbor Township High School, where he received many athletic honors. Parker began his education on an athletic scholarship at the University of New Haven, CT.  Parker is a member of the Egg Harbor Township High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame.  Parker was featured as a success story during his undergraduate study as an Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society member.  He is a Walden University-Summa Cum Laude graduate with a Master’s degree in Science Education specializing in middle school mathematics.  He was featured in the 2019 Summer/Fall Walden University magazine edition.  Parker is currently a teacher in the Atlantic City School District.  He is a 2013 Siemens STEM Institute/Discovery Education Fellow.  This program recognizes 50 of the country’s top mathematics and science teachers that year, a 2021 DENSI STAR and a Discovery Education Leadership Committee member.  Parker got elected for a second term as a National Education Association Representative Assembly for the NEA.  He serves on the Political Candidates Screening Committee and is the Collective Bargaining and Advocacy Chairperson for the Atlantic County Council on Education Association, ACCEA.  Parker is the Atlantic City Education Association Legislative Action Team Chair.  As Egg Harbor Township Committee, Parker served as an Egg Harbor Township Economic Development Commission member, including the Cannabis Transition Committee, County Municipal Court Personnel Committee and Egg Harbor Township Police Athletic League. Parker is a member of the Mainland/Pleasantville Branch NAACP.  Parker served on the Egg Harbor Township Zoning Board of Adjustments for ten years before being elected as the first African American Township Committeeman in 2018.  He is a lifetime member of the NJ Second Amendment Association and a certified NRA range instructor.  Parker’s volunteerism and dedication to our community earned him leadership awards from the Atlantic County Board of Freeholders, the Atlantic County Executive, 2019 Community Service Award from the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. and the United States Congress.

John Risley

John Risley was re-elected Commissioner-at-Large in November 2020 and Vice Chairperson in 2014, 2017, 2020, 2021 and 2022. He previously served on the Board of Freeholders from 1995 to 2004. Commissioner Risley has devoted a lifetime of public service as a past president of the Mainland Regional Board of Education, a Linwood City Councilman, former President of Somers Point City Council and most recently, past Deputy Mayor for Egg Harbor Township. John is the owner and President of L. O. Thomas and Company, Inc. a FINRA/SIPC member investment firm founded in 1929. He has been guiding clients with investment advice for over 40 years. John is a member of M. B. Taylor Lodge in Hammonton and a Past Master of Keystone Lodge in Linwood. John resides in Egg Harbor Township with his wife, Dawn and children Ashley, John, III and Harold.

Upcoming Events


Get Involved

Take Action