Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan touched on a number of topics, including plans for a tri-county jail system, when she spoke at the on Tuesday.
The Bergen County League of Women Voters invited Donovan to speak at their meeting.
A number of the group's members had questions about shared services, which Donovan said she encourages. In fact, Donovan said she would be meeting with officials from Passaic and Essex counties in a few weeks to discuss a proposal to send prisoners from the overcrowded jail in Paterson to Bergen and Essex counties.
"We're going to get money out of the deal, everybody's going to be safe and Bergen taxpayers are going to benefit," Donovan said.
Donovan said municipalities should also share services with the county. She said a handful of Bergen municipalities, struggling to maintain staffing, have reached out to the County Police Department to help cover their communities.
"I could save everybody a third of your taxes if we could somehow marshal all the municipalities to forgo some of the home rule stuff," she said.
Lucy Heller, president of the Bergen County League of Women Voters, said the League was especially interested in inviting Donovan to speak because she is the first woman to be elected County Executive. The League encourages women to run for public office.
Heller pointed out that Donovan had a hand in creating the County Executive position back in 1985, when Donovan was a member of the Charter Study Commission that recommended that the county change to its current form of government, with seven freeholders and an executive. Before 1986, the county was governed by nine freeholders.
"I think it is absolutely living up to what we all wanted as a group," Donovan said of the current form of County Government.
There's just one thing about the position Donovan said went against her expectations:
"The only surprise I've had as County Executive is that it's so much fun."