• Joseph F. Berenato

Giralo, Jiampetti running for clerk


Joseph Giralo and Dr. Lisa Jiampetti are the two candidates for Atlantic County Clerk. (Courtesy Photos)

HAMMONTON—When residents of Hammonton cast their ballots this election season, they will have their choice of two candidates for Atlantic County Clerk.


There is no incumbent; current clerk Edward P. McGettigan (D) is not seeking reelection. Both candidates are vying for the position for the first time, though neither is a stranger to local government.


Running on the Republican ticket is current Hammonton Councilman Joseph Giralo.


Giralo is a 1980 graduate of Hammonton High School, and received a BA in American History from Stockton University (then Stockton State College) in 1984. He and his wife, Gina, have two daughters, Gianna and Gemma.


Giralo has worked with the Atlantic County Improvement Authority (ACIA) for 35 years, where he is a program administrator.


Giralo described his position with the ACIA.


“I run the home program, first-time homebuyer, housing rehabilitation and business loan programs,” Giralo said.


Giralo, 59, a lifelong resident of Hammonton, has been involved in Hammonton politics since he was 16 years old. In 1981, at the age of 18, he ran for a seat on the Hammonton Board of Education and lost the election by six votes. He has since been involved with various facets of local government.


“I served 41 years on the Hammonton Planning Board. I was chairman and vice-chair for over two decades. I served on the Board of Adjustment. I served 15 years on the board of education. I’ve been on council for six years,” Giralo said.


Giralo told The Gazette why he decided to run for Atlantic County Clerk.


“I have long-sought to take my knowledge, take my abilities, take my experience and share it with the people of this county ... The office is very important to the people of the county, and it’s been nothing but mismanaged over the last decade. People need to see the transparency of the office, so that they can have confidence in their elections,” Giralo said.


Community confidence is important to Giralo, who noted that he has “always done for our community.”


“I’m a past-president of the Lions Club, a founder of Cruisin’ Classics Auto Club, a member of the Hammonton Cancer Foundation. I am a trustee at St. Mary of Mt. Carmel church,” Giralo said.


Giralo said that changes need to be made at the office of the county clerk.


“There needs to be a collaboration with the board of elections and the election board to make sure that the ‘screw-ups’ don’t continue—with ballots, voting, absentee ballots, ballots going to the wrong people—costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Giralo said.


Giralo said that he believes his background makes him an ideal candidate for Atlantic County Clerk.


“I have the experience handling CDBG and home grants for over 30 years with perfect audits. I further say that whatever needs to be done to make the public feel comfortable with that office will take place. I will be hands-on. I am not going to bear to be an administrator or an executive. I will be hands-on, in the office, every day ... I am going to bring the office to the people, with expanded hours and weekend service,” Giralo said.


The reasons why residents of Atlantic County should vote for him, Giralo said, are clear.


“First of all, I’m hands-on. Two, my keen sense of awareness and working with grants, federal government and other government agencies for my entire career with county government. I won’t need on-the-job training; I am a stickler for details ... I promise that I will take it from the worst-ran clerk’s office in the state to the best-ran clerk’s office in the state,” Giralo said.


Challenging Giralo for the position of Atlantic County Clerk is Dr. Lisa Jiampetti (D), the current mayor of Egg Harbor City.


Jiampetti graduated from Absegami High School in 1981, graduated from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey (now Stockton University) in 2005 with a B.S. in business management, then attended Fairleigh Dickinson University where she earned a master’s degree in administrative science in 2012. In 2020, she received an Ed.D. in organizational leadership from Stockton University.


Jiampetti, 58, lives in Egg Harbor City with her husband, Michael Jiampetti III, and has three children: Ryan Brodton, 37; Michael Jiampetti IV, 27; and Matthew Jiampetti, 24. Jiampetti also has two grandchildren: Ryder, 13, and Ronin, 5 months.


Jiampetti described her professional background to The Gazette, which started when she was 18 as a manager at Wawa.


“After my children went back to school, I went back to school full-time and continued my education. I went to work in the Egg Harbor City school district; I was a substitute teacher for seven years, then I was the 21st Century Community Learning afterschool program coordinator for eight years. Finally, I left there as the director of the New Jersey Summer School and Afterschool Program. The grant was for a year; after that grant expired, I accepted a position as the recreation director and office manager with the Smithville Community Association,” Jiampetti said.


Jiampetti said that it was the completion of her B.S. in business management that prompted her to seek office.


“I wanted to get involved in my community, and I wanted to use whatever I learned in college to help make Egg Harbor City a better place. I ran for city council, and I was a city councilwoman for six years—that’s two terms—then I ran for mayor when the current mayor decided he wasn’t going to seek reelection. I have been mayor now for nine years,” Jiampetti said.


Jiampetti described a similar impetus in seeking the position of Atlantic County Clerk.


“When Ed McGettigan decided not to seek reelection, I felt that I could use my experience and leadership in administration and public service—in addition to my educational background—to serve the citizens of Atlantic County, and kind of spread out a little bit, and have an opportunity to be involved with more people in a bigger community ... As a lifelong resident of Atlantic County, I’ve formed a lot of partnerships and alliances with county stakeholders who really helped me build a strong, a vibrant Egg Harbor City. I really want to do the same thing for Atlantic County as the clerk,” Jiampetti said.


Should she be elected, Jiampetti said that she would like to focus on ensuring that elections are fair, accurately maintaining records and increasing voter participation.


“I want to educate the public on voting. As I was campaigning for mayor and council for all those years, I ran into people who were confused about voting. They don’t know what party they’re in, they don’t know what a primary is, they don’t know who votes in a primary, and it was a little concerning. I would want to use workshops, social media and outreaches to maybe churches and schools to really educate the public on how voting works,” Jiampetti said.


Jiampetti said that she would also work to build partnerships with the office of the superintendent of elections and the board of elections, as well as with municipal clerks.


“I would like to possibly attend their monthly meetings and talk to them, and see what their needs are and how they can help me determine what I should be doing better,” Jiampetti said.


Jiampetti said that, in deciding for whom to vote for Atlantic County Clerk, residents should “look at my record as a mayor.”


“The one thing I feel that people know that they can trust me. They know that I care about them, and they know that I’ll work very hard to make the county clerk’s office the best office it could possibly be ... I really want to make the clerk’s office an extension of the community. I think that all of us in Atlantic County, at some time in our lives, have to interact with the clerk’s office, and I want those who do to have a positive experience with that interaction,” Jiampetti said.