By Cheryl Conway
Whether its politics, veterans’ affairs or academics, one Mt. Olive resident manages to stay involved no matter what hat he wears.
Paul Licitra of Flanders, former mayor of Mt. Olive, just received two appointments in November. He was elected chair of the County College of Morris Board of Trustees on Nov. 15 at its annual reorganization meeting; a day earlier he received a letter by the governor’s office to serve on the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery Advisory Council.
Licitra is excited about both appointments and looks forward to any contributions he can make as a volunteer.
“I look forward to being chairman,” says Licitra about his new two-year role on the CCM board. “It’s an exciting school to be at right now. I consider it to be top 10 in the nation. We just changed presidents.”
On the CCM Board of Trustees for the past six years, Licitra was appointed to the board in 2012 by the Morris County Board of Freeholders. Reappointed last year, he has served in multiple roles such as secretary, vice chair and now chair.
“Every two years, we rotate it,” Licitra says regarding the chair’s role.
The CCM Board of Trustees is composed of eleven Morris County residents from business, education, law and other professional fields who volunteer their services in four-year terms. The board sets policy and has final authority over budgets and expenditures.
In the midst of its 50th anniversary, CCM has had just three presidents, with Dr. Anthony J. Iacono recently inaugurated as the college’s third president.
He “came in with a new vitality,” says Licitra of the new leader. “He’s reenergized the staff. He brings a vitality and energy that’s unbelievable. It’s pleasure to work with the new president,” as well as the old president and staff.
Licitra first got connected with CCM in 2005 when his daughter attended and received her associate’s degree in early childhood education, went onto Montclair State and now teaches in Randolph.
“I always heard about what a great school it was,” says Licitra. “My daughter graduated from CCM; I saw how it turned her life. She made dean’s list; she became a great teacher.”
According to Licitra, CCM is “one of the only schools in N.J. with a population that’s increasing. We are that good; looking to stay that way.”
CCM currently boast 15,000 students in various programs, according to Licitra.
“Our campus is immense,” he says. “It’s an education you can afford” for two years with credits that will transfer to all N.J. colleges.
As a board, “we accomplish a lot,” says Licitra. It meets twice a month. As chair, he gets to set the agenda for meetings, appoint committee chairs, deal with the college president daily on college matters and mentor new trustees.
“I make sure everyone does their jobs,” says Licitra.
He says the board’s mission is “Don’t get in the way. It’s running so well; give them the tools to do what they do best.”
As far as making any changes, Licitra sees no need as “I’ve been looking for something for six years. It’s a well-oiled machine; just give them the tools and don’t get in the way. They are that good of a staff.”
For goals, Licitra says, “I’d like to make his [Iacono’s] transition at CCM a pleasant one.”
He is also working on some extensions with the college, wants to see board members get more involved with the college and its students such as attending plays, serving on advisory boards and even activate a veterans’ committee.
Having served as an Army Sgt. Military policeman in Vietnam from 1965-1927, Licitra says he does what he can to help support veterans.
“I’m attentive to the veterans and what their wishes are,” says Licitra. “I do a lot of outreach with veterans. I thank them for their service.”
Licitra was a commissioner with the N.J. Agents Orange Commission in the 1980’s in which he helped research at a lab at Rutgers University and draft legislation on Agent Orange, a herbicide and chemical used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program.
“Whenever they need somebody” regarding veterans, Licitra gets involved.
On Nov. 14, he received notice of his appointment by Gov. Chris Christie to serve on the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery Advisory Council through June 2020.
“The governor needed a veteran on the committee so they came to me,” says Licitra. “It was another way I can help veterans.”
On this council, Licitra will be one of five commissioners to help manage the one veterans’ cemetery in N.J.
As a resident of Flanders with his wife Norma for the past 45 years and their three kids now grown, Licitra has served in various capacities.
Licitra served as Mt. Olive Twp. mayor from 2000-2004 after serving eight years as a councilmember from 1992-2000, the planning board for 20 years, Morris County Planning Board and various state assembly committees.
“I was very active; I coached four sports at one time,” says Licitra, who currently manages the N.J. State Motor Vehicle Commission in Newton and works part-time as a non-paid volunteer managing the Allamuchy satellite office of Senator Steven Oroho and
Assemblyman Parker Space. His professional experience involves 40 years in insurance covering all aspects of risk management.