Benson Announces First Wave of Cabinet Members

Newly sworn in County Executive Dan Benson, recently sworn in, has unveiled his first group of cabinet members.

Benson, who was officially sworn in on Monday, January 1, makes his first announcement regarding staffing of his new Administration.

Sharon Shinkle Gardner has been named as Benson’s Chief of Staff. Gardner brings a wealth of experience, having served as Benson’s Chief of Staff in the Assembly dating back to his initial selection in 2011.

Before assuming the role as Benson’s Chief of Staff, Gardner has had an illustrious career in government including serving as Assistant Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation under three New Jersey Governors.

Along with Gardner, Benson has appointed Christopher R. Marion as County Administrator, along with Taraun Tice McKnight and Ana Montero, who will serve as Deputy Business Administrators.

Marion served nearly the last seven years as the Deputy County Administrator for the County of Monmouth. Prior to that Marion served as a Business Administrator for the Townships of Old Bridge, Scotch Plains, West Windsor and Marlboro.

Tice McKnight brings a varied background, having served in different capacities in New Jersey State Government including, Chief of Staff & Policy Director for the Department of Human Services Division of Family Development, Policy Advisor in Office of the Governor, and most recently served as Deputy Director & Associate Counsel for Governor Murphy.

Montero’s distinguished career in public service includes serving as Director of FEMA’s Public Assistance Division, CEO of the American Red Cross, and Assistant Commissioner at the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

County Executive Benson expressed confidence in his team, stating, “Our team has extensive government experience from a variety of diverse backgrounds that will deliver results to Mercer County residents. As County Executive, I will bring innovation, collaboration and transparency to the forefront of Mercer County’s government.”

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