(Newark, NJ) – Freeholder Brendan W. Gill of Montclair and Freeholder Wayne L. Richardson of Newark were unanimously elected President and Vice President, respectively, of the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders during the Board’s annual Organization Meeting held on Tuesday, January 2, 2018, at Essex County Newark Tech High School. The program featured appearances from Governor-elect Phil Murphy, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr., and other elected officials from different levels of government levels.


The meeting followed the Swearing-In Ceremony for all nine members of the Board: Brendan W. Gill, At-Large, of Montclair; Rufus I. Johnson, At-Large, of Newark; Lebby C. Jones, At-Large, of Irvington; Patricia Sebold, At-Large, of Livingston; Robert Mercado, District 1, of Newark; Wayne L. Richardson, District 2, of Newark; Britnee N. Timberlake, District 3, of East Orange; Leonard M. Luciano, District 4, of West Caldwell; and Carlos M. Pomares, District 5, of Bloomfield.


Freeholder Gill was nominated for the position of Freeholder President by Freeholder Johnson, Freeholder Luciano, and Freeholder Pomares. He was first elected to the Board as the District 5 Freeholder in November of 2011 and re-elected Freeholder At-Large in 2014 and 2017. As a life-long resident of Essex County, he has advocated for the needs of the residents of Essex throughout his tenure. Freeholder Gill graduated Magna Cum Laude from Seton Hall University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Previously, he served as State Director for United States Senator Frank Lautenberg from 2007 until his passing in 2013, District Director for United States Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman, Chief of Staff to Assemblyman Peter Eagler, and Communications Director for the NJ Department of Transportation.


In his remarks, Freeholder Gill expressed his gratitude for being elected to serve as the Board’s President. He stated, “As the son of a Montclair teacher with a career that spans over 47-years, I have been influenced by my father to serve others.” He noted that during this pivotal time in our country, where national legislation has created critical changes, it is his plan to protect the values Essex County serves to uphold, including diversity, safety, and economic development.


As an elected official, Freeholder Gill shared that serving the people is not an abstract concept, but a realistic task that he takes very seriously. He shared his vision for the Board in 2018, including increasing access to jobs, leading the way in creating green and open spaces, and more. As President, he also cited his plan to lead a “fiscally prudent government, doing more with less,” while building upon developments made throughout the municipalities in Essex.


Freeholder Richardson was nominated for the position of Freeholder Vice President by Freeholder Jones, Freeholder Sebold, and Freeholder Mercado. He was first elected as the District 2 Freeholder in November of 2014 and re-elected in 2017. He grew up in Newark, graduated from Barringer High School, and served as a District Leader and Assistant Ward Chairperson in Newark’s North Ward in the 1980’s. He has worked as a business agent for Laborers Local 108, an organizer for the Laborers Eastern Region Organizing Fund (LEROF), President of Laborers Local 55, and Lead Organizer in New Jersey, Delaware, New York City, and Long Island. In 2010, he was appointed to the Newark Central Planning Board and reappointed and elected Chairman in 2014.


During his remarks, Freeholder Richardson shared a quote from South African anti-apartheid political leader Nelson Mandela stating, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” Freeholder Richardson went on to thank his Freeholder colleagues for electing him Vice President and expressed his plan to continue to advance the Board’s legacy of advocating for positive changes in Essex County.

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