Council colleagues welcome new councilwoman

Photo by Chris Sykes
Former Irvington Board of Education member Jamillah Beasley-McCleod, right, takes the oath of office as her mother, Irvington Democratic Committee Chairwoman Baseemah Beasley, second from right, holds the Bible for her on Monday, April 22, during the Municipal Council’s regular meeting. Her council colleagues have welcomed her and said they believe she is ready to step up and serve the township.

IRVINGTON, NJ — Newly appointed South Ward Councilwoman Jamillah Beasley-McCleod’s council colleagues said they believe she is ready to step up and serve the township.

“We’re happy to have you here with us,” said Municipal Council President and North Ward Councilman Dave Lyons on Monday, April 22, at the council’s regular meeting, after Beasley-McCleod was sworn into former South Ward Councilwoman Sandy Jones’ vacant seat on the governing body. “We work together. You know the people here. Good luck. Enjoy it.” Jones died unexpectedly Thursday, March 21.

Beasley-McCleod is the daughter of D. Bilal Beasley, the former Municipal Council President, Essex County Freeholder and Team Irvington social and political organization co-founder, and Irvington Democratic Committee Chairwoman Baseemah Beasley. She is sister to Omar Bilal, who co-founded the Friends of Irvington Park organization with Jones, and Akbar Butler, who previously served as an aide to Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker and other Essex County elected officials.

Beasley-McCleod appears to be following in her family’s footsteps of community service, by serving on the Irvington Board of Education before being appointed to fill Jones’ seat. Last year, she also started her own self-titled civic association.

“I would like to congratulate my council colleague of the South Ward, Jamillah Beasley,” said at large Councilwoman October Hudley on Monday, April 22. “I know you’ll do well. Like you said, you are Irvington and I know you feel passionate about this town and I know you will be a success. Congratulations.”

“We’re blessed to have an extension of your family and your dad and your family here,” said council Vice President and at large Councilwoman Renee Burgess on Monday, April 22. “It really feels good and I know you want to do good and you’re going to just be the greatest addition to our team here.”

West Ward Councilman Vern Cox said he knows Beasley-McCleod will be successful as a new council member, because of the “Beasley blood running” in her veins.

“Welcome and, like the council president said, we work together,” said Cox on Monday, April 22. “Our phones are always open. Call us if you need us. I look forward to working with you closely.”

At large Councilwoman Charnette Frederic echoed these sentiments.

“It’s always a pleasure and congratulations, Councilwoman Beasley,” said Frederic on Monday, April 22. “Welcome to the team. If you need anything, just remember, we’re there to support you. It takes a village and, as you can see here, it’s a village for all of us to support you however we can on the council. So welcome and anything we can do to support you.”

East Ward Councilman Paul Inman also welcomed Beasley-McCleod to the council.

“We look forward to working with you as well,” said Inman on Monday, April 22. “Congratulations. We look forward to working with you as well and working to improve the quality of life for all the residents of the South Ward. If we can be of any assistance, don’t hesitate to call us.”

“Okay councilwoman, time to go to work,” said Lyons on Monday, April 22, as he launched into the meeting’s consent agenda.

“Of course, D. Bilal Beasley’s only daughter filling his seat where he began his journey is special,” said Omar Bilal on Tuesday, April 23. “He was smiling down on her yesterday. I just pray that the community, as a whole, embraces her, because she has a lot to give. She’s going to work as hard as she can for the whole community, like she would for her own family, because she considers all of Irvington to be her family. She has a big village. She’s good. This is an opportunity. Let her work speak for itself.”