Timberlake’s freeholder seat remains vacant for now

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — A seat on the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders remains open after Britnee Timberlake, a former president of the Board, filled the seat in the New Jersey State Assembly left vacant by Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver. Timberlake was on the freeholder board from 2015 to 2018, and was the president of the board until she left to join the state Assembly. An East Orange resident, Timberlake is representing the 34th Legislative District, which includes the Essex County towns of East Orange, Orange and Montclair, and Clifton in Passaic County.

Oliver was elected lieutenant governor in the November 2017 election along with Gov. Phil Murphy, while simultaneously running a re-election campaign for her Assembly seat. After ultimately winning both elections, she resigned from her Assembly seat to serve as lieutenant governor. The Essex County Democratic Committee was able to choose Oliver’s replacement.

Timberlake represented Freeholder District 3, which encompasses Newark’s West Ward, East Orange, Orange and South Orange. At the time she took office, she was the youngest person on the board and became the only black woman in New Jersey to helm a freeholder board.

Oliver served on the East Orange Board of Education from 1994 to 2000, overlapping with her time as a freeholder from 1996 to 1999. In 2004, she was elected to the state Assembly. Murphy selected Oliver as his running mate in July 2017.

The freeholders’ office said in a Feb. 8 phone interview that the Essex County Democratic Committee will choose someone to fill Timberlake’s seat on the board.

“No one has been chosen yet, but it will be discussed with the chairman,” Lucy Edmond, the ECDC executive assistant said in a phone interview on Feb. 12. “It should be announced shortly.”

The chairman of the ECDC is LeRoy J. Jones Jr.