ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders President Brendan Gill, a lifelong Montclair resident, accepted the 2019 Freeholder of the Year award from the New Jersey Conference of Mayors during a special presentation at Livingston Town Hall on July 25. The award was presented by NJCM Legislative Committee Chairman Timothy McDonough, who is also mayor of Hope Township.
“This year, it was a unanimous vote that Brendan Gill should be the county official of the year,” McDonough said. “He has been around a while, his roots are from the town of Montclair and the things he has done there, such as the ‘no smoking in the parks’ initiative, are very important.”
Other initiatives enacted during Gill’s tenure on the board include: the passing of ordinances requiring firearm vendors doing business with Essex County to answer detailed questions to ensure their weapons do not fall into the wrong hands; the implementation of the Complete Streets policy, which is a comprehensive integrated policy designed to highlight safety as a primary concern for all building projects that the county is involved in; and sponsoring a resolution calling on the New Jersey legislature to end state-sanctioned marriage discrimination against same-sex couples.
“The New Jersey Conference of Mayors is a critical organization, and what we do on the county level would not be possible if not for the work that mayors do each and every day,” Gill said. “A leader is only as good as the team that he has around them, and my colleagues on the board are great individual legislators. I can’t thank them enough for their support.”
Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. congratulated Gill on this accomplishment.
“When one of our elected officials, especially our freeholder president, receives a prestigious award such as this, it raises awareness about and brings recognition to our county,” he said. “Brendan has been a vocal advocate for Essex and provided exemplary leadership. I am honored to partner with Brendan to move Essex forward and accomplish all that we have.”
Gill has been a member of the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders since 2011. He is now in his second year as president of the board. During his tenure, he has led the way in passing initiatives to curtail gun violence, improve roads and infrastructure, and promote the growth of open space. He is a lifetime member of the Montclair Branch of the NAACP, and a member of the 100 Club of Montclair.
He and his wife, Alixon, along with their two children, Gabriel and Kristen Leah, live in Montclair. He currently chairs the Montclair Democratic Party and formerly served on the township Planning Board.