ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Freeholders Brendan Gill, of Montclair, and Wayne Richardson, of Newark, were unanimously re-elected president and vice president, respectively, of the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders during the board’s annual reorganization meeting Jan. 7, at the Hall of Records in Newark. Additionally, Freeholder Romaine Graham was sworn in for her first full term as a freeholder, having last year completed the unexpired term of deceased Freeholder Lebby Jones.
Initially elected as the District 5 freeholder in November 2011, Gill was re-elected freeholder at-large in 2014 and 2017. A lifelong resident of Essex County, Gill previously served as state director for U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg from 2007 until the senator’s death in 2013, district director for U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman, chief of staff to Assemblyman Peter Eagler, and communications director for the N.J. Department of Transportation. He currently chairs the Democratic Committee of Montclair and operates his own public affairs and political consulting firm, the BGill Group LLC.
“I am committed to keeping our Essex County residents’ best interests at heart and will do all I can to ensure good will and good governance,” Gill said at the meeting.
Richardson was first elected as the District 2 freeholder in November 2014 and re-elected in 2017. He grew up in Newark, and served as a district leader and assistant ward chairperson in Newark’s North Ward in the 1980s. He has worked as a business agent for Laborers Local 108; an organizer for the Laborers Eastern Region Organizing Fund; 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.
“As president of Laborers Local 55, it has been my life’s goal to fight for civil rights and the well-being of working-class people. I am privileged to continue this work as a public servant,” Richardson said at the meeting.
In welcoming Graham — an Irvington resident since 1969 — back to the board, Gill spoke glowingly about her record of service. He touched on the significance of the strong ties she has to Irvington, similar to her predecessor, Lebby Jones, and how those ties would ensure that the concerns of Irvington citizens would continue to be passionately represented on the board. Irvington Chief Municipal Court Judge Chandra Cole administered the oath of office to Graham.
Photos Courtesy of Glen Frieson