Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders Welcomes Change to County Commissioners

Posted on August 24, 2020

The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders strongly supported the new state law that will change the “Board of Chosen Freeholders” to “Board of County Commissioners,” and “Chosen Freeholder” to “County Commissioner” for all 21 counties in New Jersey. Governor Phil Murphy signed the legislation earlier today, and the law will go into effect on January 1, 2021.

The Somerset County Freeholder board approved a resolution in support of the title change earlier this summer.

Freeholder Director Shanel Robinson attended the bill signing earlier today at the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial Building in Trenton with county and state leaders from throughout the Garden State.

“I want to applaud Governor Murphy and thank our legislative leaders, both Democrat and Republican, for moving this bill through both houses resulting in this powerful bill signing ceremony,” said Robinson.

The law that changes the title of County Freeholder to County Commissioner is the perfect time to reflect our willingness to respect the people who serve in elected roles.

Somerset County made history by electing its first Black Freeholder in 2018 and the Board’s commitment under her leadership is to uphold respectful characterizations and titles for all its officeholders.

“I am extremely proud to serve and even happier that my vow to support the title change has arrived. During the next four months, our county will not only embrace this change, but authentically welcomes the first Black County Commission Director as well,” said Freeholder Robinson.

“The fight to remove the title Freeholder from our county government has been a long time coming, and while it is symbolic it is symbolic of the improvements and growth our country has seen since the 1600s. The antiquated term comes from a time when racism and sexism would have not only prevented me from being elected as a Freeholder, but would have also disqualified my ability to run for office as I would have been ineligible to be a free holder of property in the first place.

“Those days are gone, and as of January 1, 2021, so is the title.”

Source: Somerset County Office of Information