Labor leader Wayne Richardson will become the first president of the Essex County Board of Commissioners when they reorganize next month under a new law that ends the existence of freeholder boards for the first time since 1776.
Richardson the president of Laborers Local 55, was re-elected to a third term on the board in November. He represents District 2, which includes parts of Newark’s Central and South wards, Irvington and Maplewood.
He will replace Brendan Gill, who has completed a three-year rotation as the last freeholder president. Gill remains on the Board of Commissioners.
The vice president of the board will be Carlos Pomares, a former Bloomfield councilman who is beginning his second term on the freeholder board. Pomares’ pregnant mother was forced to emigrate to the United States – he grew up in Union City – when the Castro regime jailed his father as a political prisoner in 1970.
Patricia Sebold will take her oath of office to a 12th term in county government and is the longest-serving freeholder/commissioner in Essex County history. She won a special election convention in 1993 and has won nine countywide elections, including a 1993 primary win against now-Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver.
In the 2020 general election, Sebold received 247,302 votes as the top-vote getter on the freeholder slate. She outpolled the second-place finisher by 1,601 votes to receive the greatest number of total votes ever cast for an Essex freeholder candidate.
Five other incumbents re-elected in 2020 will also return to what will be the Board of Commissioners: Rufus Johnson, Romaine Graham, Robert Mercado, Tyshammie Cooper, and Leonard Luciano.