Lifelong Montclair resident, and current Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders President Brendan Gill, accepted the award of 2019 Freeholder of the Year from the New Jersey Conference of Mayors (NJCM) during a special presentation held at Livingston Town Hall on Wednesday July 25, 2019. The award was presented by the Chair of the NJCM Legislative Committee, and mayor of Hope Township, the Honorable Timothy J. McDonough.
The New Jersey Conference of Mayors was founded in 1963 by a group of leading Mayors who believed their collective voices should be heard in the state capital of Trenton, and in Washington, D.C. They are now the largest organization to exclusively represent the interests of Mayors to both State and Federal Legislatures and Administrations.
Mayor McDonough spoke glowingly of Freeholder Gill during his presentation of the award. “This year, it was a unanimous vote that Brendan Gill should be the County official of the year. 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 Freeholder President 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.
Freeholder President Gill was gracious in accepting the award and thanked the Mayors around the state. “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.” He added, “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 Joe DiVincenzo also congratulated Freeholder President 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 continued, “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. Congratulations, Brendan, on being named Freeholder of the Year!”
Freeholder President 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.