Freeholder Theodore O. Best, Jr. was elected on November 8, 2011, becoming the youngest Freeholder ever in Passaic County and the State of New Jersey. Born and raised in Paterson, Freeholder Best learned firsthand how governmental policies impact everyday life. A lack of funding for recreation and after school programs motivated Freeholder Best to get involved in student government at East Side High School and the city’s NAACP youth division where he became President of both organizations. Freeholder Best’s civic engagement followed him to Rutgers University where he served as Convener of the Dean’s Diversity Advocacy Board, Chairperson of the President’s Student Advisory Board, and headed the RU Voting Campaign.
Building on his background in public policy, Freeholder Best moved to Washington, D.C.and served as a staffer for Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. where he worked on legislation that led to the nation’s newest national park at the Paterson Great Falls.
Freeholder Best returned to Paterson in 2008, purchased a home on the same street where he grew up, and ran for the Paterson Board of Education to “help make a difference in the lives of our young people.” He became the youngest Commissioner and then President ever elected to the Board. In addition to serving as a Commissioner on the state’s third largest school district with 31,000 students and a $520+ million budget, Freeholder Best demonstrated his commitment to young people by taking a job with NJCDC as Program Director of The Great Falls Youth Development Center and Advisor for The Paterson Youth Council.
Freeholder Best currently serves on the Public Works Committee as the Chairman. He is also a member of the Planning and Economic Development Committee, as well as, the Human Services Committee. A true community servant, Freeholder Best has been an active board member of Paterson Habitat for Humanity, Paterson Team HOPE, Paterson NAACP, Paterson Rotary P.M. Club, Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc., Passaic County Board of Social Services, Passaic County Board of School Estimates for PCCC, Passaic County Youth Services Commission, and the Passaic County Democratic Committee.
Freeholder Best is happily married to wife Kyona, a teacher at Passaic County Tech, and is a father to a beautiful daughter, Riley Marie Best and newborn son, TJ Best III.
Freeholder Bruce James was elected to the Board of Chosen Freeholders in November 2005. Freeholder James has dedicated much of his life to helping the residents of Passaic County as an employee of the Passaic County Board of Social Services, where he worked as a caseworker and then supervisor. He left that board once he was elected to serve as a full-time Freeholder.
Freeholder James was born to parents of both Irish and Italian descent; his maternal grandfather was an Italian immigrant who came to this country at the age of 17 to start a new life for himself and his future family. Freeholder James has been a resident of Clifton for 27 years.
Freeholder James understands the needs of Passaic County residents. He has served as the long time President of his labor organization, where he was able to balance out the needs of the employees with a conservative eye on the needs of taxpayers of the county.
He attended William Paterson College where he majored in Political Science and Philosophy. He was named to the Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities and served as President of the Student Government. Freeholder James was a past member of the Board of Trustees of the Greater Paterson Opportunities Industrialization Center and served as Fundraising Chairman of St. Joseph’s Hospital Early Intervention Program and the Passaic County Food Bank. He is a current commissioner for the New Jersey State Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council.
Freeholder James recognizes the importance and is a strong advocate for stable taxes, maintaining roads and bridges, preserving open space, and providing quality education at the county technical high school and Passaic Community College.
Freeholder James is a hands-on Freeholder who has made it his priority to develop a comprehensive energy plan that has already saved significant tax dollars for the county, as well as, for participating municipalities and government entities. He pushed for, and now chairs the Energy and Sustainability Committee for 2013. In addition, he currently serves as a voting member of the Law and Public Safety, Human Services, and Administration and Finance committees. As Director, he serves as Ex-Officio on all other committees. He is a member of the Board of Managers of Preakness Healthcare Center and a member of the Board of Estimates for both Passaic County Technical Institute and Passaic County Community College. He also serves as a liaison to the Human Services Advisory Council.
A New Jersey native and a Passaic County resident, Democratic candidate for County Clerk Jeff Gardner is a fighter who isn’t afraid to work hard to deliver for Passaic County. For over 20 years, Jeff has been a successful labor attorney, most recently in his own practice in Hawthorne.
Jeff believes in open, transparent government. That means engaging all of our residents, giving them a reason to get involved, and holding our elected officials accountable. He also believes in equality of opportunity and the value of education, and is proud to serve as a Trustee of Passaic County Community College.
Previously, as a Senior Field Attorney with Region 22 of the National Labor Relations Board in Newark, Jeff was part of the team responsible for the investigation of unfair labor practice charges across northern and central New Jersey. As a Field Attorney in the Newark Regional Office, he represented the General Counsel in the litigation of alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act. He also served as National co-Chair of the NLRB’s Management-Union EEO/Diversity Advisory Committee, and held the offices of Local President, Vice President and Treasurer in the NLRB Union representing the employees of the Agency.
Jeff graduated with Honors from Rutgers College, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his J.D. from Rutgers Law School – Newark, and was awarded its Pro Bono Service Award. He also holds a Certificate in Equal Employment Opportunity Studies from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. While in law school, he interned with then-Magistrate Freda Wolfson in United States District Court, Trenton, NJ. Upon graduation, Jeff clerked for the Honorable Sylvia B. Pressler, P.J.A.D., New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division. Prior to joining the NLRB, he worked in private practice for 3 years, first with Stern Steiger Croland in Paramus, and later with Budd Larner in Short Hills, specializing in labor and employment law.
From 2002 to 2004, Jeff was an Adjunct Professor at New York Law School, where he taught a series of courses: Drafting Contracts; Legal Reasoning, Writing & Research; and First-Year Written and Oral Advocacy. He has frequently served as a volunteer judge for law students at Rutgers, Seton Hall and New York Law School. He is admitted to practice in New Jersey and New York. In addition to running his own law firm, Jeff is an investigator at Verita, LLC, where he conducts internal workplace investigations of employee misconduct