Gopal co-sponsored a last minute change–a substitution– in legislation that passed in the Senate last week which, if passed in the Assembly and signed by Governor Murphy, will mandate that the name of the office of Freeholder be changed to County Commissioner.
“Commissioner” is even more archaic than “freeholder.” The origin of the word goes back to Medieval Latin and means one who is anointed with authority. Typically, a commissioner is appointed, though it has evolved through the ages. In the 2020’s some commissioners are appointed and some are elected.
Senator Declan O’Scanlon voted in favor of the original bill in committee. The bill as first proposed gave New Jersey counties the option of changing the name of their freeholders to commissioners. O’Scanlon voted no after the language was changed to a mandate.
Monmouth County Freeholder Gerry Scharfenberger, an archaeologist who knows about archaic stuff, said the proposal to change the term is “mindboggling in its absurdity” and a waste of taxpayers’ money.