What's a Freeholder?


Term dates back to the New Jersey State Constitution of 1776

“All inhabitants of the colony, of full age, who are worth fifty pounds proclamation money, clear estate in the same, and have resided within the county in which they claim a vote for twelve months immediately preceding the election, shall be (declared a “freeholder”) and entitled to vote for Representative in Council and Assembly; and also for all other public officers, that shall be elected by the people of the county at large.

Most other states have a county commission or county council.

Which branch of the government does the Board of Chosen Freeholders represent? It all depends on the county.

The board can be Executive, Legislative, or a combination

What is the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders?

Made up of 5 Freeholders, elected in staggering election periods

Each of the Freeholders is Elected at-large

A full-time County Administrator manages the day-to-day operations of County Government.

The board selects a director each year from amongst its members to lead meetings.

What are the responsibilities of a Freeholder?

Each Freeholder chairs a standing committee:

Human Services

Finance and Administrative Services

Public Works

Public Health & Safety

Each Freeholder oversees:

County Higher Education and Vocational Technical Schools

Road and Bridge Maintenance

Parks and Recreation

Social Services

County Budget