February 27, 2015

Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr.
Receives the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award

Freeholder President and Executive Director of the Essex Community Land Trust Britnee N. Timberlake Receives the Coretta Scott King Leadership Award


Newark, NJ – On Friday, February 27th, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. hosted the 12th Annual African American History Month Celebration. During the ceremony, the County Executive presented the Essex County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award to Leroy J. Jones, Jr., Chairman of the Essex County Democratic Committee and a former Essex County Freeholder and State Assemblyman, and the Coretta Scott King Leadership Award to the Honorable Britnee N. Timberlake, President of the Board of Chosen Freeholders and Executive Director of the Essex Community Land Trust. Both of the honorees have made significant contributions to the community and their dedication truly captures the dignity and determination of the King family.

“African American History Month is a special time of the year when we highlight the many contributions and achievements African Americans have made to our culture, economy and daily lives throughout our history,” DiVincenzo said. “Chairman Leroy Jones and Freeholder President Britnee Timberlake are role models who have dedicated their professional lives to public service and have made a significant impact on influencing government policies and improving the quality of life in their communities and throughout the State,” he added.

Leroy J. Jones, Jr. serves as the Chairman of the Essex County Democratic Committee. Prior to his chairmanship, Jones joined 1868 Public Affairs after a distinguished career as a State Legislator, County Freeholder and municipal government administrator. He served four terms in the New Jersey General Assembly – including two years as Deputy Minority Leader – where he worked on the Appropriations, Regulatory Oversight, Solid Waste and Recycling, Financial Institutions and Local Government committees, as well as the Assembly Task Force on Foreign Banking and Task Force on Business Retention and Expansion. He also served on the State House Commission.

As a two-term Essex County Freeholder, Mr. Jones served as Chairman of the Budget Committee, on the Minority Affairs Committee and on the Essex County Planning Board. He served as the City Administrator of East Orange for seven years where he was responsible for developing the city’s $100 million operating budget, served as the chief liaison between the Mayor and Council and managed the city’s 10 department heads. He also served in various positions at PSE&G in his professional career, including Business Development Manager, Director of Workforce Diversity and Public Affairs Manager. Prior to that, he worked for AT&T Corp. as a Senior Accounting Specialist, Assistant Manager for Corporate Taxes and Internal Auditor.

Mr. Jones was appointed by Assembly Speaker Shelia Oliver as a Commissioner of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority in 2012. He is currently the East Orange Democratic Municipal Committee Chairman, a position to which he was elected in 2002 and has been re-elected to four times. Mr. Jones served as the Essex County Campaign Director for Governor Jon Corzine’s 2009 re-election campaign, where he helped lead Governor Corzine to one the largest Democratic voter pluralities in the history of New Jersey. He also served as Co-Campaign Chairman for Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo.

Mr. Jones is a Trustee of the Essex County Democratic Committee, a post to which he was appointed by former Essex County Democratic Chairman Philip Thigpen in 2002. He served as an Adjunct Professor at Seton Hall University, where he has taught Public Policy for the last six years. He has appeared on numerous, public opinion television and radio talk shows and is a frequent expert contributor on Fox Network/ My 9 “New Jersey Now.”

He is a past member of the American Red Cross Board of Directors, the North Atlantic Aviation Board, the East Orange Charter School Board of Directors, the East Orange General Hospital Board of Trustees, the Inroads of New Jersey Board of Directors, the Junior Achievement of New Jersey Board, and the Essex-West Hudson Labor Council.

A resident of East Orange, Mr. Jones holds a Master’s Degree in Business Management from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Seton Hall University.

“I am very humbled today to be considered for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award. County Executive DiVincenzo has been the epitome of a champion of diversity in Essex County and I thank him for humbling me today with just the thought of any small contribution that I might have made that led to me receiving this award. To be in the company of all the phenomenal past recipients of this award is a great honor,” said Jones. “I have to pay homage to the late Congressman Donald M. Payne, Sr., Chairman Phil Thigpen, Freeholder/Councilman D. Bilal Beasley and Ray Durkin who were all strong mentors to me. It is because of all of them that I am able to stand here today,” he added.

The Honorable Britnee N. Timberlake was elected to her first term as District 3 Freeholder in November 2014 and elected President of the Board by her peers in January 2015. She is the founding Executive Director of the Essex Community Land Trust, an affordable housing organization that expands upon income diversity in Essex County by creating permanent affordable home ownership in suburban areas while also using professionals to warn against predatory lending and promote smart investments. Under her leadership, ECLT has leveraged $1 million to build affordable housing for low- to moderate-income people. She also piloted a program, College Bound Cookies, which helps children raise money for their 529 College Savings Accounts.

Timberlake is a graduate of EmergeNJ, an organization that trains and develops future female Democratic leaders. She previously served the welfare-to-work population as an AmeriCorps Member in Union County and was the Housing Chair of her local NAACP chapter. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a minor in Religious Studies, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, both from Seton Hall University. She is the daughter of Philip and Cathy Timberlake.

“Civil rights activists understand the importance of partnering with legislators to influence policy changes and laws. I want to thank Chairman LeRoy Jones for giving me the opportunity to do both, because with or without politics, I will serve the people, that is who I am. I am a champion for affordable housing and I am committed to always serving the community,” said Timberlake. “I am excited about the initiatives I have been working on as Freeholder President, along with my colleagues and I want to thank everyone for coming to this celebration. It is overwhelming to see how this room is filled and the overflow outside as well,” she added.

The African American History Month Celebration is the part of a year-long cultural series created by County Executive DiVincenzo to highlight Essex County’s diversity. Other cultural celebrations highlight Irish, Italian, Jewish, Latino and Portuguese heritage and Women’s history.

Contact:Anthony Puglisi

Lauren Shears