Freeholder Deputy Director Bruce James
Freeholder Assad Akhter
Freeholder John W. Bartlett, Esq.
Freeholder T.J. Best
Cassandra “Sandi” Lazzara
Term Expires: 12-31-21
Office Phone: (973) 881-7896
Freeholder Deputy Director
Term Expires: 12-31-20
Office Phone: (973) 225-3145
FREEHOLDER DEPUTY DIRECTOR 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 28 years. Freeholder James understands the needs of Passaic County residents. He has served as the longtime 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.
Assad R. Akhter
Chairman of Law & Public Safety
Term Expires: 12-31-21
Office Phone: (973) 881-4417
FREEHOLDER ASSAD R. AKHTER was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2016. Apart from his role as a public official, Assad currently works as the Director of Community Outreach for the St. Joseph's Healthcare System. Prior to this most recent position Assad worked for Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) over the course of 11 years in both his Washington and New Jersey Congressional offices. In his capacity as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Congressman, he was directly responsible for managing the local district offices and staff for the 9th Congressional District of New Jersey. Before that assignment, Assad served as the Legislative Director in the Washington, DC office where he oversaw the Congressman’s legislative agenda and staff as he was tasked with coordinating the Congressman’s position on the House Ways & Means Committee, as well as staffing his assignment on the House Homeland Security Committee. During his time as Legislative Director, Assad was able to work on a number of momentous pieces of legislation including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act; all of which were keystones to President Obama's legislative agenda during his first term. Assad started as a staffer on Capitol Hill in 2003 and previously worked for Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) where he was the lead staffer for her assignment on the House Science Committee. During college Assad also spent one summer working as a Legislative Fellow for Rep. David Bonior (D-MI). Prior to his appointment as a Freeholder, Assad was chosen to serve on the Board of Trustees at Passaic County Community College. Assad currently serves on the Board of Directors at the Paterson YMCA and on the Alumni Board of Directors at Seton Hall University. As Freeholder, Assad serves on the Human Services, Planning and Economic Development, Energy and Sustainability, and Budget Committees. He also is also assigned as a Freeholder liaison to the Passaic County Board of Social Services, the Board of School Estimate, the Open Space Advisory Committee and as an Alternate Delegate to the New Jersey Association of Counties. Assad graduated from Seton Hall University in 2003 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the School of Diplomacy and International Relations. He graduated from the Honors program and also received the Undergraduate Leadership Award from the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at graduation. Assad and his wife Saira are proud to be homeowners in the City of Paterson, residing in the Lakeview section of South Paterson.
John W. Bartlett Esq.
Chairman of Public Works
Term Expires: 12-31-21
Office Phone: (973) 225-5415
FREEHOLDER JOHN W. BARTLETT was first elected to the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2012 and re-elected in 2015. In his years as a Freeholder, he has served on most of the Board’s standing committees, including as: Chair (2014) and member (2015-16) of the Budget committee, Chair (2013, 2016) and member (2015) of the Finance, Administration & Personnel committee, Chair (2015, 2017) and member (2013-2014) of the Planning & Economic Development committee, Chair (2014) and member (2016-17) of the Health, Education & Community Service committee, Member (2014, 2017) of the Law & Public Safety committee, and Chair (2017) and member (2013-14, 2016) of the Energy & Sustainability committee. Freeholder Bartlett also served from 2013-2016 on the Passaic County Board of Social Services. At his initiative, PCBSS launched a first-time effort to make Social Services more accessible for immigrant communities by publishing information about social services for the first time in Arabic, Bengali, and Spanish, as well as English. As Passaic County’s representative on the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, Freeholder Bartlett helps prioritize and oversee $2+ billion in annual infrastructure improvements in our region. From 2009 to 2013, Freeholder Bartlett served as the founding Chairman of the Board of Friends Of Passaic County Parks. Under his leadership, the foundation launched a summer concert series and opportunities for local residents to sponsor memorial benches, trees, plaques, and other commemorations for lost loved ones. Educated at Harvard Law School, Freeholder Bartlett is a Partner in Murphy Orlando LLC. He has been recognized with the highest professional peer-review rating, AV-Preeminent, from Martindale-Hubbell, and as one of the New Jersey Law Journal’s “Forty Under 40” promising young attorneys in 2010. Before law school, Freeholder Bartlett received a B.A. degree with honors from Brown University and was a Raoul Wallenberg Scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He also wrote for The Associated Press in Israel, and served as communications director for the national anti-crime organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids in Washington, D.C. Freeholder Bartlett lives in Wayne with his wife Dr. Khyati Y. Joshi and their son.
Theodore "TJ" Best, Jr.
Chairman of Health, Education, & Community Services
Term Expires: 12-31-20
Office Phone: (973) 225-5427
FREEHOLDER THEODORE O. BEST, JR. (T.J.) was first elected on November 8, 2011, at the time becoming the youngest Freeholder ever in Passaic County and the State of New Jersey. Now in his second term, Freeholder Best has served two terms as Deputy Director, one term as Director and on every standing Freeholder committee in the county. He is committed to improving the quality of life, services, and programs for all county residents while not adding additional unnecessary burdens to taxpayers. Born and raised in Paterson, Freeholder Best got involved in public service at a very young age advocating for funding for recreation and after-school programs as President of Eastside H.S.’s Student Government. 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, Minority Student Recurrent Week, Homecoming and Annual Student Leadership Summit. 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 creation of 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. As an advocate for young people, Freeholder Best has worked as Program Director of The Great Falls Youth Development Center and Advisor for The Paterson Youth Council. After serving for a full term on the Board of Ed., Director Best returned to Paterson Public Schools as District-wide Anti-Bullying Coordinator and Director of Student Attendance; where he is currently employed. A true community servant, Freeholder Best has been an active board member of the Great Falls National Historic Park Federal Advisory Commission, NJ Association of Counties, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, Passaic County Board of Social Services, Passaic County Open Space and Farmland Preservation Advisory Committee, Passaic County History and Tourism Board, Passaic County Youth Services Commission, Passaic County Planning Board, Paterson Habitat for Humanity, Paterson Team HOPE, Paterson NAACP, Paterson Rotary P.M. Club and the Delta Mu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc. Freeholder Best still lives in Paterson and is happily married to wife Kyona, a teacher at Passaic County Tech, and is a proud father to two beautiful children.
Chairman of Planning & Economic Development
Term Expires: 12-31-19
Office Phone: (973) 881-4537
FREEHOLDER TERRY DUFFY was elected to the Board in 2004. He is a lifelong Passaic County resident, who with his wife Tara and their four children: Sean, Ryan, Terrence, and Erin, along with his grandchildren Robert Madeline, and Peter live in the beautiful up-county community of West Milford. Freeholder Duffy attended Don Bosco Preparatory High School in Ramsey and Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he majored in both business and history. He is a successful small businessman. He owns and operates Duffy’s Tavern in the Riverside section of Paterson. Terry has served in numerous leadership positions with affiliated business and trade associations at the local, county, and state level. Freeholder Duffy also serves as the Regional Director of the New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association. Freeholder Duffy is an active supporter of Passaic County’s law and public safety communities. In 1996, he was honored by the Paterson Policeman’s Benevolent Association, Local 1 as their Silver Card Holder Award winner. The Silver Card Holder Award is the highest award that can be given to a civilian by the Policeman’s Benevolent Association. He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus, 2nd degree, as well as, charter member of the Paterson Chapter of the Blue Knights Organization. Freeholder Duffy’s commitment to his community is most evident in his work on behalf of Passaic County’s children. Freeholder Terry Duffy has served as the volunteer athletic director and as basketball coach at Our Lady Queen of Peace in West Milford and was honored for his work as the C.Y.O. Coach of the Year. He is an annual sponsor of little league teams in both Paterson and West Milford. As a successful businessman, Freeholder Duffy knows the importance of keeping our county’s economic base strong and vital. Two of his goals are to continue the county’s current economic development programs and increase opportunities for businesses and families to flourish within our county. His four children all contribute to Passaic County as well. His son Sean is a Paterson fireman, Ryan and Terrence are both Paterson policemen, and his daughter Erin is studying to get her Masters in Occupational Therapy.
Pasquale “Pat” Lepore
Chairman of Budget Committee
Chairman of Finance & Administration
Services Term Expires: 12-31-19
FREEHOLDER PAT LEPORE was first elected to the Board in 2004 and subsequently reelected in 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. His past service includes four terms as the Mayor of Woodland Park and a term on the Borough Council. He and his wife Linda are proud to call the Borough of Woodland Park/West Paterson their home for the past 44 years. They live there along with their son Robert, his wife Rebecca, and two grandchildren. Robert is a veteran of United States Marine Corps and continues his service to his community and country as a Police Officer in Woodland Park. As Freeholder Lepore very proudly commented at his swearing-in ceremony: “My son’s public service far exceeds my own.” Upon election to the Freeholder Board, he retired as a Sales Representative for the Entenmann’s Division of George Weston Bakeries. He remains a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 802 located in Long Island City, New York. Freeholder Lepore’s commitment to Passaic County has been recognized by many public, private and civic organizations. This includes service on the Alfred H. Baumann Library Board, the Office of Emergency Management, the West Paterson Boys & Girls Club, Passaic County Board of Social Services, and Camp Hope Commission. Throughout his tenure on the Board of Chosen Freeholders, Freeholder Lepore has been elected Director of the board twice and has also served on every standing Passaic County committee including the Passaic County Technical Institute and the Passaic County Community College Board of School Estimates. Freeholder Lepore helped spearhead fiscal initiatives and has served as budget chair for the past 7 years resulting in nine credit upgrades to Passaic County’s bond ratings from Moody’s Financial Services, an independent credit rating agency which has given the county its highest bond rating in its history. This has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings on interest payments and debt service for Passaic County taxpayers. Freeholder Lepore’s fiscal stewardship has allowed our county government to rein in costs, increase efficiencies, and more effectively share services.