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401 Grand St. Paterson, NJ 07505 | (973) 881-4000
"Rich History, Bright Future"

Meet Your Freeholders

Freeholder Director
Term Expires: 12-31-21
Office Phone: (973) 881-7896
Email: clazzara@passaiccountynj.org
FREEHOLDER DEPUTY DIRECTOR CASSANDRA “SANDI” LAZZARA was elected to the Freeholder Board in 2016. A Paterson native and lifelong Passaic County resident, her commitment and desire to serve the residents of Passaic County runs deep. She was raised to embody the spirit of a public servant and to serve others with integrity, competency and loyalty.

During the past four years as a Freeholder, Freeholder Lazzara has twice served as Chair of the Passaic County Human Services Committee, a committee that provides services to the county’s most vulnerable. Additionally, she served as co-chair of the Planning and Economic Committee, which includes the county’s Economic Development Division, Public Housing Agency and County Historian. Assignments also included liaison to the Passaic County Open Space and Farmland Preservation Advisory Committee, the Board of School Estimate and the Passaic County Planning Board.

Current committees on which Freeholder Lazzara serves include Health & Human Services and Administration & Finance. She serves as a representative to the Passaic County Youth Services Commission and is afforded the opportunity to collaborate with a team of professionals who are determined to provide youth with the services and support necessary to help them realize their full potential.

Other committees Freeholder Lazzara has served on includes Law & Public Safety and Public Works.

As a working mother of two grown sons, Anthony and Joseph, she is aware of how hard it is to make ends meet today. She works closely with the Board of Chosen Freeholders, County Administrator and Passaic County staff to examine every expenditure and ensure that the taxpayers of Passaic County get the most value out of their hard-earned money.

Freeholder Lazzara has spent over twenty-five years in education promoting the welfare of children, schools, and the community. She holds a B.A. in Human Ecology from Montclair University and an M.Ed. in Administration & Supervision from William Paterson University. Freeholder Lazzara worked for the Woodland Park Board of Education in multiple capacities, including teaching. Involved with educational issues on the local, county, state and national levels, Freeholder Lazzara has proven to be a strong advocate for public education. Freeholder Lazzara knows the value of good government.

Freeholder LeporePasquale “Pat” Lepore 
Freeholder Deputy Director
Chairman of Budget Committee 
Chairman of Public Works
Services Term Expires: 12-31-22
Phone:(973) 881-4536 
Email: plepore@passaiccountynj.org

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.

Freeholder AkhterAssad R. Akhter
Term Expires: 12-31-21 
Office Phone: (973) 881-4417 
Email: aakhter@passaiccountynj.org

FREEHOLDER ASSAD R. AKHTER was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2016. He was elected in November 2017 to fill the remainder of that term and then re-elected in 2018 to a full three year term as Freeholder. 

Prior to being a Freeholder, 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 currently serves on the Board of Directors at the Paterson YMCA, the Board of Directors at the Paterson Alliance and on the Corporate Advisory Council for the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. 

As Freeholder, Assad serves on the Public Works and Health Committees. He also is also assigned as a Freeholder liaison to the Passaic County Board of Social Services, the Board of School Estimate, and the Open Space Advisory Committee. 

Assad graduated from Seton Hall University 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.


Freeholder BartlettJohn W. Bartlett Esq. 
Chairman of Health and Human Services
Term Expires: 12-31-21 
Office Phone: (973) 225-5415
Email: jbartlett@passaiccountynj.org

FREEHOLDER DIRECTOR JOHN W. BARTLETT was first elected to the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2012. In his years as a Freeholder, he has served on all of the Board’s standing committees. 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. Since he joined NJTPA, more than $115 million in federal infrastructure funding has flowed into Passaic County, supporting projects from major road improvements on Routes 46, 3, 23, and 80, to completion of the county’s section of the 103-mile Morris Canal Greenway historic site, to safety improvements protecting vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

From 2013-2016, Freeholder Bartlett served on the Passaic County Board of Social Services. At his initiative, PCBSS launched an effort to make Social Services more accessible to immigrant communities by publishing information about social services for the first time in Arabic, Bengali, and Spanish, as well as English. 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 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. Freeholder Best
Chairman of Law and Public Safety
Term Expires: 12-31-20 
Office Phone: (973) 225-5427
Email: tjbest@passaiccountynj.org

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.

Freeholder DuffyTerry Duffy
Chairman of Planning & Economic Development
Term Expires: 12-31-22 
Office Phone: (973) 881-4537
Email: tduffy@passaiccountynj.org

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.

Freeholder JamesBruce James
Chairman of Finance and Administration

Term Expires: 12-31-20
Office Phone: (973) 225-3145

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 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, and provides continued services for Seniors, Veterans, those with Special Needs and the most vulnerable citizens of Passaic County.