NJ may change outdated ‘freeholder’ title to ‘commissioner’

New Jersey Capitol
Photo credit Aneese/Getty Images
By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey may soon do away with the outdated title of “county freeholder” — a measure already gaining support in the state Legislature.

Gov. Phil Murphy, along with Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, said in a statement that they support a plan to rename the position to “county commissioner.”

The controversy lies in the fact that the term “freeholder” originally referred to only white male landowners who could vote and hold public office.

The joint statement reads: “As our nation tears down symbols of injustice, we must also tear down words we use in New Jersey that were born from racism. It’s past time for New Jersey to phase out the term ‘freeholder’ from our public discourse.

“This is not a matter of political correctness; it is a corrective action to replace an outdated designation that is rooted in institutional prejudice.”