2021 Board of County Commissioners
Shanel Y. Robinson, Director • Sara Sooy, Deputy Director
Melonie Marano • Paul Drake• Douglas Singleterry
How to contact the Somerset County Commissioners' Office
Somerset County Board of County Commissioners
Somerset County Administration Building
20 Grove Street
P.O. Box 3000
Somerville, NJ 08876
Telephone: (908) 231-7030
Fax: (908) 231-8754
The Role of County Government: "What Is A County Commissioner?"
As of January 1, 2021, Somerset County is governed and managed by a Board of County Commissioners, formerly known as the Board of Chosen Freeholders. The board consists of five members with one or two elected each year during the November general election from the County at large to serve three-year terms.
County Commissioners elect from among themselves a Director who conducts their meetings. The other Somerset County Commissioners each chair a standing committee reflecting the structure of county government: Human Services; Finance and Administrative Services; Public Works; and Public Health & Safety. The Commissioner Director and County Administrator are ex-officio members of each committee.
The position of County Commissioner is considered part-time, although due to the complexity of county government today, an increasing amount of time is spent by these elected officials on County business.
The County Commissioners employ a full-time County Administrator who manages the day-to-day operations of County government. The Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners oversees the work of their offices. Department heads are appointed in accordance with statute and by resolution of the board. Somerset County currently has 1,098 full-time employees and 144 part-time employees in 52 divisions.
Among the many essential services provided by Somerset County government are higher education, road and bridge maintenance, curbside recycling, parks and recreation, employment training, social services, recording of deeds and wills, public health services, and much more.
Prior to 2021, County Commissioners were known as "Freeholders," a carryover from colonial days when only property owners - then known as freeholders - were entitled to vote and hold office. Because of concerns that the term reflected a time when only white men had a path to lead New Jersey’s county governments, the NJ state legislature passed legislation to change the political lexicon and Governor Phil Murphy signed the law on August 21, 2020.