Joyce L. Goldman, a political activist and insider who became Essex County’s first woman director of building and grounds in 1985, died Friday. She was 82.

“A dear and beloved member of our Essex County family, Joyce has helped thousands of people by answering their questions, solving their problems and treating them with dignity,” said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo. “Her caring nature, friendship and wisdom will be missed. Our hearts go out to her family.”

A graduate of Cornell University, Goldman entered politics in the late 1960s and helped found the Montclair Peace Center, which offered career counseling and a peace-related educational initiative. She led a protest against the removal of the Reverend L. Maynard Catchings from the Montclair Board of Education in 1974. Catchings was the first black member of the Montclair School Board and supported busing and other school desegregation issues, leading Mayor Peter Banastia became a political problem.

In 1976, Goldman became the Democratic Chair of Montclair Ward 3. She ran with William Brach, a prominent liberal activist and founder of the Brach Eichler law firm. Goldman endorsed Gov. Brendan Byrne for re-election in 1977 after Essex County Democratic Party Chairman Harry Lerner included former state Sen. Ralph DeRosa (D-South Orange) on the Democratic line.

Goldman campaigned to change the Essex County charter in 1977 as president of the grassroots Montclair Democrats for Good Government and was instrumental in the victory of 26-year-old Assemblyman Peter Shapiro (D-South Orange) in his first campaign for supervisor. of Essex County in 1978.

After Shapiro took office, Goldman became his special assistant and liaison to the Board of Freeholders. She served four years as assistant district manager and two years as deputy director of buildings and grounds. Shapiro appointed her to the position following the retirement of Edin Rodrick, where she oversaw 300 employees and a $12 million budget.

She lost her job after Shapiro lost his 1986 re-election bid. Goldman was succeeded by John Amato, the father of the new county executive.

When Democrats regained the county executive office in 1990, Goldman became director of the Essex County Office of Consumer Services. She lost that job after Republican Jim Trefinger was elected in 1994.

Goldman endorsed Joseph DiVincenzo for county supervisor in the 2002 primary and later became a member of his transition team. Prior to her retirement, she served as director of the Essex County Office of Election Services.

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