ICYMI: Jacquelyn A. Suárez Sworn In as Department of Community Affairs Commissioner

Government and Politics

June 7, 2024

From: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy

TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs on June 7th, formally announced Jacquelyn A. Suárez as Commissioner of the Department. Following her confirmation by the New Jersey State Senate, Commissioner Suárez becomes the 19th person to lead DCA since its inception in 1967 and the Department’s first Hispanic Commissioner. Governor Murphy hosted a ceremonial swearing in earlier this week at the Statehouse.

Commissioner Suárez had been serving as Acting Commissioner since September 18, 2023. Governor Murphy formally nominated her to the position in January and the State Senate confirmed her nomination on May 20, 2024. Commissioner Suárez succeeds former Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who also served as DCA Commissioner until the time of her passing in August 2023.

“It was my honor to officially welcome Jacquelyn into my Administration’s cabinet earlier this week as the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs,” said Governor Murphy. “Jacquelyn’s expertise and leadership as the director of the Division of Local Government Services has benefited our Administration for years, helping us through challenging times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While Sheila Oliver can never truly be replaced, Jacquelyn will undoubtedly continue to build on her legacy on behalf of all New Jersey communities.”

“I am humbled and honored that Governor Murphy has entrusted me to lead DCA. I also appreciate the late Lt. Governor Oliver’s mentorship and the potential she saw in me, which resulted in me being able to carry the DCA torch,” said Commissioner Suárez. “It is my privilege to lead a Department that is helping to create housing people can afford, revitalize neighborhoods, make communities safer through building and fire codes, support local governments’ efforts to run more efficiently, and fortify communities against future disasters. I will continue to work to ensure that access to DCA resources is fair and equitable, and meet our communities where they are so New Jerseyans can thrive.”

DCA is one of the State's largest departments with an over $1 billion budget and more than 1,000 employees across seven divisions. The Department also oversees five affiliated state agencies.

Commissioner Suárez will continue to serve as director of DCA’s Division of Local Government Services (DLGS), a position she has held since January 2021, where she provides local governments with technical and financial assistance. As the director of DLGS, she also oversees the review and approval of all municipal, county, and fire district budgets, works to uphold the financial integrity of local government units, and guides the conduct of local government officials.

Prior to serving as the director of DLGS, Commissioner Suárez provided legal advice to Governor Murphy on matters affecting his administration as an associate counsel in the Governor’s Office. During her time in the Governor’s Office, she advised on pending legislation, statutory responsibilities, litigation, the development of administrative regulations, and various proposals impacting the Governor’s public policy agenda. With a focus on issues related to the Departments of Community Affairs, Human Services, Children and Families, and the Administrative Office of the Courts, Suárez was integral to advancing the Governor’s agenda in these areas and, in particular, to spearheading many of the State’s COVID response policies such as the eviction moratorium.

Before joining the Governor’s Office, Commissioner Suárez was a legislative liaison at DCA where she acted as the point person for all communication with the State Legislature, drafted bill language, spearheaded the implementation of newly signed legislation, and helped review and advise on various decisions, orders, settlements, and other matters impacting the Department.

Commissioner Suárez is a New Jersey native who earned her Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law in Camden and her bachelor’s degree in communications, legal institutions, economics, and government from American University in Washington D.C. She is a member of both the New Jersey and New York bar associations. She is also a member of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey.

DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including local government management and finance, affordable housing production, fire safety, building safety, community planning and development, disaster recovery and mitigation, historic preservation, and information privacy.

For more information about DCA, visit https://nj.gov/dca/