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Community Oversight Board

Deborah Elaine Collins


A former Wall Streeter, Deborah Elaine Collins, Esq. is the Director of Small Business Development and Affirmative Action for the County of Essex, New Jersey. Ms. Collins is responsible for the implementation of a Plan of Action to ensure that small, woman-owned, and minority businesses have an opportunity to compete successfully for public contracts. Essex County is the first and only County in the State of New Jersey ever to conduct and complete a disparity study.

A Labor and Employment lawyer, Ms. Collins worked in corporate America and on Wall Street for 15 years prior to entering County government in New Jersey. This was not her first foray into the public sector. Earlier in her career, she was a litigator in the General Counsel’s office of the New York City Transit Authority where she specialized in the defense of employment discrimination cases. It was at the NYC Transit Authority where she later served a stint as Deputy Assistant Vice President of Affirmative Action and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Programs.

Ms. Collins ended her career at the Transit Authority as the first Special Counsel to the chief of Transit Police specializing in employment discrimination and affirmative action matters.

Ms. Collins received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from New York University. She received her Master of Arts degree in Spanish and Spanish American Literature from the Instituto de Cultura Hispanica under the auspices of NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science in Madrid, Spain. After a brief career in academia teaching Spanish at the college level, she attended Rutgers Law School in Newark, New Jersey where she received the degree of Juris Doctor.

Deborah Collins is the recipient of several awards including the 2012 Trailblazer Award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women; 2011 Leadership Award from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; and the 2009 Achievement Award from the Caribbean American Business Association.

She was appointed to the University Hospital Community Oversight Board on July 18, 2013 for a term that will expire January 17, 2018.