Francis Hodgson Takes Over as Mayor of Surf City After Serving 46 Years on Council

Jan 13, 2016

Francis Hodgson, a member of the Surf City Council for more than four decades, was sworn in as mayor during the reorganization meeting Wednesday, Jan. 6. He is taking over from Leonard T. Connors, who was the state’s longest serving mayor at 50 years.

“Len is a tough act to follow, but I know how the system works because I’ve been behind him for 46 years,” said Hodgson, who made a motion to have the municipal building named after Connors. “We’re going to carry on everything the way it’s been, and we’re going to be just as thrifty.”

According to the new mayor, Connors was concerned that the town would get into heavy bonding once he left. But Hodgson, who chaired the finance committee for most of the 46 years he served, said he is not a frivolous spender.

“We won’t spend money foolishly,” he stated. “ If something needs to be done, we will do it. It’s going to be a tight ship, and (Councilwoman) Jackie (Siciliano) and the guys all feel the same way.”

The borough has zero debt and a surplus of approximately $1 million, to $1.5 million, Hodgson noted.

“The town’s in good shape,” he said. “Everything’s going to run just the way Len would have wanted it.”

To fill his former roles, the mayor appointed his son, Councilman William Hodgson, to take over as chairman of the finance committee. Councilman John Klose, who has served for more than 20 years, was chosen by council as the new president. John Hadash was named head of the sanitation committee after being elected to fill the vacant council seat. He had to resign from his position on the land use board, on which he served for 12 years.

At the close of the meeting, Ocean County Freeholder Gerry Little, who is a Surf City resident, publicly congratulated everyone for their new appointments.

“When you get to see the perspective that I do of all 33 municipalities in Ocean County, and actually elsewhere in other counties, we could not be more fortunate to live in a wonderful community,” he said. “We are safe because of the police chief. We have an excellent public works department, who does a heck of a job. We have good water and sewer service, and we have a great beach team. It’s because of all of you that are up there.”

— Kelley Anne Essinger

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