Bill O'Dea

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Bill O'Dea
Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders
Assumed office
Preceded byHenry Gallo
Member of Jersey City Council
from Ward B
In office
Personal details
William O'Dea

(1959-02-20) February 20, 1959 (age 63)
Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materSt. John’s University (1981)

Bill O'Dea (born February 20, 1959) is an American politician, urban economic development consultant and author. A native of Jersey City, New Jersey, he has served on Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders since 1997.


O'Dea is a native of Jersey City, born February 20, 1959 in St. Joseph's Parish, the son of William Patrick O'Dea Senior and Blanche (Zakzrewski) O'Dea.[1] He moved to the West Side as a young boy. He attended St. Aloysius elementary school and St. Peter's Preparatory School.[2] He graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. degree from St. John’s University (1981).[3] and B.S. in criminal justice, Seton Hall Law School (1982).

O’Dea has been Deputy Executive Director of the Elizabeth Development Company since 1995, where worked as project manager (1993—1994) and Urban Enterprise Zone director (1994—1995).[4] Under his direction, the National Association of State Development Agencies named EDC as the #1 urban enterprise zone programs in America in 1998.[5]

O’Dea was named to “Who’s Who in International Business” in 2005 and to Who's Who in America in 2006.[6]

Political career[edit]

O'Dea, at 26, become the youngest elected official of Jersey City.[3] He served two consecutive terms, between 1985 and 1993, as a Jersey City Councilman,[7][4] initially responsible for finding funds to remediate the PJP Landfill.[3]

Since 1997 O'Dea represents[8] District 2 on the Hudson County, New Jersey Board of Chosen Freeholders, one of nine members who serve in a legislative role administering all county business. District 2 includes the West Side and parts of the Marion Section and Journal Square, all in Jersey City.[9]

O'Dea was elected Freeholder by one vote[3] in a hotly contested election amongst county committee people to fill the unexpired term of Freeholder Henry Gallo, who died unexpectedly in September 1997. In November 1998, O'Dea defended his seat for the remaining one year of the term, and was re-elected in 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2008.[10] O'Dea's initial three-year term of office expired on December 31, 2011. O'Dea was elected Chair of the Board of Freeholders on January 4, 2011.[11] In 2012 the Hudson Reporter named him #12 in its list of Hudson County's 50 most influential people.[12] He was re-elected November 4, 2014 in an uncontested race.[13]

In his fifth full term, Freeholder O'Dea served as Chairman of the County Banking Committee and Member of the following Committees: Contracts Review; Environment, Health and Human Services; Task Force on Homeless; and Public Resources. He also serves as the Freeholder Board's representative to the Hudson County Schools of Technology Board of School Estimate, the Hudson County Improvement Authority, the Workforce Investment Board and the County Planning Board.


O’Dea wrote The Legacy of Haguesville, published in 2013. The book is a satirical look at local government, politics and the machinations of a campaign in a mythical election for a Congressional seat in New Jersey in 2002. It draws from ‘historical fiction’ from the late 1960s and early 1970s taken from the exploits of the ‘Hudson County Political Machine’; an organization that in its heyday was run by William Hague.[14][3] Other earlier works include screenplays for DVD and video called A Clown in Babylon and television sitcom adapted for the stage called Therapy.[2] and The Pitts.

Near collision incident[edit]

On November 30, 2017 O'Dea had a near collision with another motorist in Jersey City. He told the other motorist to pull over. According the driver of the other car, O'Dea flashed a badge at him, something that he denies doing. A video of the confrontation was taken by the other motorist. While the badge is not visible in the video, the other driver asks O'Dea if he is a cop. O'Dea responded to the question, "No, but they work for me. I'm in charge of the Sheriff's Department." A sheriff's officer arrived afterwards but did not issue summons to either driver.[15][16]


  1. "William Patrick O'Dea". Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sullivan, Al (June 20, 2003). "The secret life of Bill O Dea Freeholder s play performed and screenplay produced". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 O’Dea, Bill (2013), THE LEGACY OF HAGUESVILLE The Legacy of Haugesville, Author House, ISBN 9781477297094, William O’Dea has served in appointed or elected office for almost his entire adult life. In 1985 he was first elected to the Jersey City Council at the age of twenty six. (The youngest in the City’s history). His first task upon being elected was finding the funds to remediate a burning toxic landfill in his district. In 1997 he was elected as a County Legislator by a single vote of the County Committee and has been re-elected to five consecutive terms: Running unopposed in the last three elections cycles. Viewed as an outspoken ‘Maverick’, he successfully took on and defeated the Hudson County Political Organization in 1998 and 2002. A graduate of Saint John’s University in New York City with degrees in Political Science and Criminal Justice, O’Dea brings an honest, humorous insider’s perspective to government and politics. His no holds barred style has ruffled many a feather in his three plus decades of public service. He has also co-authored two scripts which were produced as Independent Films.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Jersey City Hudson County Freehold William (Billy) O'Dea Known for a questioning mind and an ability to get things done,". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  9. Freeholder District 2, Hudson County, New Jersey. Accessed January 15, 2011.
  10. O'Dea, Bill (4 January 2013). "THE LEGACY OF HAGUESVILLE". AuthorHouse. Retrieved 4 July 2017 – via Amazon.
  11. "Jersey City Freeholder Bill O'Dea elected chairman of governing body".
  12. Adriana Rambay Fernández, Stephen LaMarca, Gennarose Pope, Ray Smith, Al Sullivan and E. Assata Wright. "They've Got the Power". The Hudson Reporter. January 8, 2012. Pages 1, 4-7 and 10-11.
  13. "Hudson County General Election November 4, 2014 Official Results". Hudson County Clerk. November 17, 2014. Archived from the original on November 11, 2015. Retrieved 2014-12-23.
  14. "Veteran Hudson politico Bill O'Dea signing copies of his new novel tonight". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  15. Conte, Michaelangelo (21 December 2017). "Did N.J. pol abuse power of office by making traffic stop, flashing badge?". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 22 December 2017.

External links[edit]

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