Henfey won’t run again for mayor, supports Rosenello in next election

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North Wildwood Mayor Bill Henfey North Wildwood Mayor Bill Henfey

NORTH WILDWOOD — Mayor Bill Henfey announced to residents and council during the Jan. 2 reorganization meeting that he would not run for reelection as the city’s mayor.

Instead he would support current Council President Patrick Rosenello in his mayoral run.

“I’ve completed 20 years in government office,” Henfey told the Leader. “You got to know when to fold them.”

"I whole heartedly support Patrick Rosenello if he wants to seek the Republican nomination," Henfey told the audience at the meeting.


Rosenello confirmed that he would put his name forward for the 16-member Republican committee to decide if they want to back his run.

Henfey began his tenure in city government in 1994 as councilman-at-large, a position he held for 12 years.

In 2006 he ran unopposed for mayor when Aldo Palombo, who was mayor for 12 years, retired. He began his first term as mayor as the city celebrated its 100th birthday.

Henfey said that he isn’t stepping out of the running because of any issue with the city’s government. In fact, he said that he is thankful to the residents and his fellow council members for all this city has accomplished during his years as mayor.

When he was sworn in as mayor in January 2006, Henfey told the council to start their engines because they had a lot of work ahead of them.

Years later, Henfey said he was able to accomplish what he set out to do. The top thing on his list was to make North Wildwood “the best place to live.”

“And I think we’ve worked together to provide residents with an affordable place to live with services and a great quality of life,” he said. 

Repairing the city’s streets is another project Henfey tackled during his time as mayor.

“I think we’ve done an incredible amount of work on the streets,” Henfey said of his efforts to improve the city’s infrastructure. 

Other council members joked that his nickname should have been “Blacktop Bill” because of his dedication to street and utility reconstruction and resurfacing the city’s roads.

The city’s seawall reconstruction, Surf Avenue pedestrian improvements the beach replenishment project, repairs to the boardwalk, the hockey rink, the community center, and City Hall all took place under Henfey’s time as mayor.

“We got the projects done thanks to the cooperation of council and all the departments involved. At the end of the day, we did what was best for North Wildwood,” he said. "If you keep having to look behind, you trip when you try to go forward."

Henfey said he was proud that the administration could invest infrastructure while maintaining a stable tax rate.

Asked why he chose now to retire, Henfey said it was “the right decision at the right time.”

“If I took on another term, I wasn’t going to get out of office until I was 68,” he said. “When I commit to something I want to finish it and I didn’t want to have to leave a term early.”

“At the end of my term, I’ll have been mayor for eight years. I didn’t want to get stale,” Henfey said with a laugh.

Anyone who thinks Henfey has plans to take it easy during his last year in office is making a mistake. The mayor said there are 20 projects currently going on in the city, most of them still dealing with recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

"I'm going to be the same proactive mayor that I've been for the last seven years," he said.

Henfey and his wife Diane, who have lived in the borough for over forty years, are planning to remain in the city. He joked that she attended the Jan. 2 meeting to make sure he was really going to announce his decision to retire at the end of his term.

“But I’m not going anywhere. I'm not leaving town,” he said. “I’m planning to stay active in the OEM [Office of Emergency Management] and the fire department.”

Along with his long-time involvement in the Anglesea Volunteer Fire Company, Henfey is a member of the North Wildwood Republican Club, Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the local Loyal Order of Moose and Elks Lodge.

Lauren Suit can be emailed at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can comment on this story at shorenewstoday.com. 

  Council President Patrick Rosenello said that he would put his name forward for the city's Republican nomination for mayor. Mayor Bill Henfey said he would support Rosenello's run for office. 
Council President Patrick Rosenello said that he would put his name forward for the city's Republican nomination for mayor. Mayor Bill Henfey said he would support Rosenello's run for office.

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