Council Welcomes New Member

Robert Hudak, with his son Michael holding the family Bible, was sworn in as councilman by clerk Marie Key on May 28. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)
Robert Hudak, with his son Michael holding the family Bible, was sworn in as councilman by clerk Marie Key on May 28. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

MANCHESTER – The Manchester Township Council appointed a replacement for Charles Frattini Sr., who resigned at the end of April.

Robert Hudak, 42, a resident of Pine Lake Park and member of the township’s planning board, was sworn in May 28. His son, Michael, held the family Bible as clerk Marie Key administered the oath of office. His wife, Ellen, a school social worker in Burlington County, and children Andrew and Chrissy, showed their support from the audience.

Hudak was one of six candidates who applied to fill Frattini’s vacancy.

“He was a great interviewee and a great candidate. We had a great crop of folks to choose from,” Councilman Craig Wallis said.

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Hudak, a native of Middlesex County, moved to Manchester a dozen years ago, although his familiarity with Ocean County stretches back to infancy.

“It’s a great community. We’ve come down here in Ocean County to vacation since the beginning of time, if you will. My family has been down in this area. My aunt has owned a house in Forked River since 1979, so we’ve been coming to the area ever since,” Hudak said. “We were exploring and getting to know the area, so my wife and I decided to relocate here. We chose Manchester.”

Hudak had applied for a council seat back when Brendan Weiner resigned due to relocating to Lacey Township with his wife and daughter. He was edged out by current Council President Joan Brush, whose service record in town is at least as long as Hudak’s life. With a background in planning, he was a natural fit for the township’s planning board, on which he has served the last two-and-a-half years.

Planning Board Coordinator Marianne Borthwick confirmed that Hudak will have to resign from that board as a regular member. Council can choose to appoint him to the Board as their representative if they choose. Currently, Council Vice President Samuel Fusaro serves.

Hudak is the director of planning and environmental protection in Monroe Township. He has a master’s degree in public administration from Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania, and two undergraduate degrees from Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey, one in political science and the other in history.

“I figured with my background and experience, it would be a good way to give back to the community,” Hudak said about seeking a council seat. “I have the expertise…and the educational experience. I do that work for other communities. Why not do that for my home? You do things for others, sometimes you should do things for yourself and the community you live in. I see things that are going on and I want to effect that change in a positive way.”

The whole family is enmeshed in Manchester. His children attend Ridgeway Elementary School. Ellen Hudak is a den leader with Pack 44. His son is involved with travel baseball. The family is involved at St. Luke’s Roman Catholic Church in Toms River.

“It really is an honor to be [on Council],” Hudak said. “I’m very approachable. I want to hear from people about their issues and concerns. If there’s any way I can be helpful, I’d like to try to do that.”

Frattini resigned from Council, citing personal reasons, April 30. He served on Council since 2012, and his current term doesn’t expire until Dec. 31, 2020. Hudak was only appointed to serve through the end of this year; he will have to run to fill the unexpired one-year term in November, which he said he plans to do.