In March 1957, Harold Hopkinson ran for election to the local office of village trustee in Manlius. Fifty-four years later, he's still on thew board and is seeking another four-year term this March.
"I've been liaison for almost all the village [departments]," he said after he began to list the various areas in which he's served.
Hopkinson, who was 26 years old when he first moved to Manlius, began his career in public service as a member of the Manlius Community Council, then as a member of the village planning board.
The first mayor he served under was Herbert L. Brechheimer, who was then elected town supervisor mid-term. Eight mayors followed. Hopkinson ran once for the mayoral seat in 1961, but lost to Jerry Jones, who served one full term.
"[Being] mayor takes a lot of time. I really shouldn't have run then because I wouldn't have had the time to do it right," he said. He never ran again. "I had decided that as long as I was working for Carrier, then I couldn't take the time it would require. Since retirement (in 1989), I guess I'm not willing to put in that much time ... the time that I would require to do it right, anyway."
In 1977, Mayor Arkie Albanese appointed Hopkinson as deputy mayor; a title he still wears today.
"That's a lot easier than being mayor," he said.
As trustee, Hopkinson said his priority has always been to make the village a place where people want to live. His efforts are rewarded when residents trust him for solutions.
Last week, the Manlius Fire Department recognized Hopkinson with an award for public service. He said it may have been his proudest moment as an elected official.
"It was a complete surprise to me," he said. "Coming from the fire department that I've worked with as liaison for a number of years, I was particularly moved."