FIN Columnist Hugh O’Brien Elected Mayor of Saltaire Village

Longtime Fire Island News columnist Hugh O’Brien now also has the title of mayor as he won his bid for that office on Friday, May 27, 2022. O’Brien was running unopposed, as John Zaccaro Jr. decided after eight years not to seek another term.  

Who are those masked men? Saltaire Village administrator Mario Posillico (in shorts) swears mayor-elect in Hugh O’Brien as trustee Alex Chefetz looks on. (Photo by Catherine O’Brien)

O’Brien has been with the Fire Island News since 1974, making him one of our longest serving community columnists, and one who has worked with every ownership of the publication.

O’Brien first took office as an elected official in Saltaire, when he won his first term as village trustee in 1987. He the third generation of Hugh O’Briens to hold local office on Fire Island. His grandfather, the first Hugh O’Brien, was an Ocean Beach Village trustee back in the 1950s. When the family migrated to the western end of the island, his father followed the tradition, becoming an Incorporated Village of Saltaire trustee in 1967. He too was elected mayor from 1968-1970. Upon stepping down from this office after deciding not to seek a second term, the incoming mayor appointed him back to the office of trustee to fill a vacated seat through 1971.

Our Hugh O’Brien was quick to point out that his election terms the past 35 years were not consecutive. There were times he did not win that election seat – including one unsuccessful bid for mayor – yet he still is the longest serving board member in the village’s 105-year history.

He is also the proud husband of Catherine O’Brien, who is part of the FIN family as one of our ad sales representatives and she regularly contributes photographs to support his news column. They have been married for 12 years.

O’Brien was sworn in on June 1 and took office the following week. He expressed gratitude to the people of Saltaire, pledging to do his best for everyone in the community.