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(Photo courtesy of Princeton Township)

Leonard Godfrey
End of caption

Retiring Committee Member's Achievements Are Recognized After 8 Years of Service

Matthew Hersh

Many times during eight years as a member of the Princeton Township Committee, Leonard Godfrey has taken the minority opinion on issues that the Township has confronted.

While a democrat on a traditionally all-democratic entity, Mr. Godfrey is known for voting against the grain on important issues, making waves in the Township. From the deer issue, to the fiscal equity between the Township and Borough, Mr. Godfrey has been recognized as a legislator who governs with his heart.=20

Two weeks ago, the Township Committee recognized his form of governance by honoring Mr. Godfrey, 75, with a proclamation commemorating his years of service to Princeton.

In November, Bill Hearon, democrat, was elected to fill the seat being vacated by Mr. Godfrey. Mr. Godfrey's service on the Committee has always been influenced on what is right, and not by politics according to his wife, Gillian.

A resident of the Township since 1977, Mr. Godfrey first served on the Committee from 1989 to 1991. He was elected to a second term in 1997.

Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand said Mr. Godfrey has always tried to serve the Township with the best interests of the community in mind and made a historical reference to his tenure on the Committee.

"I think [he is] sort of the Grover Cleveland of Princeton because of [his] two, non-consecutive terms," she quipped.

"He has worked continuously for the benefit of the Princeton community while striving to maintain its quality of life," she said.

Mr. Godfrey's public service record exhibits a tireless effort to take part in the issues of the Township faces=8Beven when that effort contrasts the views of his colleagues.

Recently, Mr. Godfrey voted against the measure approving the United Bowhunters Association as manager of the bowhunting element of the Township's deer management program.

Historically, Mr. Godfrey has also opposed the advent of the formerly-known Millstone Bypass.=20

The bypass, which has been an issue concerning both Princetons for longer than many of its residents have been alive, is a two-lane highway that has been proposed to carry traffic around Route 1 in northern West Windsor Township, affecting traffic flow throughout the entire region.

Another element of Mr. Godfrey's platform over the years was correcting the financial disparity between the Township and the Borough. He has worked to restore the balance between taxes paid by the Borough and the Township for shared institutions such as the schools and the library.

Currently, he serves on the Housing Board, and the Cable Television, Sewer Operating, Flood Control, and Traffic Safety committees.

Mr. Godfrey received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of London in 1962. Throughout his professional career, he has worked as a research chemist, a university administrator, and a businessman.

Before he retired to serve on the Committee, Mr. Godfrey worked in Trinidad, Geneva, Brussels, Santa Barbara, not to mention Pennington, Rocky Hill, and most recently, Princeton Township. Holding back tears as the Mayor spoke, Mr. Godfrey was able to make light of the situation, responding to her tribute by saying he would rather be compared to President Clinton, than to President Cleveland.

"I think [President Clinton] had more fun," he said.

He said that he would have to get used to not coming to the Township Municipal Complex on Monday nights for his meetings. "I have to say I will miss working with all the Township staff and my colleagues on the Committee, I will miss them very much," he said.

Township Administrator James Pascale called Mr. Godfrey a "class act."

"I have learned an awful lot from Leonard, and we have all benefited greatly from [him]" he added.

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