William "Bill" O'Dea represents () District 2 on the Hudson County, New Jersey Board of Chosen Freeholders, one of nine members who serve in a legislative role administering all county business. District 2 includes portions of the City of Jersey City. O'Dea's current three-year term of office expires on December 31, 2011. O'Dea was elected Chair of the Board of Freeholders on January 4, 2011. In 2012 the Hudson Reporter named him #12 in its list of Hudson County's 50 most influential people.
O’Dea was elected Freeholder by one vote in a hotly contested election amongst county committee people to fill the unexpired term of Freeholder Henry “Hank” Gallo, who died unexpectedly in September 1997. In November 1998, Freeholder O’Dea defended his seat for the remaining one year of the term. O'Dea was re-elected in 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2008.
Now serving his fifth full term, Freeholder O’Dea is Chairman of the County Banking Committee and Member of the following Committees: Contracts Review; Environment, Health and Human Services; Task Force on Homeless; and Public Resources. He also serves as the Freeholder Board's representative to the Hudson County Schools of Technology Board of School Estimate, the Hudson County Improvement Authority, the Workforce Investment Board and the County Planning Board.
O'Dea is a native of Jersey City and served two consecutive terms, in 1985 and 1989, as a Jersey City Councilman. Currently, O’Dea is Deputy Executive Director of the Elizabeth Development Company, an Enterprise Zone development company.