Frank Fossella

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Frank Fossella
Member of the New York City Council
from the 1st District
In office
January 1, 1985 – December 31, 1985
Preceded by Nicholas LaPorte
Succeeded by Susan Molinari
Personal details
Born (1925-11-06)November 6, 1925
Bayonne, New Jersey, U.S.
Died August 18, 2014(2014-08-18) (aged 88)
South Beach, Staten Island, New York, US
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute

Frank Vincent Fossella (November 6, 1925 – August 18, 2014)[1] is an American politician and land developer. He was of Italian descent.

He represented parts of Staten Island as a member of the New York City Council in 1985.[2] Mr. Fossella is a member of the Democratic Party, and is uncle to former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives Vito Fossella.

Mr. Fossella, the uncle of former Rep. Vito Fossella, served as first vice-chairman of the Democratic party on Staten Island, and his savvy, behind-the-scenes advice influenced a generation of elected officials, past and present, on both sides of the political aisle.

He rose through the ranks of the local Democratic committee in the mid-to-late 1970s, serving as first vice-chairman in the early 1980s, and from 1985 to 1986, he was the South Shore's City Councilman, until his defeat at the polls by a young Susan Molinari.

Among those who benefited from his political acumen and friendship over some 30 years were Surrogate Robert Gigante; retired State Supreme Court Justice John Fusco; former Borough President Ralph Lamberti; City Councilman and Deputy Borough President Nicholas LaPorte; former City Councilman Jerome O'Donovan; Supreme Court Justice Louis (Wally) Sangiorgio; District Attorney William Murphy, and his predecessor, later Supreme Court Justice Tom Sullivan; and current political figures, including Borough President James Oddo, state Sen. Andrew Lanza, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and City Councilman Vincent Ignizio.

Fossella also commanded the ear of former Democratic Mayors Abe Beame and Ed Koch, and in later years his nephew, a Republican, as well as members of the GOP congressional delegation, including Rep. Peter King (R-Long Island). He also was held in high regard by former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Congressman King told the story ... of how he listened, fascinated, while then-President Clinton conversed by phone from Air Force One with "Uncle Frank." "He -- the President -- called him Uncle Frank and was just laughing and chatting away with him, the way you'd chat with an old friend," King said.[3]

King, who sometimes dined with the Fossella family, recalled Mr. Fossella as "solid, strong, quiet, a true gentleman, who valued his family, friends and principles."

"My uncle was a consensus-builder, a uniter. He always preferred to work quietly, behind the scenes, and he stayed out of the political limelight," Vito Fossella said.

"He was one of a kind, the rock of the family," Fossella continued. "He taught us about compassion, love, loyalty; he taught us to always find the good in someone, and if there was someone in need, we must help. There was no one who wasn't welcome around his table."

Although his passion was politics, Mr. Fossella was a mechanical engineer by career, and later a teacher and administrator.

Born in Bayonne, he settled in South Beach with his family in 1947.

He obtained bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, and over 20 years worked with engineering firms in Manhattan, Long Island, New London, Conn., and Peekskill, N.Y., often rising before 4 a.m. to commute from South Beach.

In 1966 he switched hats to begin a career at Brooklyn Technical High School, where he taught mechanical engineering, aeronautics and design. He also completed his master's degree in education and certificate in supervision and administration at the former Richmond College, St. George. He was subsequently appointed assistant principal at Brooklyn Tech, and retired from the school in 1991.

During this period, Mr. Fossella also taught mechanical engineering at the former Staten Island Community College in Sunnyside.

After retiring from teaching, he continued to work with his brothers, Aldo and Vito Sr., in the family's architectural engineering and consulting firm, Land Planning & Engineering Consultants in Mariners Harbor.


  1. ^ Frank V. Fossella
  2. ^ "Restorations: Park and Party". New York Times. 1985-11-19. By a margin of only 161 votes (out of 43,000), Susan Molinari has been officially declared the winner of the Nov. 5 election over Councilman Frank Fossella, a Democrat. 
  3. ^ Lore, Diane C. (19 August 2014). "Frank Fossella, 88, political mentor, teacher and family patriarch". Staten Island News. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Nicholas LaPorte
New York City Council, 1st District
Succeeded by
Susan Molinari