TIMOTHY HODGE RETIRES AFTER 40 YEARS OF SERVICE: “I AM SATISFIED, AND HAVE NO REGRETS”, HE SAYS

The content originally appeared on: The Anguillian Newspaper

Dr. Timothy Hodge

Long-standing Director of the Social Security Board, Dr. Timothy Hodge, retired on Friday, January 7th, the same day on which he turned sixty. Dr. Hodge had served in this position for forty years, since 1981, and he was the first and only Director of the statutory body.
As a mark of respect for his unbroken tenure of service, the staff of Social Security held a farewell ceremony in his honour at the conference room of the Anguilla Tourist Board on his noteworthy retirement/birthday.

In an interview with Keith “Stone” Graves, the question was asked how he would describe his record on the job. Dr. Hodge responded with an extensive reply: “Over the forty years of my tenure, Social Security administrators — from the Minister to the Board — have allowed me to do my best, but still there have been other administrations that have not allowed me to function as I would have liked to.

“Such administrators would have believed that, in their wisdom, they had all the answers. They felt that they did not need my opinion on certain matters. But 99% of the time the outcome would have been what I predicted or recommended in the first instance.”

Dr. Hodge said he has a clean track record. “My work at Social Security is an open book. Not only is my work an open book but, as my staff has commented, I have also had an open door. My door was never closed. I allowed anyone to come in at anytime to speak to me about anything pertaining to the operations or the work of Social Security. I don’t know where I got that open-door policy from. I guess it is just natural. I have always been always available to my staff. I am not the kind of Director who would feel that I am up here and you are down there.”
He recounted that when he started working as the Director of Social Security he was only nineteen years old. “On February 1, 1981, I was appointed to this position, he said. “Over the years, I have grown and developed. I have improved myself as much as it was possible for me to do. Besides, I have taken my staff with me and I have inspired and encouraged them to develop themselves likewise.”

Mr. ‘Stone’ Greaves asked the former Director whether it was an executive decision that had been made to get him out of his office, since many persons were ‘calling for his head before’. He responded: “The post of the Director of Social Security is under statute. The law establishes the Social Security fund which will be managed by the Chief Administrative Officer, who is in essence the Director. That is the Law. So you can’t just take someone out of a post without a justified reason. Yes, there were times that persons did want my head. But there was never a justified reason, and I have broad shoulders.”

Asked whether he had been tempted to give up the post or felt pressured to resign over those forty years, Dr. Hodge admitted: “Yes, there would have been those times when I had felt pressured to give in. Matters relative to my position had pressured me from time to time. I had been on the verge of giving in because people tried to make it hard for me and for my family. I wanted to resign at one point, but I followed the advice and encouragement of a trusted acquaintance who advised me not to give in.”

With regard to the Social Security Fund, Dr. Hodge commented: “We would need to increase the contribution rate by perhaps an additional 1% for the employee and 1% for the employer. I can’t say for sure, for this is yet to be determined. But with the existing 5% of salaries being contributed into the Fund by employees, and a matching 5% being contributed the employers, we are still in a fortunate position. We have a young population, and we have a lot of immigrant labour. The Fund is sustainable.

“The Social Security Fund has been performing very well. In fact, it has out-performed the model. So I want to say to people who have been asking whether there would be funds to provide for their retirement, the answer is yes! There is enough funding and you will get you benefit.”

Reflecting on his forty years in their totality, Dr. Hodge wrapped it all up by stating: “God has been good to me. I am satisfied, and I have no regrets upon my retirement.”