Letter to the Editor: Eduardo Gonzalez Responds to Jake Stuiver
Hoboken Housing Authority Commissioner Eduardo Gonzalez defends his position, calls for leadership that builds consensus.
Yesterday, Patch posted an open letter from Chairman Jake Stuiver, which among other things attacked my service on the Housing Authority.
To set the record straight, I have been a member of the Housing Authority for four years. Mayor Zimmer, Councilman Cunningham, Councilman Bhalla, Councilman Mello and Councilwoman Mason appointed me. Over the past 4 years, I have justified the support of the Mayor and the Council by working with the other Housing Authority Commissioners, as well as the Authority's staff, to implement innovative programs and much needed reforms. Our accomplishments include resurfacing Mama Johnson Field, increasing the police presence in the Authority, and thus reducing crime. These changes have benefited not just the residents of the Housing Authority, but all residents of Hoboken.
Recently, however, this progress has come to a grinding halt and under the Chairman’s leadership a once dynamic board is now dysfunctional. As the Chairman writes in his letter, discourse among a governing body is healthy. Our work does require an intellectually honest approach; unfortunately, his actions differ from his written words.
At our meeting in January, I stated that the Board majority was an extension of the City's politics, not policies. I am not opposed to an auditor or legal counsel; I oppose the time it has taken to choose one. I object to the lack of leadership that is stifling the momentum that had been occurring prior to his appointment as Chairman. If the Board majority had competent leadership it would not take over five months to select legal counsel nor over four months to appoint an auditor, costing the Housing Authority and City taxpayers thousands of dollars. As the Chairman of the Board, Commissioner Stuiver is responsible for building consensus and moving the Authority forward. The delay in choosing an auditor was his doing. Chairman Stuiver lacks the leadership skill set to fulfill the duties of a Board Chair. His incompetent leadership has paralyzed the Board, alienated residents of the Authority, and has directly jeopardized the financial security of the Authority by delaying the appointment of an auditor.
I encourage cooperation and reform, as my record as a Commissioner reflects. Chairman Stuiver says that the Authority is changing. And indeed it is. Unfortunately, it is changing from a dynamic, cooperative Authority where individuals are hired based on merit to an Authority where political friends are rewarded, ideas are dismissed not because of their merits but because they came from the "wrong" person. Ironically, Chairman Stuiver’s lack of leadership is prohibiting the continuation of the reforms that were making the Authority more efficient and a better place not just for the residents of the Authority but also for the entire city. I remain committed to the Authority, its residents, and the people of Hoboken and hope that the Chairman learns that leadership is more than using a bully pulpit to be a bully. It is about vision and building consensus. When Chairman Stuiver puts people before politics, I will be the first to work with him. Until then, I will continue to fight against cronyism and the Chairman’s "us v. them" politics and for the residents of the Authority and the taxpayers.
Commissioner Eduardo Gonzalez