Late last year after many years of service to the community, Carol Marsh stepped down from her council seat. It makes no difference why or when she did it. The choice was a personal one for her and her family. Conspiracy theories postulated by members of the minority have no relevance to the facts.
I don’t remember anyone questioning Phil DeFalco when he resigned from the BoE. Like Carol, it was a personal choice. Based on the law, the City Council had the right to name a successor based on a majority vote.
With Beth Mason conveniently missing the meeting (she claimed to be away from the city, but a witness claims to have seen her in Hoboken), the vote was 4-2-1. Ravi Bhalla, Dave Mello, VP Jen Giattino and Council President Pete Cunningham all voted aye for this well qualified individual. Theresa Castellano, and Tim Occhipinti voted no and Michael Russo abstained. Many observers wondered why he did. The explanation was because the minority believed that would prevent Mayor Zimmer from casting a deciding 5th vote, which she did.
In the past many members, including Beth Mason, have phoned in. It never seemed to be an issue. Carol Marsh even once phoned in from Nicaragua.
Corporate Counsel Melissa Longo reviewed the Faulkner Act and she said it clearly stated that a “majority” vote was sufficient. In any normal world 4-2-1 is a majority vote. She said that the law did not state that 5 votes or a super majority was required. Unfortunately Judge Bariso decided that all Councilmembers needed to vote for the choice to be valid, although this decision is on appeal.
Subsequently, at every meeting one of minority members in succession had an “emergency” of some kind and missed the meeting. Finally Judge Bariso had enough of this childish, petulant behavior and actually ordered the minority show up and due their sworn duty and vote. After a last second stay was filed by the minority, Jim’s appointment was again held up.
After the court order a new tactic was deployed by the minority. One of them had an “issue” each meeting and amazingly showed up late to avoid voting. Finally after months of ugly subterfuge a vote was called and this time Beth Mason joined Michael Russo in abstaining. According to Longo an abstention in Hoboken (according to our bylaws) is counted the same as a no vote, making it a 4-4 deadlock. Mayor Zimmer once again casted the deciding 5th vote.
The minority claimed that in Newark an abstention was an abstention and that Corporate Counsel Longo was wrong. She said that under the Faulkner Act a town can decide how it wants to treat an abstention and Hoboken viewed it different form Newark. Here’s a few links to the Newark story:
Once again Judge Bariso will rule and hopefully he will recognize Hoboken’s sovereignty. I have no doubt that the minority will again waste tax payer dollars and appeal the ruling if it favors Jim. Isn’t it curious? The minority whine consistently about Hoboken’s legal expenditures to have the city properly represented before the court. It makes no difference that the city wins more than it loses or that to spend $500,000+ in the HUMC bankruptcy in order to save $60-80 million dollars in losses, is not a waste of resources. In the past the city rolled over to disgruntled employees or powerful developers, but now we have a Mayor and Council Majority that is finally standing for what is right.
This charade has gone on long enough. Jim Doyle has been involved in Hoboken long before me. As an EPA lawyer Jim brings a unique asset to the council as Hoboken has a history of environmental pollution that he can comprehend better than any other existing member. He has spoken thoughtfully on many issues and I have no doubt that he will be an excellent addition to the City Council. I call on the minority to stop the frivolous lawsuits and let Jim take his rightful place on the dais.