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Jake Stuiver: Re-Appointing Same Counsel Does Not Move HHA in New Direction

HHA Chairman Jake Stuiver responds to heavy criticism during Thursday night's special Hoboken Housing Authority meeting.

Hoboken Housing Authority Chairman Jake Stuiver said on Friday morning that he believes that it is "time for a pair of fresh eyes in the general counsel seat" at the housing authority.

Stuiver said so in a phone interview following Thursday night's heated meeting — during which dozens of residents swung complaints and allegations at the chairman — during which attorney Charlie Daglian was reappointed as the board attorney in a contentious 4-3 vote.

By reappointing Daglian, Stuiver said, the HHA is moving "back into the same direction."

An apparent power struggle between Stuiver and HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia also surfaced on Thursday night, with the two raising their voices at each other at multiple occasions. 

"I have two questions," Stuiver said on Friday. "Who is the appointing authority and what type of power does (Garcia) have?"

On Thursday night, Garcia said he has been functioning in a "hositile work environment" for the past seven months.  Stuiver became chairman of the board last May.

The executive director and housing authority board of commissioners work in the same way as the mayor and city council — or president and congress — do, Daglian explained on Thursday night.

Garcia's contract states that he is the sole appointing authority of professionals and employees at the Hoboken Housing Authority.

Stuiver — who has been a HHA commissioner for more than three years — said he has never seen Garcia's contract. He added that he never voted to approve the contract, because he was in Los Angeles at the meeting in question. 

Stuiver said he has disagreed with a multitude of Daglian's opinions over the past six months.

Daglian has been working for the Hoboken Housing Authority for years and said that the HHA is "near and dear to his heart."

Stuiver said he — together with a handpicked committee — selected the law firm of Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt & Fader as the HHA's new council.

"One of my greatest levels of comfort with them," Stuiver said, "is that they're furthest removed from Hudson County." This, Stuiver said, would add "detachment and a fresh perspective."

Florio, Perucci was named one of the top 20 pay-to-play law firms in New Jersey in the 2008 elections.

Ultimately, the issue on Thursday night was settled after Commissoner Greg Lincoln joined the board's minority to reappoint Daglian after all.

Lincoln — who was part of Stuiver's committee to review the bids and pick a new law firm — said he felt "legally obligated" to turn down the Florio, Perucci contract.

When asked for a reaction, Stuiver said he was "obviously disappointed."

But, Stuiver added, "he's certainly a commissioner who is entitled to vote however he wants to vote."

The regularly scheduled Hoboken Housing Authority is scheduled for Thursday February 14.

HudsonStreet February 08, 2013 at 08:15 PM
The way in which Director Garcia and Mr. Daglian handled the process will understandably leave many with at very least the appearance of impropriety.
Grafix Avenger February 08, 2013 at 09:44 PM
The Unitary Executive contract that was pulled like a rabbit out of a hat just in the nick of time to reappoint the guy who wrote the magic contract- one which guarantees perpetual HHA employment- and then was hidden from view for Board members who were not given copies... well, it stinks. Outrageous stuff, grounds for throwing the vote out- and the lawyer, too. http://law.onecle.com/new-jersey/40a-municipalities-and-counties/12a-22.html 40A:12A-22. Powers of municipality, county, redevelopment agency, housing authority. l. Employ or retain consulting and other attorneys, planners, engineers, architects, managers and financial experts and other employees and agents of a permanent or temporary nature as may be necessary, determine their qualifications, duties and compensation, and delegate to one or more of its agents or employees such powers and duties as it deems proper.
Ojo Rojo February 08, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Time for a FOIA request by one of you sleuths.
CuriousGal February 08, 2013 at 11:38 PM
Attorney Charlie Daglian is licensed and qualified and knows well the issues currently going on at the HHA. Little surprise that Stuiver wanted one of the top 20 pay-to-play law firms in New Jersey to be hired instead. If this is Stuiver's idea of "new eyes" I don't think we need to know much more. Also, I think the fact that Stuiver has disagreed with a number of Daglian's opinions over the past six months only indicates more of Stuiver's legal ignorance than anything about Mr. Dagilan. Mr. Garcia's contract states that he is the sole appointing authority of professionals and employees at the Hoboken Housing Authority- including attorneys. I don't think anything else needs to be said.
puzzledone February 09, 2013 at 02:07 AM
I. Does Mr. Garcia's contract indeed say that? Noone presented this contract last night. II. Is it legal for Mr. Garcia's contract to have a waiver of oversight on his appointments? Is this a typical contract? III. Is it a conflict of interest for Mr. Daglian to have drafted the contract and then been appointed as counsel under the contract that he drafted? That seems to take pay to play a whole new level. If the answers to those questions are all provided and show that Daglian was AT ALL TIMES acting in good faith, I agree with you that nothing needs to be said, at least to satisfy my curiosity.
Ojo Rojo February 09, 2013 at 04:35 AM
Who knows what the contract says. It was disappeared down the rabbit hole as soon as it made an appearance. I think it is past time the board read the contract in its entirety and found out what that contract says. I suspect there is a provision in the contract that might discuss how much it might cost to fire the ED and the board should consider just that contingency.
Ojo Rojo February 09, 2013 at 04:40 AM
Appearance of impropriety? The whole situation stinks worse than a rendering plant. For those of you who have never visited one, just lets say you can smell the darn thing from miles if the wind is just right and it smells far worse than any dead skunk on the road.
ThisMeansWar February 09, 2013 at 11:07 AM
"Licensed and qualified"? You couldn't be any more superficial. Best get back to that mountain of reading.
XJS February 09, 2013 at 06:18 PM
CG- sure, there's lots more to be said, But since it'll fall on your deaf ears, I won't waste my time.
puzzledone February 09, 2013 at 08:43 PM
ojo. Given that Mr. Garcia will quickly learn that he is going to have trouble getting money to his backers, he will probably go with Plan B soon. That's the one where he sues for discrimination because of the hostile work environment he has let everyone know that he has had to endure, with the indignites of making copies on a timely basis.
HudsonStreet February 09, 2013 at 10:58 PM
As we saw with Peter Cammerano an attorney can be licensed and qualified and still break the law. If what has been reported proves correct I would think an investigation into the relationship between Daligan and Garcia is warranted.
Grafix Avenger February 10, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Go for it, Ojo Rojo! You can file a FOIA request online, all you need right here: http://grafixavenger.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-foia-request-mystery-contract.html What's the mystery? Why aren't the Commissioners allowed copies of the contract that curiously curtails their authority?
Grafix Avenger February 10, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Solve the big mystery: file an FOIA request for a copy of the HHA Executive Director's contract. It takes less time than writing one of these posts. http://grafixavenger.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-foia-request-mystery-contract.html
Outofcontrol February 11, 2013 at 05:48 AM
Maybe Commissioner Jake should follow the pay to play money of the firm he proposed...might be very interesting where it leads.
ThisMeansWar February 11, 2013 at 10:14 AM
If you want people to hate your side, this is a pretty good start. The man has a wife and small children and you're directing people to his home. At least you left off the part where you plant stories about him in the media.
demosthenes February 11, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Perhaps you can tell us where it leads instead of implying issues that exist only in your fertile political operative imagination. Feel free to include a link to whatever ELEC report you think might be interesting. i saw the firm's name mentioned in a JJ story about Steve Fulop and the Jersey City BOE. Is that what you were referring to? That has nothing to do with Hoboken or the Hoboken HHA but perhaps you don't live in Hoboken and that's why you find it interesting.
puzzledone February 11, 2013 at 07:28 PM
Stalking parents and their small children. It's not just for the BOE elections anymore. BTW, $150K+ and 42 days off a year? And you control who does any oversight? Where do I sign up for a job like that?
puzzledone February 11, 2013 at 09:38 PM
If pay to play is an issue, what about drafting a contract that gives an individual sole appointing authority for, say, an attorney, and then appointing the person who drafted the contract indefinitely. That sounds like a tremendous conflict of interest to me.
DaHorsey, SmartyJones of MSV February 12, 2013 at 01:21 AM
@ Ojo Rojo Well my sleepless cross country traveling friend, you wish has been granted. MSV has posted one complete, original, public contract of Carmelo Garcia. Yes, it smells very bad: http://hoboken.patch.com/articles/jake-chairman-stuiver-re-appointing-same-counsel-does-not-move-hha-in-new-direction#comments It's an MSV exclusive and a gift to the HHA and all Hoboken residents.
Journey February 12, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Where did the stalking comment go, I wanted to read that.
Scott M. Siegel February 12, 2013 at 08:54 PM
"Garcia's contract states that he is the sole appointing authority of professionals and employees at the Hoboken Housing Authority". I have read the contract and I can't this anywhere. It goes over his qualifications, compensation and methods of dismissal. Where is it Claire? http://www.hobokenhorse.com/2013/02/breaking-hha-ed-carmelos-garcias_11.html

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