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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.

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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