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Letter to the Editor: HHA Commissioner Eduardo Gonzalez

The commissioner on last week' contentious Hoboken Housing Authority meeting.

To the editor:

Last week was a controversial Hoboken Housing Authority Board meeting to say the least. Since August, the HHA, under a new Chairman, has been reticent to select new legal counsel for the Board. Then, this week, the Board learned that the Chairman has been conducting a selection process for a new Counsel in secret, private meetings with little consideration for process or transparency. In fact, there is a good chance that the Chairman's selection process violated the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) guidelines for an ethical procurement process.  The result of the Chairman’s "backroom" process?  The selection of a politically connected law firm that submitted the highest bid as the HHA's new legal counsel.

At the Board meeting on February 7th, the Chairman was unable to enunciate any tangible or meritorious reason for his selection.  In fact, when pressed on the decision he was unable to identify any ranking or scoring system used to make the selection. All we learned about why the Chairman selected this particular law firm is that it was the firm that they were “most comfortable with.”  Coincidently, the law firm selected has been ranked one of the top 10 pay-to-play firms in the state based on a review of state campaign finance reports by a reputable news source.  Is this what the Chairman and the Mayor consider reform?

In contrast, the HHA’s management, the group HUD empowered to make such selections, chose the lowest bidder with little available record of pay to play. Hoboken deserves better than “politics as usual” and the same old one-sided, spoil system mentality that the current Administration has implemented to reward supporters and punish those who question its cronyism.  Rather than meeting behind closed doors to select politically connected law firms, Hoboken deserves real and honest debate on proposals that will govern affordable housing in this City and affect the City At-Large.

To his immense credit, HHA Commissioner Greg Lincoln chose not to support the Chairman's well-connected, and expensive selection.  Commissioner Lincoln demonstrated true political courage by placing the interests of Hoboken and its taxpayers above the personal, political agenda of the Chairman and the Administration.

The HHA was once a place where folks worked together on solutions that made sense for working families. Now, under new leadership, it’s the same partisan gridlock we see in City Hall. The common taxpayer isn’t going to let anyone select a high bidder on what someone just so happens “to be comfortable with” and neither are the HHA Board Commissioners. Real, responsible leaders leave their “comfort zone” and do what’s best and most ethical for constituents and it’s time that the Chairman follow Commissioner Lincoln's example and put the interests of Hoboken's above the personal and political agenda of the Administration.

Sincerely,

Eduardo Gonzalez

HHA Commissioner

demosthenes February 13, 2013 at 09:49 PM
The guy gets 21 "sick" days 21 "vacation days and 2 personal days. That 44 paid days off a year - almost 9 weeks. And that doesn't even count all the "working" vacation he gets under the provision that allows him to hop from conference to conference. Only time you get a deal like that is if you write your own contract which of course is exactly what happened. I'd love to get this Daglian guy on the stand to testify about exactly how it was that this contract came to pass.
recallbethmason February 13, 2013 at 10:40 PM
mr gonzalez, suffice it to say, we are now ALL WATCHING YOU!!! most of us knew nothing about the HHA but your actions wreak of something you are trying to hide? maybe we are all wrong but then your actions are strange to say the least. most hoboken residents question what you have doing or hiding and on a going forward basis you can expect every dollar spent will be questioned.
Jimmy Bazz Barry February 14, 2013 at 04:13 PM
As always Da Horsey ,speaks the truth. Eduardo is another life long taker,Take take. Give some day. Learn the true meaning of humble. Tks horsey..Jimmy bazz
FAP February 15, 2013 at 02:27 PM
I have to thank Carmelo Garcia and Charlie Daglian they have gotten a lot of people to focus on the Hoboken Housing Authority. Who knows where this interest could lead.
puzzledone February 16, 2013 at 01:21 PM
Mr. Gonzalez, can you comment on the fines announced for the HHA for the failure of fire safety systems? Is it your opinion that buildings without fire safety are best for the residents of this town? Given that this is a repeated issue that Mr. Garcia has been unable to solve, what different steps do you propose for the critical safety of residents?

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