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Hoboken Housing Authority Reappoints Attorney During Heated Meeting

After a bitter clash between the HHA Chairman and the HHA Director, Charlie Daglian was re-appointed as the housing authority's counsel.

The Hoboken Housing Authority Board of Commissioners reappointed longtime attorney Charlie Daglian in a 4-3 vote during a heated special meeting Thursday night. 

The tumultuous meeting, which lasted more than three hours, included a series of hostile exchanges between Housing Authority Chairman Jake Stuiver and Executive Director Carmelo Garcia. 

While a stale-mate early on in the evening failed to appoint Daglian in a 3-3 vote, he was later appointed when Vice Chairman Rob Davis came to the meeting to take a re-vote.

Stuiver —who was verbally berated by members of the public several times Thursday night, some of whom called him a "backstabber" — had called for the special meeting, planning to act on a resolution to award the year-long contract to the lawfirm of Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt & Fader, one of four firms that responded to the HHA’s request for proposal.

Florio, Perucci asked for an annual base salary of $60,000; an hourly rate of $150 for special matters and tenant disputes to become the HHA’s counsel. Daglian’s proposal included a $45,000 salary and a $125 hourly rate for extra matters.  

The annual salary for the authority’s attorney is capped at a base of $50,000, Garcia said. 

Up until now, Daglian had been charging the Hoboken Housing Authority $60,000 annually.

Stuiver said that a committee made up of himself as well as his allies and fellow commissioners David Mello and Greg Lincoln had discussed the four offers and picked Florio because they were most “comfortable” with that offer.

“Comfort is a high urgency,” Stuiver said. “We have to have a high level of trust.”

Garcia, in turn, said that the HHA is legally required to follow guidelines and score the bids following directions from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

According to the ranking completed by Garcia and two other Housing Authority executives, Daglian scored 100 points, against Florio’s 71.

Starting at the beginning of the meeting, which lasted for more than three hours, Stuiver — banging the gavel loudly and often to quiet an agitated crowd of HHA residents — and Garcia disagreed about who has the ultimate power to hire the board’s attorney.

Some residents held signs with phrases like "Jake Must Go" and "Keep Politics out of the Housing Authority."

Daglian told the board that the executive director is the sole appointing authority, a policy that is included in Garcia’s contract. Garcia is about two years into his second five-year contract as HHA director.

When hiring personnel or professionals, the Board of Commissioners has the right to veto or disagree with the director’s choice, but not the right to appoint someone without the director’s input.

Hostile interactions between Stuiver, who was appointed HHA chairman in May, and Garcia persisted throughout the night. 

Garcia said that ever since, he has been functioning in a “stressful, hostile, work environment.”

Multiple residents signed up to speak at the meeting, many of them criticizing the chairman, displaying a growing disconnect between the residents and the board.

"How are you as commissioners helping us?" asked Carmen Vega, who lives in Fox Hill Gardens, the HHA senior building.

“Right now, this board is about two things: power and control,” said Councilman Tim Occhipinti, who attended the meeting. “Politics is so infused in this board, you cannot not see it.”

Ultimately, the swing vote was in the hands of Greg Lincoln — who was appointed to the HHA in June — when he broke with the majority and voted “no” on the  Florio, Perucci contract. Lincoln explained, he felt “legally obligated” to do so after learning that the executive director has the sole appointing power.

DaHorsey, SmartyJones of MSV February 08, 2013 at 03:23 PM
The HHA may be facing future funds where close to $400,000 is spent redoing the floors of elevators. As one builder said of the expenditure, that's about $800 per tile. So very said for the HHA resident. The vultures are circling.
DaHorsey, SmartyJones of MSV February 08, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Let's put aside the clear political operative effort of the pop up name here and look at what transpired last night. MSV has the key video clips from the meeting and there with more coming: http://hobokenhorse.com Btw, does a contract for employment saying you are God trump Federal and State law? More on that later.
recallbethmason February 08, 2013 at 03:36 PM
HHA take a chill pill. the issue here is why is mr garcia fighting these issues? what is he afraid of? if nothing unethical has been done in the past then why is he trying to stop things. this has nothing to do about taking anything away from the residents of HHA and clearly you are to uneducated to realize that but justice always prevails, eventually. I have a feeling mr garcia has done something wrong in the past and is now trying to hide what he did.
peterbelfiore February 08, 2013 at 03:43 PM
Hudson, Sadly you have no idea of what you are talking about. Perry
HudsonStreet February 08, 2013 at 04:30 PM
Sadly for peterbelfiore now many others not only understand but are taking an a much closer look at what is going on at HHA.
Ojo Rojo February 08, 2013 at 04:41 PM
LMAO, tiles cost in the low tens of dollars and not the high hundreds of dollars.
HudsonStreet February 08, 2013 at 05:05 PM
The contract and the relationship between Garcia and Daglian should be reviewed HUD. Sadly there is ample precedent to warrant oversigth to guard against corruption and mismanagement at the Hoboken Housing Authority.
peterbelfiore February 08, 2013 at 05:14 PM
Roman, So this isthe nature of reform - 3 commissioners meet somewhere with a potential vendor, speak about who knows what, score in secret the recruited vendors bid, retain no matrix of evaluation, concluded the bid to be the highest bid and award a contract which exceeds the bid ceiling simply because of comfort with the vendor. Hudson if irregularities exist at the HHA shouldn't Jake know, perhaps you don"t know that HUD regularly performs audits of all PHAs. Recall can you tell us this weeks pick six or does you clairvoyance end at deformation. Perry
bubbles February 08, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Us residents showed everyone what we're made of. No changes for the HHA and damn proud of it. Take that you reformers. We're keepin our Director. We get 300k elevators and contracts that do whatever our DIrector wants, even if it aint kosher. You reformers cant top that.
FAP February 08, 2013 at 05:40 PM
Perry is unfortunately ignorant of the State Laws that govern the body he once sat on. I tried to explain it last night but it looked like he became confused. Now that there's time and space I can help him. . Perry's ignorance extends to the powers of the Housing Authority board, in fairness to him it maybe that Carmelo Garcia and Charlie Daglian have propagated misinformation. . State Law N.J.S.A 40A:12A-22 gives the Housing Board and not the director the power to "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. For such legal services as may be required, a redevelopment agency or housing authority may call upon the chief law officers of the municipality or county, as the case may be, or may employ its own counsel and legal staff." . The Board can delegate this authority but it delegate or not it still retains this authority by State Law. Perry I hoped this corrects your problem.
DaHorsey, SmartyJones of MSV February 08, 2013 at 05:59 PM
Perry, nice to see you again. I did see you at the meeting but then ran hiding behind a pillar and never said hello. As to your conclusion on a secret meeting, I have no knowledge of any illicit meeting unless you are confusing this with the Nazi Truck meetings hosted by Michele Russo with council members and other elected officials for the Move Forward Swastika Express campaign led by Beth Mason's checkbook. Based on the six month power struggle over an attorney and auditor appointment, many people have gone beyond wondering what is causing such fear and loathing of new professional oversight. Based on the magical floor in HHA elevators for $385,000 there's no question the magic will be continuing, at least in some form in the near future. Can it or a 20/20 plan live up to the "value" where one tile costs $800 covering a section of an elevator floor? What limited audits are conducted by HUD is of no consequence. The HHA needs a fully documented thorough audit performed with far more scrutiny than the generic HUD version. Of this I have no doubts after what I've witnessed firsthand. Have a great weekend.
peterbelfiore February 08, 2013 at 06:50 PM
Forde, I need no explaination from you. According to HUD policy, procurement is either through a purchasing agent or ED. I fought long and hard with HUD on this issue. The board should have input into the formation of the RFP perferences/points to be awarded , once the bids are in and scored all things being equal, award must be to the low bidder. Case law on this comes from an action brought by Troy Wahington against the then seat HHA Board of Commissioners before assignmet Judge D'Itilia. The Board of commissioners awarded a contract to the next lowest bidding law firm ;perhaps a $500 difference. D'Itilia ruled that the contract must go to the lowest bidder. Forde vicarious information is one thing but I hope you listen to people who fought to truly reform the HHA. You attitude exemplifies the axiom that a little knowledge is a bad thing. Perry
HudsonStreet February 08, 2013 at 07:59 PM
As someone looking from the outside at how this HHA contract was handled by Executive Director Garcia and Charle Daglian there is due cause to investigate the possibility wrong doing. When a a long time vendor, friend and the prefered bidder of the head executive in charge suddenly drops their bid below that of other bidders it gives the preception of impropriety.
HudsonStreet February 08, 2013 at 08:01 PM
There is at very least the preception of impropriety.
FAP February 08, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Perry let's clear some things up right now. . Number One, the HHA board is Carmelo's boss. They hired him, they signed his contract, and they are em,powered by State law to review and evaluate his performance. . Number two, the HHA board is the appointing authority for the HHA. State law N.J.S.A 40A:12A-22 clearly gives them this power and they have the choice to delegate it and to what degree this delegation is. Note the word delegate and not transfer. . What happened last night is very troubling in a number of ways. I personally believe Charlie Daglian mislead the board and should be up before the State bar ethics board for disciplinary action. From the video it's also clear that Charlie Daglian is not professionally fit to be counsel to the HHA board. Last there is a misunderstanding of the relationship the HHA Board has to its employee Carmelo Garcia and that misunderstanding should be resolved and that resolution made know to the Director and the HHA's residents. . Last night's antics have brought the HHA to everyone's attention and for that I thank Carmelo Garcia and Charlie Daglian.
peterbelfiore February 08, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Roman, I wasn’t hiding from you. In an attempt to protect the privacy of HHA tenants, I asked you to confine your photo taking to those at the microphone. When Beth videoed the meetings, I made the same request. She not only complied she sought permission before videotaping individuals. As yet, you haven’t extended the same courtesy so I will not be party to exposing private citizens to you lens. Roman, I am sure you knew nothing of the clandestine meetings between Jake’s Select Committee on Procurement and the highest bidding law firm. I am also sure that you could not care less. You are wrong about HUD audits, they are far from generic. As to you innuendo regarding illegalities, any commissioner suspecting such is duty bound to inform HUD and the US Attorney immediately. Has this been done? Perry
Grafix Avenger February 08, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Hi Perry, How are your follicles? There is so such HUD policy, that the ED is the unilateral Decider of All. The judge in the case you cited ordered an analysis of the lowest bidder and HUD later found that the firm selected by the HHA Board had a conflict of interest. The ED charged the HHA Board with not properly advertising the position and HUD said they would be investigating whether bids were properly solicited. Here's the HR article about the ruling: http://www.hudsonreporter.com/view/full_story/2383131/article-Judge-rules-on-housing-issue-Legal-decision-is-victory-for-exec-director "The judge added that if his order is not followed, the dissenting members of board could face possible fines or incarceration, according to HHA officials." It sounds to me like the HHA Board went rogue in this case and didn't follow proper procedure. They are doing that now under Jake Stuiver, yet after weeks of this conversation suddenly the news is dropped that the ED is the Unitary Executive, per a contract that no one's ever seen. This "contract" that no one's seen overrides the NJSA statute giving the hiring power to the HA. Where's the contract? Hmmmm? And where is the list of the HHA employees? Were they the ones at the meeting last night? If so, that would be on the boss's orders. Stay fluffy!
Grafix Avenger February 08, 2013 at 08:48 PM
The vote should be thrown out. How does a mysterious 'contract' that no one's ever seen can possibly override the NJSA statute governing the Housing authority powers? Let's get this contact online- on the HHA website: http://www.myhhanj.com/ 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.
peterbelfiore February 09, 2013 at 12:12 AM
Nancy, Thank you. Remarkable how similar the facts are . I read Judge D 'Italia's opinion and the HUD Procurement Policy until my eyes bleed using both to write letter's briefs attempting to open the HHA procurement policy. I hope everyone reads the artice. I am still trying to find the opinion. Forde, the HHA ED is to the HHA Board what the Superintendent of Schools is to the school board. But don't you find it troubling that Jake's Select Committee on Procurement solicited a vendor,that clandestine meetings occured between the Highest Bidder +$30,000 and Jake's Select Committee on Procurement, the Highest Bidder + $30,000 was recommended for award by Jake's Select Committee on Procure despite no empirical documentation of rating and ranking, and that Jake's Select Committee on procurement used Comfort as it's only selection criterion. As I stated last night, the Chairman has the perrogative to appoint board menbers to the Rating and Ranking committee,however those board menbers would be confliced out of voting. Perry
BruceD February 09, 2013 at 12:29 AM
Perry Plan B Good to see you back from your safari in the HHA? Did you get many VBM this time? Or is it time for Plan B?
HHAreidentswillwin February 09, 2013 at 01:23 AM
Hey Greg Lincoln welcome to our side . Hey Dave it seems Greg has a mind of his own so you and jake can take that to city hall . Judy is next the Garcia affect has arrived and zimmer, jake, Dave and the rest who side with the world dumbest mayor by the way Dave give her some fashion lesions she looks like she belongs in the shelter the way she dress ..... GREAG LINCOLN for the people off HHA .... Hey zimmer. Now u wanna remove him from the board cause he's with us now
ThisMeansWar February 09, 2013 at 02:04 AM
Barry and Tim Brendel were there filming last night. They work for Beth. They also film ZBA meetings and council meetings for Beth. They are not there because of specific agenda items. They are there to point a camera at Nancy Pincus, film from which occasions turned up on the Move Forward Nazi truck. Did you speak to either of them? Do you think a sitting city council member should be sending political operatives to ZBA meetings with no intent other than to harass someone who is doing the public's business for no compensation?
Ojo Rojo February 09, 2013 at 04:44 AM
Contracts generally have provisions that allow for the termination of the contract. The board needs to terminate Carmelo's contract and kick him to the curb. No more games. Fire the man.
ThisMeansWar February 09, 2013 at 12:16 PM
Hey, HHAResiddentswillwin, are you guys happy that you "won" $350k floor replacement in the elevators? That money couldn't have done more for you? You think that's just an anomaly and never happens anyplace else in HHA? You think people with nothing to hide are this terrified of changing lawyers and auditors?
Grafix Avenger February 09, 2013 at 01:13 PM
Nice try, thug. Unlike you, Greg doesn't roll on his back to get his belly scratched like a good doggy. Greg is much-loved in the Reform community. Unlike the average rent-a-thug on your side... you ought to know how many of you spill your guts when no one's watching. Roll over, doggy!
kyelia colon February 09, 2013 at 06:24 PM
of course we will win...we're not stupid we all know what they are really after...and it's not the best interest for the ppl....
Grafix Avenger February 09, 2013 at 07:07 PM
Kyelia, how are those $385K elevator floors doing? Do you have any idea how much HHA money isn't going to the HHA? Have a look: http://i45.tinypic.com/e9hn61.jpg The gang in charge doesn't want anyone to look at the books so they're lying about the motives of the people who are trying to help. How come the Exec Director won't show anyone his contract?
Devin February 09, 2013 at 09:11 PM
i'm confused as to other than building up voter base why the city council and mayor needed to turn HHA into a satelite office of city council. arent there enough important things in our town for them to focus on. Whether or not the ED of HHA is the right guy..how does that really impact mayor and her cronies. Good or bad at his job, this guy is there doing lets assume best he can. Not trying to get votes not trying to get elected to mayor or city council or assemblymen. On the flipside, you have a city council that booted an old lady and even if she shouldve been removed. It had to be an emergency meeting kick her out and slide one of your guys in. How about city council revitalizes our economy, attracts tourism, makes our streets safe, manages our money in a way that maximizes services while being fiscally responsible and let the head of HHA do things like improve safety and sense of community, increase awareness around important issues for kids and parents related to education, healthy lifestyles, reducing crime and teen pregancies. I sat in on the meeting and question some decisions the ED makes sure thats boards perogative, having all your political friends in room and taking over the HHA i dont know...thats the part that seems shady and political. Reformers? You couldve ran on a slate saying we have different points of view but you made a point to create the image of we are on the up and up and we do things by the book and that doesnt seem to be the case. dissapointing
ThisMeansWar February 10, 2013 at 01:47 PM
Ah, but you're not confused. "Let's assume [Carmelo's] doing the best he can"? Good idea. We should have done that with Correa, Cammarano, and Russo too and saved the FBI all that trouble. The sheer terror of having counsel replaced and hiring a new auditor is very interesting - to everyone but you. People are just not as dumb as you wish they were or need them to be. In other words, no one is "confused" by you.
FAP February 10, 2013 at 03:13 PM
Devin someone lied to you about "a city council that booted an old lady" and likely many other issues concerning the HHA and Carmelo Garcia. . By the State law, see below, Marianne Camporeale had to complete a series of courses within 18 months of her appointment. She failed to do so and by State law she automatically resigned from the HHA. The council had nothing to do with her resignation and could not prevent or delay it. State Law trumps our City Council. Also due to State Law Marianne Camporeale isn't eligible for re-appointment to the HHA until she takes the courses so the council couldn't just put here back on the HHA. . Someone is lying to you about what happened with Marianne Camporeale. If I were you I'd want to know why and what else they may be lying to you about. . N.J.S.A 40A:12A-46. Completion of course of study by incumbent members, executive directors 46. a. Any person serving as a member of a housing authority or a redevelopment agency on or after the effective date of the rules adopted pursuant to section 45 of P.L.1992, c.79 (C.40A:12A-45) shall satisfactorily complete the course of study prescribed by the commissioner within eighteen months following the date of appointment or July 1, 1997, whichever is later, or shall be deemed to have resigned his position effective at the end of that period of time.

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