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Jim Doyle: This time the Charm?

I moved to Hoboken in 1985. Although i recently moved this blog is til primarily my take on Hoboken politics and politricks.

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:

http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2012/11/local_leaders_fear_uproar_at_n.html

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/12/11/court-overturns-newark-city-council-appointment-that-sparked-melee/

http://newarknj.patch.com/articles/council-memebers-vow-to-fight-speight-appointment-in-court

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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

recallbethmason January 28, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Could not have said it better myself!
CuriousGal January 29, 2013 at 01:47 AM
i) It certainly does make a difference when Ms. Marsh stepped down-- ii) An absension is not a "no" vote. If a council person abstains on a contract due to a conflict of interest it is not treated like a NO vote is it? LMAO... iii) If there was TRUE concern of legal expenses and appeals, the mayor would sit down with the entire council and come up with a consensus candidate to take the vacant seat left by Ms. Marsh. Select someone who would be acceptable to both sides. I understand it is done all the time among grown up politicians. iv) Mr. Segal suggests that there was nothing wrong with spending $500,000+ in the HUMC bankruptcy case to save money. He fails to mention that the law firm had a $30,000 "DO NOT EXCEED" limit set on its fees. Evidently, Mr. Segal has become an "ends justifies the means" kind of guy of late. v) Finally, Mr. Doyle is a fine and well qualified person among a pool of fine and well qualified people. It is unfortunate Mr. Doyle is being bounced around like a soccer ball due to the over zealous and premature forwarding of his name for the vacant council seat before assurances of consensus among the entire council was assured.
recallbethmason January 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Curious gal, I disagree, on your point of legal expenses. The council minority caused the legal fees in the first place by fighting the hospital sale so your statement makes no sense. The council minority is corrupt in the view of most taxpayers, I disagree that you negotiate with criminals.
HudsonStreet January 29, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Sadly we again see tha tCuriousGirl has has been dispached to try make excuses and do damage control for Beth Mason.
puzzledone January 29, 2013 at 05:12 PM
consensus candidate...kudos for making it sound like it's just a failure to extend an olive branch. Given that the minority has acted, spoken, negotiated, and voted consistently as a bloc, why would we expect that they would allow for any candidate that wouldn't join their little club, under the assumption that they could just gum up the works, keep suing the city, and leave a deadlocked council instead. Perhaps if there was any more than a vote against progress and complain about the mayor attitude (see trying to bankrupt the city over the hosptial, Tim Occhipinti's op-ed in the Jersey Journal, suing the city in order to run up the legal bills and then complaining about the legal bills, flyers with lies sent to everyone's houses), we could find such a candidate, but we all know that's just not true.
Scott M. Siegel January 29, 2013 at 10:16 PM
If it was up to CG HUMC would have not just filed for bankruptcy, but would have closed and been liquidated. Over 1,000 people would be out of work and the Hoboken taxpayers would have been saddled with as much as a 90% tax increase. Yes, spending $500,000 to save $75-80 million is money well spent.
demosthenes January 29, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Hi Curious Gal. Now that you've learned that we indeed have a November election every year, maybe it's time for you to learn a few more things: i) while it certainly makes a difference when Ms. Marsh stepped down, it makes no difference why she chose to step down when she did, nor do you or any of the 4 clowns on the council have a clue why she stepped down when she did. ii) Judge Bariso will decide whether an abstention is a "no" vote in this context. Abstentions due to conflicts of interests have as much to do with this as Wisconsin law. iii) I thought your position was that the people should decide in a legally impermissible imaginary special election. Did your friends want a special election or for the Council to appoint "a consensus candidate?" You really need to keep your story straight. iv) the city and its lawyers have a fiduciary obligation to protect the city's interests.If you consider living up to one's ethical responsibilities, saving the hospital and avoiding a $100 million default to be somehow wrong you are certainly entitled to your opinion. vi) If Mr. Doyle is a fine and well qualified person why would there be a need for a "consensus" candidate? Again, try to keep your stories straight.
cassandra January 30, 2013 at 08:05 PM
Political hacks all.
Journey January 30, 2013 at 10:37 PM
But this was not a conflict of interest. This was ploy.
demosthenes January 30, 2013 at 11:03 PM
I agree. Too bad we have the misfortune of also calling Mason, Occhipinti, Russo and Castellano elected officials.
cassandra January 31, 2013 at 06:05 AM
I was referring to all the commenters, myself excepted
demosthenes January 31, 2013 at 05:36 PM
And here I thought you had made a sensible comment. My apologies for misinterpreting you narcissism for thoughtful commentary. If you're going to characterize all bloggers except yourself as hacks then I strongly suggest a long hard look in the mirror. Sorry pal. if we are all hacks by virtue of expressing opinions anonymously online then you are too.
The Hoboken Howitzer January 31, 2013 at 09:42 PM
"ii) An absension is not a "no" vote. If a council person abstains on a contract due to a conflict of interest it is not treated like a NO vote is it? LMAO.." A council person abstains for a reason. No reason is being stated here because there is not legitimate reason. How can there be a conflict of interest unless the ab"stain"ees are having some kind of strange, ill-begotten, sordid, behind-the scenes relationship with Mr. Doyle? I'm guessing not.
cassandra January 31, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Not all bloggers. Just the commenters who preceeded me on this thread. Just my opinion. Political partisans on both sides
Scott M. Siegel February 02, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Once again you were wrong, Judge Bariso approved Jim's appointment! Great news for the rule of law and Hoboken! http://hoboken.patch.com/articles/jim-doyle-allowed-to-resume-term-as-hoboken-councilman?ncid=newsltuspatc00000001 http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2013/02/court_rules_approval_of_jim_do.html#comments

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