Gio Ahmad, the Weehawken township manager and board of education trustee, was named the North Hudson Community Action Corp. Board Chair after Joey Muniz resigned.
“Mr. Muniz has resigned from the board, so I will run the meeting until a new chairman is elected rather shortly at this reorganization meeting,” said NHCAC Board Counsel Bart Mongelli, a partner at Mandelbaum Barrett PC.
No further explanation was given for the departure of Muniz, a longtime North Bergen political operative who has served on the board since 2011, though friction from the West New York municipal elections undoubtedly played a role in his exit.
While he didn’t have a formal title, he supported the “West New York Forward” team led by then-Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo, to the dismay of state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, and now West New York Mayor Albio Sires – who were all in attendance.
Turner has been Sires’ right hand man for decades, while Stack was one of his earliest supporters in a bid for mayor and he and his team hit the streets regularly to help him get elected to his old post after retiring from Congress.
Additionally, Sires, Ahmad, and Elise DiNardo, an attorney for the Union City Board of Education and a Union City Housing Authority commissioner, were all recently appointed to the 21-member volunteer board.
Sires made a motion to nominate Ahmad as chairman, which was seconded by DiNardo and the motion passed unanimously, with at least a handful of board members absent.
DiNardo was then named vice chair, Rosa Ayala, also of Union City, was named secretary, and Christina McLellan, of North Bergen, was named treasurer – all by the same unanimous votes.
Briefly addressing the board, Ahmad, who is also a part of the Weehawken Volunteer First Aid Squad, thanked Stack, Sires, and Turner for their support and said he looked forward to working hard for North Hudson residents.
“I worked with most of you throughout COVID and I’m here to help again. I love this organization, it’s a great organization, it’s been around since forever and growing up in Weehawken and Union City, I’ve always seen it,” he said.
“So I’m here to help, I want to make this a better, cleaner, more professional organization, which it has been, but I want to take it to the next level and I can only do that with your support and the support of the mayors.”
Sires added that Ahmad is “professional” and “knowledgable,” also noting that he’s now an attorney, joking that “adds to the problems.”
During public comment, Stack said that he’d like to see the board rotate their meetings around the areas they serve. For example, this one was held at La Reggia in Secaucus, so the next one should be held at a location in Union City, North Bergen, or Weehawken.
NHCAC CEO and President Joan Quigley said she was open to that, as long as they have locations with parking, good food, and enough room for the large board.
In recent memory, the board has met at the Hudson County Schools of Technology in Secaucus, where Muniz is still the board secretary.
All agenda items were approved, with the exception of an item giving approximately 500 employees a raise that was included as part of the budget in January.
Ahmad said he didn’t want to take a vote on something they didn’t have time to review and said he would speak with Quigley and Mongelli about scheduling a special meeting before July, so that employees could still see a pay hike by July 1st as planned if the matter is approved.