Bhalla hires Hoboken Dem committeeman as $85k deputy chief of staff


Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla has hired Hoboken Democratic Committeeman Jason Freeman as his deputy chief of staff at an annual salary of $85,000, his office announced yesterday.

Jason Freeman. Photo courtesy of Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla's office.
Jason Freeman. Photo courtesy of Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s office.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“I welcome Mr. Freeman to my Administration and thank him for stepping up to serve our community,” Bhalla said in a statement. “Jason will play a key role as we focus on improving city services and upgrading our infrastructure.”

Freeman has worked for several community engagement and non-profit organizations, most recently as the Director of Development for the New Jersey Region of the Anti-Defamation League.

He attended the Pennsylvania State University where he studied Political Science and Labor Employment Relations and lives in Hoboken with his fiancée, Rachel Hodes.

Freeman and Hodes helped organize Bhalla’s inauguration ceremony, which included appearances from U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, as well as state Senator Brian Stack (D-33) and likely next state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal..

“I am grateful for the opportunity to join Mayor Bhalla’s administration and look forward to serving the people of Hoboken,” added Freeman.

Additionally, city spokesman Juan Melli told Hudson County View that Freeman’s salary will be $85,000.

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  1. Precisely HAL 9000. I believe Dan Bryan received less than $80K, but eventually got up to about that salary, and Dan Bryan didn’t have a deputy. Hopefully the new administration will realize these are public positions, and don’t pay the salaries of private law firms, especially when those who hold the positions have no experience in that capacity.

    • You have fought against and obviously necessary deal with Suez because you prioritized politics over the best interests of the city. You have badly reduced the quality of the council’s planning board representative because you prioritized politics over the best interests of the city. You drop-kicked a perfectly sound NHSA representative without giving a reason because you prioritized politics over the best interests of the city. You made an old guard stalwart city council president because you prioritized politics over the best interests of the city. It is obvious that you will fight this mayor at every turn. If he says the sky is blue you will say it isn’t. He should hire whatever staff he thinks he needs to help him do the city’s business which you clearly are neither interested nor competent to do. We are already counting the days until we are rid of you, Beth Junior.

      • Always funny when people talk about a board seat as if it’s a lifetime right for friends of the mayor who has no vote. Good timing with your wacky criticism though. Tiffanie Fisher announced Friday she’s going to Trenton with Ravi and others to try to press a reversal on the NY Waterway NJ Transit deal.

        You have to love the bitter winners with Ravi though. They think there’s no such things a government consensus. Don’t think the Ravi Bhalla political operatives are helping him any. They come across as unhinged fanatics.

        • The issue with the PB seat isn’t friend of the mayor but a friend of the public’s best interest rather than a friend of developers which is exactly what Defusco represents.

          Your silence on Suez, NHSA and Ramos speaks for itself. You’d rather lob insults like unhinged. It’s quite obvious that you have no answers that don’t involve personal attacks. But people can read and aren’t dumb, both of which facts are bad news for you.

          • Wait a second, the council seat on the Planning Board is also a lifetime seat like the NHSA?

            It’s hard to keep up with the scorched earth fanatics of the new mayor.

            Who will do a better job representing the council and communicating back to them on planning board activities. If Mike DeFusco does it a single time, he’ll have Doyle beat after one meeting.

            Silence on Suez? The mayor was silent and rang up a $10 million dollar bill.

            You want to go blame someone, ask her why she hid the bill there. WTF?!

          • Talking points, fanatics, scorched earth, drivel. Everything but a grown up response. Not surprised. The NHSA decision was a punishment for being loyal to the wrong person. You aren’t able to discuss that. We get it.

          • If DeFusco is a “friend of developers” what was Phil Cohen?
            Cohen voted for more variances than any other commissioner appointed under Zimmer’s reign in the last 9 years.
            Facts matter.

          • Hypocrites can’t stand the truth so you smear DeFusco (sometimes literally with that homophobic graphic straight out of the cave) and act like your “friends” like Mason stalwart Phil Cohen can do no wrong. It’s pathetic, but thankfully your cabal of botching the city’s Christmas festivities is finally irrelevant. Cohen and GrossShadow- perfect together! Two shyster lawyers who can stop acting like they run the town before they start having to put their legal skills to the test.

        • It’s obvious who is the big crybaby whining here. Appointments to the only paid board in Hoboken don’t come by way of any deals with the mayor’s office anymore.


    • Dan Bryan was pretty consistent in his efforts and I don’t think his beginning salary was even 40K.
      Ravi Bhalla has two political appointees on the mayor’s office payroll and it is probably starting out costing Hoboken taxpayers more than 4 TIMES AS MUCH!

      Then consider Ravi’s adding a constituent services office with more new salaries we won’t know the total cost or how many political appointments show up there. While that office interfaces with the public, the political appointees will be removed from public interaction and scrutiny to focus more politics to move Ravi Bhalla up to another NJ political position.

      Ravi Bhalla is in office for only days and it’s clear he’s using Hoboken to get out. Unbelievable.

        • Hey if you can’t argue the facts, go post some more lies at the cave Nancy. It won’t make you feel better but at least you’ll get some needed support from other political operatives with their multiple screen names, including your own.

      • Wait until we see who Bhalla fills up the new “constituent services office with”!
        Word is the list of jobs is so large it could fill our library.
        The payroll will set a historic all time high by June.
        If only we had a city manager the suck ups tagging along with the Mayor wouldn’t be able to get their 3rd public pension job just for knocking on a few doors

        Martha Martha Martha

  2. I was a DeFusco supporter and am very nervous about Bhalla being sincerely interested in Hoboken, but I want to be convinced otherwise. Maybe he is filling Juan Melli’s job?
    Seems like the guy has a solid resume

    • If he’s filling Juan’s job…then he will need to run communications, which I don’t think he has the qualifications for. I think they’re going to hire Juan on the DL with a contract under 25k so it doesn’t pop up on anyones radars.

  3. A Chief of staff AND a Deputy Chief of Staff??? In a mile square city??? Nice way to start off a new administration. Ripping off the taxpayers and rewarding political buddies. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Still calling these folks Reformers?

  4. Watch for a whiny power couple make history when they get another big public salary added to the HHI. Sucking up never paid so good. Switching to a city manager isn’t so important after all.

  5. Bhalla could have chosen a cheaper alternative from the ranks of the unemployed. By hiring qualified people who already had responsible private sector jobs, he put himself in the position of having to pay reasonable salaries. Since several long term unemployed people were readily available and willing to change political sides for a dollar and a cup of coffee there was no need to hire people with existing jobs.