Hoboken abolishes Office of Constituent Affairs after council overrides mayor’s veto

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After nearly a month of political jousting in Hoboken that has become standard procedure, the city council voted to override the mayor’s veto of an ordinance that will abolish the Office of Constituent Affairs. By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“I still have concerns over what the sponsors of this ordinance are aiming to achieve and so I would just call on my colleagues to better articulate – coming out of the discussions we’ve already had – what this accomplishes,” Councilwoman-at-Large Emily Jabbour said during last night’s council meeting, which was once again hosted on Zoom.

4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos, who sponsored the ordinance along with 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo, was happy to chime in right away.

“I can answer that question: we’re talking about a reduction in spending: reduction in spending, that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less,” Ramos responded.

” … So this accomplishes firing … ?,” Jabbour continued.

“This accomplishes a reduction in spending. It’s up to the mayor to fire or not fire, we went over that at the last council meeting. Remember, Councilman Russo asked that question: can the council fire someone? It’s a matter of appropriations of what he wants to prioritize,” Ramos added.

Councilman-at-Large James Doyle weighed in as well, noting that in order for there to be less spending, there needs to be fewer employees, prompting Council President Jen Giattino to state that lowering salaries was also a possibility.

Furthermore, 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher explained that from her vantage point, the mayor’s office always has to provide constituent services no matter what, so the department in question does not provide any new or added benefits.

“No matter what, constituents call City Hall, and the staff within City Hall have to provide this and it’s up to the mayor to decide who is best positioned to do that within the budget he’s allowed to have.”

Hoping to put an end to the great debate, Russo asked Corporation Counsel Brian Aloia if the city council had the statutory authority to fire employees.

“In this case, this ordinance does not fire anyone, as indicated by both Councilwoman Fisher and Councilman [Ramos],” Aloia said.

“If the plan isn’t to fire anyone, then this reduces the bottom line, which by extension, reduces head count?,” Jabbour pressed on.

” … It accomplishes the goal of reducing other expenses in the City of Hoboken, it helps to restructure city government, it helps for all of us to take a hard look at – not just this one department – we should be taking a hard look at every single department in the City of Hoboken,” Russo said.

He also noted that he’s been consistent, voting no on other expenditures including payment of claims and emergency appropriations.

Ramos further stated that he was the sponsor to bring back the Office of Constituent Affairs back in 2018, but due to budgetary woes – estimated to be anywhere from $10 to $20 million prior to the introduction of this year’s spending plan – the city can no longer afford it.

The override was approved by the same vote that cleared ordinance on both first and second reading, 6-3, with 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen, Jabbour, and Doyle voting no.

While Mayor Ravi Bhalla vowed to veto the measure, which he did on Friday of last week, that move ultimately proved be inconsequential.

This is the second time in three attempts that the city council has overrode a veto by Bhalla.

The governing body successfully did an override in 2018, allowing a runoff referendum to appear on the November ballot (which passed easily), though they were a vote shy last year when they tried to limit the number of non-civil service employees in the mayor’s office.

A city spokesman declined to comment on the override, but pointed to Bhalla’s statement from May 21st that said the Office of Constituent Affairs has assisted over 1,000 residents during COVID-19 – such as by deploying a team of 250 volunteers to feed 900 seniors.

Three sources, who spoke under the condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to speak on the matter, indicated that Caroline Caulfield, the head of the Office of Constituent Affairs, is expected to depart City Hall no later than the end of the month.

However, the other employee in that office, Migdalia Pagan-Milano, who unsuccessfully ran against 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco in November, is likely to remain at City Hall – at least for the moment, sources said.

14 COMMENTS

  1. They’re planting the seed Caroline can replace me. Ravi is aware I know where all the bodies and fliers are buried.

    Don’t do it!

    • Thank you, Hoboken Horse! It’s about time someone talked about the fliers that were created by Ravi with the help of a billionaire jewish financier!

      Everyone will understand after Ravi has his huge destructive well-coordinated riot tomorrow, courtesy of antifa and his friend the jewish financier! He is looking forward to walking through the ruins with the national media just as YOU predicted! No wonder Tiffanie Fisher is your #1 fan. No wonder Ravi is intentionally ordering his minions in antifa to destroy Tiffanie’s neighborhood just as YOU have reported. You’re providing a great service now that Qanon has gone mainstream and even General Mad Dog Mattis has become a commie!

      • Why is Nancy going 🦇 shite crazy? Was it something Bleepjay tha god said? Horsey exposed your Dear Leader!

        Any broken window, police hit with a bottle or worse 🦠🦠🦠 is owned by Ravi Bhalla and you, Hoboken Antifa HQ. 💋

        • You forgot one, Hoboken Horse. The destruction is also owned by General Mad Dog Mattis who has converted to communism! I hope your #1 fan Tiffanie Fisher shares your hatred for the jewish financier. He is paying for Hoboken’s destruction so Ravi can review the damage with the national media just as YOU reported:

          “Some say Ravi and Bromar know this group and invited them so Ravi could be on national news.”

          “Ravi will love walking the ruins of shops on Washington Street if it means national attention.”

          No wonder gifted political commentator and jewish financier spotter Patricia Waiters is proud to call your website her home!

          https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/06/james-mattis-denounces-trump-protests-militarization/612640/

        • MSV:

          “Well timed, systematic attacks are coordinated with street blockages to keep police from arriving quickly on a scene. Staged action is coupled with sophisticated communications, often using encrypted mobile telecommunications software. Earpieces are often detectable on the streets when operations are underway.”

          All of Soros’ $billions, all that hardware, communications and planning so some kid can throw a bottle? And then I bet you’ll still say “I told you so.”

          What an epic pathetic loser.

          • That is a quote of how the Leftists operate in attacks against America around the country. No one made any prediction locally. Americans see the results daily and it’s under investigation. Look forward to it but I don’t see any local prediction just a grim warning of how the attack to destroy America from within operates.

        • Good one, Hoboken Horse! You are the only one who says Bleepjay. You are so much smarter than everyone else! That’s why Tiffanie Fisher is your #1 fan!

          Too bad the city will be destroyed tomorrow just as YOU told everyone it would. They have ear pieces to communicate and all that money from the jewish financier just as YOU told everyone. Ravi has ordered them to destroy Tiffanie Fisher’s neighborhood just as YOU reported.

          You are providing an incredibly important service now that Qanon is mainstream and General Mad Dog Mattis has become a communist!

          • I’d like to see the actual quote the city will be “destroyed” crazy Nancy is alleging. Is she claiming Hoboken Horse wrote it? I don’t see it on his news site. Why is she babbling about the Q hoax and a councilwoman she tried with all her might to destroy? She failed. Nancy predicted a Ravi Bhalla council sweep. She was wrong. Nancy got it very wrong.

            General Matis is someone who was fired. No wars for the Hillary Clinton gang in the Middle East. Too bad.

  2. After all these years Ruben Ramos gets even for his mother getting the boot from being Roberts “constituent services” patronage job he created for her that the State Monitor cut.

  3. Constituent Serves is a non essential position. If the departments were doing their job or if the Mayor actually did his you would not need it. In a pandemic? Forget about it.

    • It is if you are the average citizen trying to find an answer to a question that is important to them. The pandemic makes it even more important to be able to get answers.

      Your Guy Fawkes anarchist icon is offensive in a time when it symbolizes those who take advantage of civil unrest to loot and burn.

  4. This action doesn’t even amount to drops in the bucket as far as solving the budget issue goes. Not a single one of them – mayor, council, administration – has anything constructive on that front.

    Will we ever have a plan to get out of this mess? Considering the performance of our elected officials and the administration, we can’t be expecting one soon.

  5. That huge tax increase turns out to be just 1-2%.
    All of Tiff (M$V) Fisher and the negative her Council crew’s hyper-ventilating was about just more horse manure.

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