Hoboken Assistant Corporation Counsel John Allen, a staple of Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s administration since he took office in 2018, will be leaving his post at the end of the year, making a run for state Assembly appear more likely than ever.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“It’s a bittersweet day for Hoboken as John Allen has been a tremendous asset to the city and someone I’ve counted on for the past five years,” Bhalla said in a statement.
“His work speaks for itself, as he played a major role in the acquisition of Union Dry Dock, worked with stakeholders to secure vaccine and testing resources for residents and businesses during the height of the pandemic, and saved the city tens of thousands of dollars through his work in the legal department. I wish John the best in his future endeavors and I know that he has a great future ahead of him.”
During his tenure with the City of Hoboken, which began in 2017 under former Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Allen served in the capacities of chief of staff, assistant corporation counsel, municipal prosecutor, and counsel for the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control board.
He also ran on Bhalla’s ticket as a council-at-large candidate in 2017, coming up short against Vanessa Falco for the third and final seat up for grabs.
Allen and Bhalla also work at the same law firm, Schenck Price Smith & King LLP, a fact that drew the ire of the mayor’s political opponents at the beginning of the year.
Additionally, Allen is currently the frontrunner for the Assembly seat in the 33rd Legislative District that is currently occupied by Annette Chaparro.
Chaparro was selected by Mayor Dawn Zimmer in 2015 and has run alongside state Senator Brian Stack (D-33), also the Union City mayor, for two years ever since.
However, after redistricting, Hoboken will now be in the new 32nd Legislative District with the Heights and Downtown portions of Jersey City, while Stack’s new district will entirely consist of North Hudson.
Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, Chaparro’s other longtime running mate, is the likely new senator in LD-32 after receiving endorsements from the likes of Bhalla, Gov. Phil Murphy (D), and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.
The mayor’s office also credited Allen with helping negotiate the Direct Hire Agreement that stipulates that certain city public works projects utilize union labor to supplement the existing workforce and drafting ordinances adopted by the city council related to the COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Strategy.
The city did not specifically mention why Allen was leaving, with a city spokeswoman simply stating that he was leaving “to pursue other opportunities.”