Hoboken City Council selects Russo as president, Jabbour as vice president at reorg meeting


The Hoboken City Council selected 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo as council president, with Councilwoman-at-Large Emily Jabbour voted in as vice president.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Russo, first elected in 2003 and currently serving his fifth term, was nominated by Jabbour, which was seconded by Councilman-at-Large Joe Quintero.

2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher nominated Councilman-at-Large Jim Doyle, but did not receive a second.

Russo’s nomination was approved 8-0(1), with Fisher abstaining.

“I’m going to abstain and councilman I’m hopeful we can work this year on our relationship, to do what we can to have a better relationship throughout the course of the year,” she said.

HCV reported on Monday that Russo would get the nod for council president.

Russo then put Jabbour’s name forward for vice president, which was seconded by Doyle.

That was also approved 8-0(1), with Fisher abstaining since Jabbour co-sponsored an ordinance to raise the maximum amount unions can donate to political campaigns from $500 to $7,200, which passed narrowly last month.

On Thursday morning, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla congratulated Russo and Jabbour and said he looked forward to working with them.

“I offer my congratulations to Councilman Russo and Councilwoman Jabbour for achieving the role of Council President and Council Vice President,” he said in a statement.

“I look forward to working collaboratively with Council leadership on improving the quality of life for Hoboken residents on a number of initiatives in the year ahead.”

Doyle was the council designee reappointed to the city planning board unanimously (9-0), with 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen named to council representative on the Hoboken Business Alliance board by an 8-1 vote. 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos voted no.

While the Mile Square City’s reorganization meeting typically involves appointments to the zoning and rent leveling board, as well as the North Hudson Sewerage Authority.

Russo said they, along with municipal union contracts, will receive a vote at the next meeting. He said they didn’t want to vote on those without the insurance commission meeting first, with a hearing scheduled for tomorrow.

With those items removed, there weren’t many points of contention, thought one exception was a resolution awarding a contract to engineering and land professionals to provide a topographic survey for a portion of Palisades Avenue.

“There’s a bill going through the state legislature which would essentially effect development that would be near to the Palisades [Cliffs]. We need to have conversations as to how that bill would affect development in Hoboken,” said Community Development and Planning Director Chris Brown.

“About the density, of the height of those ares close to the cliff so we’re still doing our own independent study of what the height of the Palisades are relative to Hoboken and that’s the purpose of this here.”

While the contract is for just $9,800, at least a couple people on the dais were  stillnot happy about it.

“If that is truly the purpose, aren’t we better suited to spending our time and energy on fighting the bill that’s going through the legislature as opposed to kind of acknowledging that it passes – it’s so bad for Hoboken so why would we spend a dollar to do anything to support that legislation?,” Fisher questioned.

The legislation referenced is the Palisades Cliffs Protection Act, sponsored by state Senator Brian Stack (D-33), whose district includes Hoboken, and state senator Nick Sacco (D-32).

Fisher, who has floated the possibility of running for state Senate next year, has been outspoken against the measure and the council approved a resolution opposing it last year.

Russo, Doyle, and Cohen argued that the municipality should have that information handy for current and/or potential developers.

The measure would allow Hoboken to survey the centerline of Palisades Avenue from the southern end at Prospect Street in Jersey City to the northern end at 14th Street in Union City, roughly 1.8 miles.

“We should be defending Hoboken residents and Hoboken’s ability to develop as we see fit, as opposed to doing it the other way around. Jersey City on our border, they don’t measure anything when it impacts us … I don’t know why we’re doing it the other way around in this case,” Ramos said.

1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco said he was torn, since it was a good planning metric, but was unsure why they wouldn’t wait until the bill cleared the legislature – as 6th Ward Councilwoman Jen Giattino said earlier.

“I fully understand your perspective on it, I just think it’s important for us to have that information as we go through these redevelopment zones and have these conversations with developers coming in,” Russo responded.

“I always think it’s unfair for us as a city to not have the information and have to rely on the developer to give it to us. Just my take on it and I understand your position on it as well.”

Ultimately the resolution cleared 5-4, with DeFusco, Fisher, Ramos, and Giattino voting no.

The meeting was originally supposed to include the return of limited in person participation, but was called off due to surging coronavirus numbers.


Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla.

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  1. “I always think it is unfair for the for us as a city to not have the information and have to rely on the developer to give it to us.”

    The developer of the $330 million dollar high school won’t even give the public the information it needs to make a rational decision.

    Vote NO on January 25th. Send the plan back to drawing boards.

  2. Gee, all of Ravi’s disciples and operatives have gone silent. Russo is running the show and Emily is his puppet. Does anyone see Doyle complaining or did he just politely sell Hoboken out with Ravi? Great work Jimbo!

  3. I’d like to applaud Council President Russo for the professional decorum that he brought back to the CC meetings that was SO desperately needed. He showed respect to the constituents who spoke [even through tech challenges], actually understood how to read the agenda and invited his CC colleagues to share their perspectives [within reason], to maintain efficiency and productivity. It’s about time someone limit certain councilmembers’ soapbox speeches thinly veiled as “questions.” Yes, I’m looking at you, Councilwoman Fisher.

      • Unfounded? The Russo Crime Family was infamous for shaking down bars.
        That is until you took over the job. When will you tell Hoboken the bad news how they’ve been sold out to bring back St. Pat’s Mardi Gras weekend? What, you think no one in the business community would give you up? People are talking. Hopefully, they’re talking to someone who values their shield.

        Keep up the bad “work” Jonny Cat.

          • Solomon Dwek needs to move over for the new Ravi-Russo crime spree. Show us how to get it done. Oh, you’re already doing that.

        • Wow – “Johnny Cat” – brilliant, really. Your (dim)witticisms are truly legendary. It’s a marvel that not one, single employer in this world finds you valuable enough to employ. But please continue to post “anonymously” on the internet for the next four years. After all, the work you did the last four years really made difference.

          • You don’t know me jonny cat; but the bar owners all do.
            It’ll be so great if a decent law enforcement officer does too!

  4. Tiff nominating Doyle was a nice touch. Just imagine how different the Hoboken political world would look if she and Jen had done that 4 years ago. Spite has its costs.

    The Russos were done as a political force in Hoboken In 2017. Then Jen and Tiff threw in with Ramos and DeFusco because they didn’t know how to count to 5.

    As I said earlier. The meek may or may not inherit the earth. But the stupid certainly won’t.

    • Spite + aspirations of taking out Stack has blinded Tiff. She’s going to use whatever issues will help her positioning in her run for State Senator. Grab yo’ popcorn kids, let’s watch her epically fail.

      • Wait, WHHHAATTT??? Tiff’s running against Stack?? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

        Good one. You’re kidding, right?

          • Seriously? Even she can’t be that dumb. But really who cares? Nothing she does matters until Russo stabs Bhalla in the back. Then she and Jen will go for ride with team Russo because all she and Jen care about is being with whoever is against Bhalla

          • Watch the interview. Sure, it matters. As far as achieving higher political office outside of Hoboken, she’s cooked her own goose. And, who’s most likely to help Fisher’s opponent if she runs in 2023? Hint: Stack.

          • Not Dumb, she’s got nothing to lose. She’s going to throw mud and expose all that he gets away with in that financially troubled fiefdom where he uses latinos as his minions and servants
            El Chapo and Escobar had nothing on Brian…

  5. Undereducated Brian, is losing his mind over Fisher, not that he will lose, but he hates any criticism, anyone who has more than an hour’s worth of interaction with him knows he’s short fused, not that smart and relies on extraordinary aid from the taxpayers across the state to cover his bloated budgets and turkey giveaways…