Hoboken council again appoints Giattino president, Falco takes over as VP


The Hoboken City Council again named 6th Ward Councilwoman Jen Giattino the president of the governing body, with Councilwoman-at-Large Vanessa Falco taking over as vice president – marking the first time an African American has been elected to a leadership post.

Giattino, re-elected to her third term in November, has now served as council president five times since 2012 – with four of those terms coming in the past five years.

Meanwhile, Falco, elected for the first time in 2017, took over as vice president. Each appointment was unanimous (9-0) and no one else was nominated for either spot.

Falco’s appointment comes on the heels of Jersey City Councilwoman-at-Large Joyce Watterman being named the first African American woman to lead the city council.

“Tonight, we were proud to support Councilwoman Jen Giattino for another term as Council President and our trusted colleague Councilwoman Vanessa Falco as she begins her new role as Council Vice President,” 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco and 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos said in a joint statement after the meeting.

“We look forward to continue working closely with Councilwoman Falco in her new role and negotiate good policy with the administration so we can make our city a better place for everyone.”

The meeting also marked all six victors from the November 5th elections being sworn in.

3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo decided to have a little fun when it was time for him to place his hand on the Bible: asking all eight of his colleagues to hold the good book as he took the oath of office.

On another note, 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen, the only newly elected official, got to see things come around full circle for his family.

Back in 1993, Cohen was able to swear in his mother Eleanore after she was elected the mayor of Livingston.

27 years later, Eleanore was able to read her son the oath of office.

“What I love about this oath is that it’s the oath that every official is sworn in takes, from the president of the United States to my son,” Eleanore Cohen said affectionately.

As is standard procedure in the Mile Square City, the reorganization meeting also included a number of board appointments.

Interestingly, they all seemed to go off without a hitch, starting with John Branciforte re-appointed to the zoning board of adjustment.

Steve Firestone was also re-appointed as a first alternate, with Nicola Maganuco, one of Cohen’s opponents in November, getting the nod as a second alternate.

Carol Marsh, a former council president, rounded out the zoning board nominations by being voted as the third alternate commissioner.

Additionally, Councilman-at-Large Jim Doyle will serve on both the Hoboken University Medical Center Board of Directors and the city planning board – the latter being a role he was also appointed to last year by Mayor Ravi Bhalla.

2nd Ward Councilman Tiffanie Fisher will also again be the council designee for the Hoboken Business Alliance, which oversees the city’s special improvement district.

Finally, four members were named to the Historic Preservation Commission: Steven Zane (a four-year re-appointment), Steve Smolyn (a one-year term), Thelar Pakar (a one-year term as a first alternate), and Cristin Cricco-Powell (a one-year term as a second alternate).

Cricco-Powell ran a competitive, though unsuccessful campaign against Giattino in the fall.

The entire meeting streamed live on our Facebook page and can be viewed below:

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  1. The council presidency has historically rotated among council members rather than remain with one individual, so Councilwoman Giattino’s retention of the position for so many years is a deviation from the norm.

    Personally, I think rotating the position is a far better practice for the City so I would much rather have seen Councilwoman Fisher get the job this time. But overall, given the politically fractured nature of the council, I think this is a good consensus driven result.

    I’m particularly pleased to see Councilman Doyle get the hospital board position given his critical role in helping save the Hospital from closing back in 2011 as chair of another Hospital related Board.

    • The norm? She’s been elected by her colleagues, she’s not part of any “retention.” Don’t think you decide what Councilwoman Fisher wants either. The councilwoman said she was honored to nominate Giattino last night.

      Is it the norm to ring up a $7 million budget deficit? Now that’s an accounting norm chosen too – by incompetents!

  2. Why did all of the people that were there to see Phil Cohen sworn in walk out during the swearing in of Councilwoman Falco as Vice President?

    That was rude.