Hoboken hires new directors for communications, community development

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The City of Hoboken only needed one week to hire new directors for communications and community development, with Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s former campaign manager returning to City Hall.

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla with new Community Development Director Chris Brown. Photo courtesy of Hoboken.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Chris Brown, the city’s principal planner in the community development department, succeeds Brandy Forbes as the head of the department, while Vijay Chaudhuri takes over as communications manager and policy adviser.

That role was previously filled by Santiago Melli-Huber and the city announced he and Forbes would be departing last week.

Brown will oversee all property development in Hoboken, as well as the planning and zoning offices. Meanwhile, Chaudhuri will manage all communications from the City and be the point of contact for all media inquiries.

“Both Chris and Vijay have proven track records of great service to our City, and I am confident that this will continue in their new roles,” Mayor Ravi Bhalla said in a statement.

“Each of them has the skillset to move our city forward and I am grateful for their willingness to serve our residents.”

Brown will serve as acting director until his confirmation before the city council. His confirmation can take place at the December 5 council meeting. Meanwhile, Chaudhuri’s first day back in City Hall will be the same day.

2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher said she feels Chaudhuri is experienced and is interested to see community development expand and flourish.

“It wasn’t a surprise to hear that Vijay is returning since he clearly brings a lot of experience to the role. I had a good working relationship when he worked for Mayor Zimmer and I hope that will continue under Mayor Bhalla.”

“I like Chris and have worked with him on CDBG funding. With Brandy leaving, we have the opportunity to reposition this role and make it bigger and I want to better understand Chris’ qualifications to lead economic development, redevelopment negotiations and strategic planning for Hoboken.”

Chaudhuri was hired as former Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s chief of staff back in February 2015 and despite leading then-Councilman Bhalla to victory in the 2017 mayoral contest, decided to stay on U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley’s (D-14) staff in New York.

Crowley was of course infamously upset by Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the June primary, opening up speculation about Chaudhuri’s potential returning to Hoboken.

47 COMMENTS

  1. I think there is a flaw in the investigative reporting here. Vijay had to leave suddenly the last time he worked for the city. Can we get some more information on the sudden departure? If there was a breach of the public trust, he should not be brought back or allowed back. End of discussion.

        • Yes, he did. The Bhalla campaign was an interim task. He also worked for Crowley, and that was his career path. Let’s hope everyone can work together now.

          • Yeah, he left midweek from City Hall to the Bhalla campaign and that was an odd departure people noticed. You know why but you want to keep it secret just like Shadow. Why don’t you go back to your dungeon and tell the truth for once. Nancy is far worse than Hoboken411 ever was. That’s a disgusting political operative in our community spreading lies and hate today and Ravi encourages it with Jason Freeman and John Allen. Heck, they feed the monster! They own it.

          • You talk a lot of trash about GA. But GA printed the chief’s letter about the city’s SUV. You don’t have the stones to for it because it shows what a dirty political hit you were involved it. Talk is cheap. But that’s all you have. You are the 411 around here. The chief’s letter proves it.

          • No one has to talk any trash about Nancy and her scumbag blogsite. What she sprays from her grotesque self attacking good government people for her two-job, employee pay stealing (in the thousands) political employer boss is daily trash. Ravi’s gas guzzling super truck SUV is only the latest in a string in reveals about him.

            Oh poor Ravi, he’s a victim. Yeah right and the Ravi Terror Flier didn’t come from his pals to get him elected. Go back to your blobsite and admit the truth you’re hiding from the public. Not a chance of that happening. Liar!

          • More of the same from a gutless has-been. The Police Chief’s letter is directed at YOU. And YOU don’t have the guts or character to address it. Just more personal attacks against the site that DID publish the letter.

            It’s funny how to keep telling everyone to go back to GA’s website when they disagree with your nonsense. At least there are people there. You write ALL the comments on your website except for the few that come from Kurt and Tony. Otherwise it’s a ghost town. You did it to yourself and you’re still doing it.

            Might as well keep publishing your alt-right garbage now. It’s not like you have an audience left to lose. But tell me, is it called “going stasi” when a public official sends you a correction of the record YOU have been putting out and you don’t publish it because you don’t want the public to see what a shill you have become? Or is that just more Making America Great Again?

          • Hey Nancy, it’s Monday and Hoboken Horse published the entire letter. Oh and he kicked the living crap out of you too. #WINNING! Great article!

          • You’re a child, Roman. A sad, silly child. Your comment is sad, silly and childish. And made worse by the fact that you have to pat yourself on the back because there’s no one left to do it in the real world.

    • This was a release story not investigative but Hoboken needs an investigation on the growing chatter about forged documents in the mayor’s office. We’re all looking forward to learning more as we FORGE AHEAD!

    • nice to see you away from that alt-right dung heep. it’s impossible to look good over there among the conspiracy theories and thinly veiled trumpism. it’s like being the one smart panelist on fox and friends. they only invited you on the show to make it look credible. he’s quoting daily caller now. pathetic.

      • Boo hoo Nancy, more of your criminal heroes are going to be exposed and locked up. Too friggin bad.

        Daily Caller did a story on a federal whistleblower.
        Guess you can’t censor everything. Wah!

  2. The guy left without giving any notice and almost no mention from the mayor in a press release. The guy had to leave; it’s obvious. The reporter should get to the bottom of that story.

    • You seem to be alluding to some kind of deep dark damaging secret concerning Vijay that you think you know about. Instead of telling John to “get to the bottom” of something you obviously think you already know about, why don’t you just lay it on the line and break the “story” yourself right here?

          • I’m not spreading anything. The guy left with no notice and the former Mayor provided no glowing thanks for your service press release. There is a there there and it’s being kept hush hush.

        • The reporter posted an article about something that actually is news – that Vijay is returning to City Hall and Mr. Brown is being promoted to Director.

          Since you are the one trying to malign Vijay with mysterious references, the onus is on you (not John) to say whatever it us you’re trying to say.

          Perhaps you’re worried about getting sued? If so, you would actually be exercising good judgment for a change, since falsely accusing someone of wrongdoing in a public forum is extremely unwise.

          • They didn’t spread anything but urged more probing and reporting on the story. Why are you working so very hard to keep that person’s suggestion quiet? What do you know that needs to kept secret from the public? You’re full of kaka, that’s obvious. You know what it is and you’re covering it up as it occurred under Dawn Zimmer’s Administration. Paging Stephen Marks, paging Stephen Marks!

          • No kaka here. I don’t know anything that needs to be kept secret from the public. But since you and “they” (strange that you refer to Pippen as “they”) keep alluding to some deep dark secret, it’s your civic duty to expose it.

            So why the passive aggressive nonsense? Just expose it here. Better yet – have the mighty Hoboken Horse expose it. Isn’t he famous for his unrelenting corruption busting investigative efforts?

            Of course I could be setting a doofus defamation trap. But more likely, I just enjoy taunting demented doofuses.

          • This lindolou puts up some seriously strange comments. Hoboken, man, you have some sick political watchers. That stuff about civic responsibility is my favorite part. I have questions, not answers.

            1. Why did this employee leave with no notice? Why would we re-hire someone that is so disrespectful?
            2. If he didn’t leave without notice but was asked to leave by the former mayor, why? Was there a problem with his job performance? Behavior? Quality of work?
            3. If he didn’t leave without notice, was he fired? If so, why? What did he do that warranted a swift and immediate termination?

            If I did know some deep dark secret, what would be the point of me posting it? I’m just an anonymous person commenting. Just like lindolou is. People commenting anonymously are just giving opinions and gossiping. It’s reporters that are in the position to print things other than rumors and opinions. In light of the re-hire, the reason for leaving is just as much newsworthy as the re-hiring itself.

          • Perhaps, one of the “good government” council members will ask these questions at the next City Council meeting. I certainly hope so, since I’m sure all honest Hobokenites who believe in good government as you do desperately want those inciteful, probing questions answered.

            Much like they want to know why Mayor Bhalla put forward Mr. Brown for a position that one look at him would make clear he is not qualified for.

            Usually the mighty Hoboken Horse leads the charge with his exhaustive and objective reporting and the good government council members followed his lead. If you know Me. Horse, please persuade him to ask these questions in his Monday breaking news. If he leads, and the good government council members as usual follow, this dirty dark secret will surely be exposed.

            MADA!!!!!! Let’s make America Doofy Again!

          • Shadow thinks this is a courtroom. It’s not; it’s the court of public opinion. “I don’t know anything that needs to be kept secret from the public.” Yeah right but you will keep the secret and try to threaten others who raise legitimate questions. Total crap!

            How’s that working out for ya Stanislaw? You made it a whole lot worse here by flapping when you should be bonging up whatever trans drugs prescribed.

            You want the Hoboken Horse to expose this? Wheely? But then you wouldn’t enjoy that “discovery” now would you? Don’t try to feign legal threats you can’t back up. Last time you played, it costs Hoboken a lot but it cost the people who could afford it least in the HHA about $700,000. Good job Lindastan, the Trans King&Queen of the Moron Doofus Universe. Idiot!

            I hope Hoboken Horse looks into the story! Maybe he’ll be nice and forget your doofusness here because the only person who will pay a price is poor Vijay. You sure are one top flight doofus Lindastan. Wot an idiot!

          • What do you get when one doofuses writes about something he heard from another doofuses?

            Double doofus defamation! MADA!!!

          • Look, more overdosing on his trans medicine. Let’s put you, wifey, Vijay and Marx under oath! You’ll be begging not be deposed. Again!

            MORON!

        • So Skillset – you agree with Fisher yet think she is a poor judge of character? Are their two Skillsets? Shouldn’t council people question the qualifications of directors? On his linkedin it says Brown mainly has done green and affordable housing projects. Is that what the CD job is in Hoboken? Does someone else do the real estate development stuff?

    • Optics? Thats BS, let the guy be judged on performance, not here by us who don’t work with him day-to day. Speaking of Optics, questioning Brown’s qualifications here when not a word was said about other directors certainly makes for bad “optics” Even if it’s merely “optics”.

      I hope the council votes for him 9-0 so Mr. Brown knows he has the support of Hoboken’s legislative branch too.

  3. Chris Brown deserves a fair evaluation and a chance. No other director has been reviewed to this extent even before the formal review by the council. In the end, Directors serve at “The Pleasure of the Mayor” that’s the law period. As a taxpayer and resident, I think this guy is worth support. I don’t think he should be soiled for absolutely no reason other than politics. I don’t care what any council member thinks, the guy has worked hard and gets involved here after hours on various community events and Green Team initiatives on nights and weekends. If he ends up not doing a good job ( hypothetical ) Mayor Bhalla ultimately pays the price -it’s his director and cabinet member. Lets not destroy the man.

    • I hope you’ll continue to bring the same elder statesman gravitas to your disagreements with the mayor and council. We need it.

      The disagreements are real but the commentary has been unproductive garbage. Instead we get nothing but ravibot, ravimobile, ravi won because HE (obviously) created a terror flyer (which HPD were, by extrapolation, too inept to figure out), “go back to the cave” drivel as a substitute for dialog.

      You have a perspective and a long memory. Quite a breath of fresh air from the feces throwing antics we see here. It’s needed now especially when those feces are even being thrown at the chief of police who has labored to mend fences with the community only to have his integrity and competence questioned in a series of cheap political attacks. Maybe we need to be embarrassed into talking like adults again. So embarrass us.

      • The Hoboken Police lists the Ravi Terror flier an open investigation last I heard. Why don’t you and the Ravi campaign people step up and tell the truth about it? You all know, every single one of you!

        Tell the truth!

      • The Hoboken Police list the Ravi Terror flier an open investigation last I heard. Why don’t you and the Ravi campaign do the right thing finally for Hoboken and tell the truth about it? Now that’s embarrassing to Hoboken and the Hoboken Police Department because they’ve repeatedly asked for the information and you keep flinging your feces at them.

        Tell the truth about the Ravi Terror Flier. What a disgusting coverup and disgrace!

        • What’s embarrassing to the HPD is your constant insistence that the flyer perpetrator is obvious and hiding in plain site. After all you wouldn’t be insisting that Bhalla confess if Bhalla weren’t the perp.

          But according to YOUR narrative, the police are too thick to figure out what YOU figured out so easily. And you broadcast that fact everywhere you go. Every post says in effect “The Hoboken Police Department aren’t competent to solve an obvious crime that I solved all by myself months ago.” Get it? Of course not.

          It is literally pointless to try to explain ANYTHING to you. You don’t listen. You don’t debate. You don’t form grown-up arguments. You just come back with one of your handful of stock childish replies. It’s fortunate in a way that you aren’t capable of seeing how pathetic you’ve become.

          So, as I said, no one was talking to you. With obvious good reason. So run along like a good boy and find people who are more your speed.

          • “After all you wouldn’t be insisting that Bhalla confess if Bhalla weren’t the perp.”

            Why don’t you confess? Or we can have a legal deposition set up with law enforcement to make it easier for you.

            Send the HPD back! The liars should not be allowed to escape with the harm they did to Hoboken.

          • There are 2 options.

            One, you have evidence that Bhalla created the flyer but you are withholding it from the police.

            Extremely unlikely. You hate Bhalla and express the fact night and day. You drag him into subjects where he isn’t even a factor because you need an outlet for your loathing. If you had a SHRED of evidence, you’d take it to the police.

            Two, you have no evidence whatsoever. You are accusing Bhalla and his campaign of a felony IN WRITING daily despite having zero evidentiary reason to believe so. Your hatred for Bhalla is not a reason.

            If it’s 2, and it IS 2, that is defamation per se. You are very familiar with the concept. But apparently your life is such a shambles now that you just don’t care anymore.

            There is no 3rd option. You have evidence (1) or you have none (2). You have none. You thus exist at the mercy of someone you openly and vigorously despise who can sue you at any time and you won’t have a leg to stand on. But unlike you, he has a life and better things to do. So you’ll get to continue defaming him and his campaign. It only enhances your image as someone who isn’t even worth bothering about, like a crazy old man who yells at buildings. Congratulations.

          • The coverup is worse than the crime.

            Law enforcement must thoroughly question the Ravi campaign and everyone connected to it like you. The scum should not be allowed to escape with the harm they did to Hoboken.

            The victims are the people of Hoboken. You’re with the corrupt scumbags so you’ll have to make better threats or shove off.

            Now go cry some more and try to censor the truth here. Crying is all you have left.

            Paging Ravi Terror Flyer Inc.

          • Ah, the math was too complicated for you. Unfortunately, repeating yourself, doesn’t change the calculus. So let’s try one more time and then leave it alone.

            Option 1. You have evidence about the flyers and are withholding it. Not a chance. You are driven by hatred. You would be overjoyed if you had evidence. And the attention would be mainlining crack for you.

            Option 2. You have NO evidence and are merely defaming a group of people whom you despise. Accusations of criminal behavior without evidence or investigation is one of the specific definitions of defamation per se.

            But as stated above:

            “It is literally pointless to try to explain ANYTHING to you. You don’t listen. You don’t debate. You don’t form grown-up arguments. You just come back with one of your handful of stock childish replies. It’s fortunate in a way that you aren’t capable of seeing how pathetic you’ve become.”

            And so it is. There for all to see. You didn’t listen. You didn’t debate or form an adult argument. You didn’t select from options One or Two or come up with Three (which of course does not exist).

            You merely repeat yourself. A sad and very public spectacle from which everyone has turned away except people who find you “useful.” Not one person left to defend you or take your side. You must invent those like imaginary friends in childhood. People who say “that big-toothed horse did it again!” But each time you do that, you drift even further from reality. And you conclude with your most ironic of projections “go back to your cave.” It’s you that lives in a cave. Yelling at the walls and heartened by your own echo.

            Ok, you get the last word. See if you can use it for offering even ONE original thought that might be construed as dialog instead of repeating your baseless charges and epithets yet again to further illustrate the depth of your incapacity for reason.

          • The police questioned all of the candidates and campaigns. That’s the first place they looked. They know how to do their job. Why do you keep saying they don’t know how to do their job??????? All you trumpies throw LE under the bus whenever you don’t like what they say.

          • Sybil doth protest too much. Horse should nail these people with a big investigative reveal. Do it Horse.

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