Hoboken Mayor-elect Ravi Bhalla has selected his recent running mate and attorney John Allen as his chief of staff and he will serve in the post for Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s final month in office.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“John will bring dedication, energy and smarts to City Hall. I am very pleased that he is coming on board,” Bhalla said in a statement.
“I am looking forward to helping to implement Ravi Bhalla’s vision and plans for Hoboken. It is a tremendous opportunity to serve the City I live in and love,” added Allen.
Allen, an attorney at Schenck, Price, Smith & King, LLP, ran with Bhalla’s ticket on November 7th and ended up finishing in fifth place, 361 votes behind Councilwoman-at-Large-elect Vanessa Falco – who ran on 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco’s ticket.
He will begin his new role in the mayor’s office effective December 4th, meaning he will oversee the end of Zimmer’s second term.
“In consultation with Mayor-Elect Bhalla, I am appointing John Allen as Chief of Staff,” Zimmer said in a separate statement.
“John will help ensure that there is a smooth transition between administrations and will be a tremendous asset to Mayor Bhalla and the City of Hoboken.”
Zimmer has been without a chief of staff since late August, when Vijay Chaudhuri stepped down to manage Bhalla’s mayoral campaign.
Many expected him to resume the COS role under the Bhalla administration, but he has instead decided to pursue a “new public service opportunity.”
“Vijay did a tremendous job as my campaign manager, combining skill with a work ethic second to none. I wish him well in his new venture and will continue to value his advice,” Bhalla added.
As expected, DeFusco, who previously sounded off on Allen, was less than impressed about the new hire.
“Given Mayor-elect Bhalla’s status as an attorney at a very politically-connected law firm that has millions of dollars in government contracts, many Hoboken residents are concerned about the potential conflicts of interest that could arise when clients of the firm and the city become involved in negotiations or other sensitive matters,” DeFusco said in a statement.
“Hiring another politically-connected attorney in his former running mate John Allen does nothing to address those concerns, and in fact raises even more questions that have to be answered. While the Chief of Staff position is not subject to Council approval, I believe that residents deserve a full accounting of both Mayor-elect Bhalla and John Allen’s ties to major entities that our city does business with and I plan to pursue these issues further.”