Members of the public accused Jersey City Incinerator Authority (JCIA) board members of racism after CEO/Executive Director Oren Dabney’s retirement was approved and the board wasted little time in voting in his replacement: Hudson County Democratic Organization Executive Director John Minella.Â
The resolution was to discuss the retirement of Dabney, who is black, to be effective as of August 18, 2015, waiving the usual 60-day notice required by the administration during an employee exit. It was also to appoint Minella, who is white, as interim CEO.
As Hudson County View first reported on Thursday, Dabney was expected to be on his way out as four members of the agency, including his brother, Clayton, face charges for using JCIA equipment to pickup construction debris and sell it for cash.
Dabney stated at last month’s meeting that the JCIA had “nothing to hide” regarding the situation, with counsel noting that an internal investigation has been opened since the charges came down.
Minella, a Bayonne resident who was a former program analyst for the Jersey City Employment and Training Program, as well as an ex-chairman of the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority, is a longstanding member of the HCDO – elected to another term as executive director of the party in June.
During the meeting Commissioner Michael Malloy asked Chairwoman Maureen Hulings, “Did Oren ask for this or is he being forced out?”
“The one black director we have and he is being forced out!”, yelled Virginia Miller, a Jersey City resident.
And while the public cried out, “He was forced out! He didn’t ask for this!”, Hulings pleaded, “He gave us his resignation.”
Vice Chairman P. Terrell Flood was the only one who voted against the resolution. “There is no way this board should accept his resignation.”
Commissioners Oscar L. Velez, Michel Malloy, Roger Hejazi, Alexander Habib, Kevin Lyons and Maureen Hulings, the board’s chair, voted in favor of the resolution.
Dabney earned an annual salary of approximately $152,000 a year, though it was not immediately clear if Minella would be earning the same.
The pay for the new head of the agency may not be relevant for very long, as the Jersey City Council could vote to absorb the JCIA into the city’s Department of Public Works as early as Wednesday’s scheduled meeting.
Dabney was not present at the meeting.