More on the budget from Zimmer & crew
4th Ward Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer sent out this statement tonight on behalf of herself and Councilmen Peter Cammarano and Peter Cunningham:
Statement from Cammarano, Cunningham, and Zimmer
Last week just before the Memorial Day Parade on Wednesday, May 21, Councilman Cammarano, Councilman Cunningham, and Councilwoman Zimmer met with Mayor Roberts and several directors to discuss the $3.7 million bond on the agenda for the May 23rd City Council meeting.
At the end of the meeting, Mayor Roberts asked Steve Kleinman, Director Pope, and Director England to leave the meeting so that he could speak with the Council members alone.
Mayor Roberts then took out a folder and briefly showed a memo to the three council members. He stated that the memo showed that health care expenses have been forwarded from year to year for several years. When he met with disapproval, he stated that “everyone does this.”
When questioned further, Mayor Roberts refused to take responsibility for his actions. Instead, he indicated that the 2007 health care expenses were moved into the 2008 fiscal year at the request of incumbent Council members who were concerned about the upcoming Council elections.
Councilwoman Zimmer submitted the following OPRA request on May 21st prior to the meeting with Mayor Roberts. In light of Mayor Roberts’ comments during the May 21st meeting, we call on the Administration to promptly respond to Councilwoman Zimmer’s OPRA request by providing the following:
- All health insurance bills applying to periods within fiscal year 2006, 2007 and 2008.
- Records of all payments made for health insurance in 2006, 2007, and 2008.
- All records identifying what invoices each payment made in fiscal years 2006, 2007 and 2008 applied to.
- Copies of all correspondence received in fiscal years 2006, 2007, and 2008 indicating that the City was delinquent in its health insurance payments. (including the termination notice).
- A copy of the temporary emergency appropriation request referred to by Director England in the newspaper and to Ch. 12 News.
In addition, we call on the Roberts Administration to provide the following:
- All of the above mentioned requests for SFY 2004 and 2005.
- Copy of the document that Mayor Roberts briefly showed Council members at the May 21st meeting, but did not provide.
It appears that the health benefits of Hoboken’s City employees were put at risk simply to cover up the budget manipulation that has been ongoing. This Council and the citizens of Hoboken are entitled to complete information as to what has transpired. If there was wrongdoing, those responsible must be held accountable. Finally, we must make sure that we establish a fully transparent budgeting process so that this situation never occurs again.