Zimmer Names More Directors
P.M. UPDATE: Click here to see the resumes of Forbes, Pellegrini and Sacs – which were posted to the city website a few hours after this entry was published.
Pellegrini and Forbes named
Controversy is growing over Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s choices for top positions at City Hall. On Friday afternoon, Zimmer put out a short press release announcing the hiring of Leo Pellegrini for Health and Human Services Director and Brandy Forbes for Community Development Director.
The late notice (a classic political maneuver) forced the local rags to print the propaganda verbatim with no time for follow-up. Just as 411 did when former Mayors Cammarano and Roberts named Directors, we all collectively like to take the time to get the real “story behind the story” on said choices.
To help get you that story – a formal request was made to Zimmer, her confidential Aide Dan Bryan, and the city’s two existing Public Information Officers for the resumes of the Directors Zimmer just put on the Payroll. This was the response I got from Bryan, who was working late Friday night:
“Due to the sensitive nature of the process, we won’t be able to post the directors’ resumes until the separation process is complete (some companies do not want their names to be published before an employee leaves).
All members of the City Council have received Mr. Pellegrini’s resume and Ms. Forbes’ resume for review. At the appropriate time, we will post them on the City website.”– Dan Bryan
This response surprised me, but not the confidential sources who often weigh in with me when political news breaks.
Why hide the director resumes?
In July, Peter Cammarano posted the resumes of all his Director choices on the City website for everyone to see and consider ahead of what was scheduled to be a public vote by the City Council on July 22nd. City Council President Dawn Zimmer postponed a vote on the Directors, instead calling for a “public vetting,” including congressional hearing-style Q & A between the council and director designates. Zimmer said that would be a “more public” process. Cammarano didn’t care because State Fiscal Monitor Judy Tripodi had already approved their hiring and salaries.
411 to City Hall: release the resumes
In response to Bryan’s email I’ve sent the following:
“Thank you for your response. I’m afraid I find it puzzling and at odds with the concept of transparency. You wrote:
“Due to the sensitive nature of the process, we won’t be able to post the directors’ resumes until the separation process is complete (some companies do not want their names to be published before an employee leaves).”
How does this make sense when you’ve already publicly identified the current employers of Mr. Pellegrini and Ms. Forbes in your press release? You published the names of UBS (for Mr. Pellegrini) and the Township of Edison (for Ms. Forbes). I fail to see how releasing their resumes for the public to see would compromise them in any way. I also note the resumes for the former Mayor’s directors were posted on the city website before a vote was made by the City Council, so there is precedence here.
I hope you agree that keeping this information from public view will only serve to call the transparency of these appointments into question and will reconsider your decision not to provide this information immediately.
I’ll let you know here if I get a response from City Hall.
More to come…
In the meantime, I have been doing other checking on Pellegrini, Forbes and Parking Utility Director Designate Ian Sacs, and will be posting the results of my digging before the Council Meeting on Wednesday. Here are a couple of nuggets to chew on before you get the whole story:
- Yes, Pellegrini is a Born and Raised Hoboken guy with long and strong ties to the Russo family. There is no dispute.
- No, Forbes does not appear to be anywhere near as qualified as Todd Poole, or (gasp) even Fred Bado – and Zimmer passed over at least one more highly qualified person who actually lives in Hoboken (Forbes does not).
- Finally, if you have a car in Hoboken – prepare to pay a lot more to keep it here under the reign of Sacs. Full details to come.
A quick shout out to the parents of the Hoboken Youth Soccer League: I will continue to take your confidential comments about Mr. Pellegrini’s management style. The more people who drop me tips the more likely I will be able to publish your information. Just email Hoboken411 today.