Breaking: Special Meeting Canceled!
That special meeting you read about in today’s Breakfast Nuggets for Council President Dawn Zimmer to review the Director appointments of Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer has suddenly been canceled. Word of the cancellation was spread through the official city Twitter feed with no further explanation on the city website. The cancellation came minutes after Councilwoman Beth Mason sent this statement to the press:
Mason: Cancel Tuesday Night’s Special ‘Rubber-Stamp’ Meeting, Suspend Appointments Until After Election
(Hoboken, N.J.) — Mayoral candidate and Second Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason today called for Acting Mayor/Council President Dawn Zimmer to cancel Tuesday’s special meeting called by Zimmer, at which the Acting Mayor plans to push ahead with two appointments to run major city departments. The acting mayor also plans on making a third director’s appointment of her choosing at Wednesday’s regularly scheduled city council meeting.
“The acting mayor should not be making lame duck appointments that will bind the city to contracts that will last for four years,” said Mason. “Tuesday’s meeting should be canceled and no further appointments should be made until the people have elected a mayor on November 3.” Mason said she is troubled, not only by Zimmer’s abuse of her dual office holding power, but also by the lack of transparency in the hiring process, which could bind the city to contracts worth more than $1.2 million.
“The lack of transparency in this hiring process has been staggering. The council was never presented with a choice of candidates and there was no public hearing on their qualifications,” said Mason. “Meanwhile, the public and the media were not given the legally mandated 48-hour notice to comply with the Open Public Meetings Act.”
Mason went on to challenge Zimmer’s position that the meeting is necessary because the potential department heads might find other employment. “The notion that these people are so highly in demand, in an economy with a 10 percent unemployment rate, is laughable,” said Mason. “The reality is that Councilwoman Zimmer is looking to reward political backers with contracts and is attempting to put her stamp on the mayoralty when she has, in fact, not been elected by the people to that office.”
“Appointments of directors should be an open, deliberative process that allows the council to consider more than one candidate for the job,” added Mason. “Where are the other applicants for these positions? Where are the other candidates’ resumes? Are these the most qualified people for the job in the entire country, or were they names pulled out of a hat?”
Dave Carty asks “Where’s the transparency Dawn?” after the jump…
(Special Council Meeting Canceled, continued…)
Mason’s campaign co-chair Dave Carty questioned the urgency of the appointments when there are so many other important issues facing the city.
“Why are these appointments being considered at a last-minute special meeting in a conference room with little notice given to the public?” asked Carty.
“As a concerned resident of Hoboken, I find the Mayor/Council President’s closed hiring practice extremely troubling,” said Carty. “Where’s the vetting process? Where’s the open government? It’s not right that the same person who has the power to nominate these people also has the power to call a special meeting, and then vote on those same appointments. This cuts straight to the heart of why it’s an extreme conflict of interest for Dawn Zimmer to be both mayor and city council president, even for a short period of time. This is why it’s wrong for her to hold both jobs – plain and simple, for everyone to see.”
“Apparently, Ms Zimmer is continuing the failed policies of the past,” added Carty. “She is not bringing transparency and openness to Hoboken as she promised.” Mason compared the hurried process of Zimmer’s hiring of directors, each of whom will earn more than $100,000 a year plus benefits, with Zimmer’s long, drawn out process to appoint volunteers to the City Housing Authority.
“To fill the housing authority’s volunteer position, Zimmer put 12 residents who were interested in helping their community through a long, arduous, public vetting process. But for important, high paid positions, she has chosen a completely closed, hurried hiring process that could leave us with political cronies of the acting mayor and council president running crucial city departments for the next four years,” said Mason. “This is another example of Dawn Zimmer’s situational ethics – transparency and open government are important to her, except when they are not.”
So if you were trying to figure out whether to go to Kim Glatt’s campaign kickoff or this Special Meeting, your choice just got easier.
What do you think of Zimmer’s properly notice the meeting and have a large room available for the crowd? How about Mason and Carty’s comments? Feel free as always to comment below…