Hoboken Layoffs Lead to Lawsuits
Hoboken411 Exclusive: Did Zimmer commit perjury?
On January 3rd of this year, more taxpayer money was spent on legal fees when the Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer testified for several hours in the case of William Campbell v. The City of Hoboken. Campbell alleges that Zimmer fired him to make way for her political water
boys guns, Dan Bryan and Juan Melli.
Hoboken411 has received a copy of Hoboken Mayor Stawn Zimmer’s testimony and it appears the Mayor may have committed perjury.
For a former photographer, Zimmer seemed very uncomfortable being on camera. Perhaps Zimmer is only comfortable when she is behind the camera waving a rubber duck and saying “smile.” Zimmer also appeared to be suffering from amnesia repeatedly answering “I don’t recall,” “I don’t know,” and “I don’t remember.” Maybe this is why we’ve never hear a word about her the specific plan to cut property taxes 25% that she promised during her run for office?
Zimmer claims ignorance; Documents suggest otherwise
The possibility of perjury takes place when Zimmer is unable to recall who was behind the illegal Political Action Committee (PAC) named Move Hoboken Ahead that funded her city council candidates’ campaigns in May 2011. Mayor Zimmer claims that she did not know who was behind the PAC (begins at 3:30:28 in the video above). There are several damning pieces of evidence that suggest that the Mayor may very well have been lying through her teeth.
First and foremost, the Chairman of Move Hoboken Ahead is Andrew Moss. The same Andrew Moss who is the treasurer for Zimmer’s personal campaign account Zimmer for Mayor. The was pointed out several times during the city council campaigns and one candidate even filed a complaint against Zimmer for her use of this illegal PAC.
In addition, Zimmer hosted a fundraiser for the PAC and City Council candidates in her own home on March 17, 2011. In fact, Zimmer sent out a blast email to supporters asking them to attend the fundraiser at her home. In the email, Zimmer suggests that donors contribute $250 towards her teams “city wide effort.” Soon after, Move Hoboken Ahead sent out several city wide mailers which had pictures of Zimmer and her signature and feature the same green and yellow colors as Zimmer’s Mayoral campaign mailers.
Last but not least, Hoboken’s worst man Stan Grossbard is listed on Move Hoboken Ahead’s ELEC reports for contributing $650 to pay for the event! Is everyone supposed to believe the Mayor hosted a fundraiser at her home that her husband paid for, but 8 months later doesn’t recall who is behind the illegal PAC?
The truth is Zimmer just doesn’t want you to know she and her husband are behind it.
Zimmer has a long history of being able to twist the truth and get away with it. To date, she has even got away with stonewalling the investigation into Dan Bryan’s and Juan Melli’s political activities while being compensated by the taxpayers. But this time it appears Zimmer went too far in trying to cover up how her administration uses taxpayers’ money for political purposes.
Hoboken411 wonders if Campbell’s attorney Catherine Elston will not only call the Mayor out on her false testimony when the Mayor appears in court again on February 9th but also ask for her to be charged with perjury.
What are the odds the Mayor settles the lawsuit and gives Campbell his job back before that can happen?
More on this case and how it may have led to the resignation of Business Administrator Arch Liston later this week…
Hoboken sued by former employee Bill Campbell; Zimmer testifies
Last year, former Hoboken Public Information Officer Bill Campbell was laid off by Dawn Zimmer as part of the cost-reduction plan that was hastily pushed through for political purposes.
Campbell quickly filed suit against Hoboken, citing several precedents and state law indicating he was wrongfully terminated (especially since Zimmer puppet Juan Melli holds Campbell’s old position, despite lack of seniority, etc.)
Zimmer was in court yesterday for the second time (the first time was back in November 2011).
The testimony from Mayor Zimmer from the first hearing in November was quite interesting – and the inspiration for the graphic below. If you get through it, you’ll realize the Mayor around here doesn’t know or do much at all. In her words, a year was “a long time ago,” and has practically no recollection about one of the most hotly contested and debated events in recent Hoboken history.
Will update this story with the latest testimony in about two weeks…
Police Layoffs postponed
Under tremendous pressure, Mayor Zimmer calls off layoffs to Police Officers.
Layoffs of other city hall employees will proceed today as scheduled. Other police layoffs and demotions of superior officers will be postponed until December 2nd (i.e., “kicking the can down the road” – after election time).
As expected, the city press release only reports the news in a way that reflects positive actions by the administration. Several officers indicated that the math doesn’t add up – and that the “additional officers assigned to patrol the streets” will result in cuts in other crucial areas of the department. This may cause the department to become more “reactive” than “proactive” in town.
Assemblyman Ramos opposes Zimmer layoff decision
“Made in haste…”
NJ State Assemblyman Ruben J. Ramos, Jr. sent the following letter this morning to Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer opposing her decision to layoff municipal police officers:
As you know, the announcement of the prospective police layoffs in the City of Hoboken has generated much news in recent weeks. It is my contention that the debate regarding this matter has been fueled by both politics and emotions. My purpose for writing letter is practical, as I wish to convey my opposition to the proposed layoffs in hopes of achieving a result that will better serve our residents.
There comes a time in every official’s life when some of the hardest decisions must be made. Often these decisions pit self-interest against providing for the greater good. Unfortunately, such decisions cannot be taken lightly or in vain. Every decision has its consequences and ramifications. I must commend you for your tough stance on this issue, as I know this is not a decision any executive wants to make. However, I fear this decision may have been made in haste.
First, it is important to convey that the City of Hoboken has compiled a surplus, making these cuts to the police force completely unnecessary. These layoffs cannot be justified by a fiscal emergency.
It is also important to note that the federal government has just conducted a census. It is evident that the population of Hoboken has increased in the past 10 years, thereby negating any suggestions made by recent studies or reports that suggest it would be suitable to reduce the current complement of officers. Discussions on a reduction in the police force should never have been entertained until after results from the census have been compiled and reviewed.
Furthermore, Hoboken is a unique municipality with regard to its proximity to both inter-state tunnels as well as public transportation hubs. This significantly increases the fluctuating population within city limits at any given time. Such a fluctuation in population must be taken into account when discussing the size of the police force.
Undoubtedly, Hoboken has become a popular destination for numerous urban professionals and families who’ve relocated here from other parts of the country, let alone with State. Hoboken has truly emerged as part of the great metropolis. We are fortunate enough to be situated in close proximity to New York City, just as we are proud of our waterfront, thriving arts community and local business district.
However, for any of our residents to enjoy the above listed attributes, we must first prove that Hoboken is able to keep its residents safe. Hoboken has earned a reputation as an urban destination. The proposed reduction in police force would make living and visiting Hoboken a tough sell to the thousands of people that live here now and those hopeful, prospective residents. Additionally, it would be difficult to tell the numerous pedestrians and avid runners who enjoy walking or running through our quaint streets or waterfront that local neighborhoods will have a reduced police presence.
Popular sentiment has articulated that police layoffs are not desired by the citizens of Hoboken. As a New Jersey State Assemblyman, I cannot stand by idly and watch this debate any further. I feel compelled and obligated to amplify the sentiment of the people of Hoboken.
As stated in the opening of this correspondence, my aim for writing was practical. Consequently, I encourage you to maintain discussion with both the Police Chief and representatives of the police union in order to work for the well being of our residents.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Very Truly Yours,
Ruben J. Ramos, Jr.
Assemblyman, 33rd District
New Jersey Legislature
Assemblyman Ramos represents the 33rd Legislative District, which includes Union City, Hoboken, West New York, Weehawken, Guttenberg, and parts of Jersey City.
Hoboken Prepares to fire Female Uniformed Officer
9/14/2010 Video Update:
The Hoboken PBA issued another press release and video regarding the upcoming police layoffs this month:
“Mayor Dawn Zimmer wants to fire Hoboken Police Officer Christine Collins, one the department’s only female uniformed police officers who was born and raised in Hoboken.
Currently Mayor Zimmer is planning to eliminate 37 police positions. In addition to the outright firing of 18 police officers, Zimmer’s Layoff Plan also calls for demoting 19 superior officers – the overwhelming majority of whom currently work street duty. Zimmer is prepared to go ahead with these layoffs and demotions despite the fact that the City of Hoboken has a $20 million budget surplus.”
Hoboken Prepares to Lay-off Iraqi War Veteran
The Hoboken PBA issued this press release and video regarding the upcoming police layoffs this month:
“Mayor Dawn Zimmer wants to fire Hoboken Police Officer Josue ‘Josh’ Velez, a US Army Veteran who served as a specialist in Iraq from July 2009 to June 26, 2010.
Currently Mayor Zimmer is planning to eliminate 37 police positions. In addition to the outright firing of 18 police officers, Zimmer’s Layoff Plan also calls for demoting 19 superior officers – the overwhelming majority of whom currently work street duty. Zimmer is prepared to go ahead with these layoffs and demotions despite the fact that the City of Hoboken has a $20 million budget surplus.
“Firing and demoting 37 police officers at a time when the city has a record budget surplus is foolish and completely unnecessary,” said Hoboken PBA President Vince Lombardi. “Firing this young officer, who just returned from serving his country, is an outrageous betrayal and an unconscionable act by Mayor Zimmer.”
Hoboken PBA hitting TV airwaves
In response to the impending layoffs that Mayor Dawn Zimmer wants – the Hoboken PBA has begun airing the following commercial on television. You can also see more at the website they’ve set up recently: www.keephobokensafe.com.
Hoboken PBA President Vince Lombardi sent out this statement regarding Mayor Dawn Zimmer, and the plan to layoff and demote Police Officers in the Mile Square.
PBA Prez Attacks Zimmers Credibility on Public Safety Cuts
“Mayor Zimmer issued another statement claiming that she is ‘working to finalize a redeployment plan to ensure that there is no reduction in the number of officers patrolling our streets’ regarding her plan to slash 37 jobs from the Hoboken Police Department. I was appalled and disgusted to read this.
The Mayor’s plan will have a devastating impact on the City of Hoboken. For her to claim that she can cut 37 police jobs and have no impact on manpower and presence is an outrageous statement and an outright lie. You cannot fire 18 police officers and demote 19 others without jeopardizing the safety of the people of Hoboken and dramatically decreasing the department’s capabilities.
The Mayor’s plan is ridiculous in light of the city’s recently discovered $20 million budget surplus. She has less credibility talking about the public’s safety in Hoboken than George W. Bush had in talking about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Mayor Zimmer is now ‘inviting the police unions to join and have a voice in these discussions’ in a meeting at her office on Monday. We have no intention of cooperating with this obvious media publicity stunt. We will not allow our membership to be abused in this egregious manner. Any further discussion of the city’s layoff plan is absurd and we will not be a part of this nonsense.
We again call upon Mayor Zimmer and the city council to rescind their layoff plan and stop playing politics with the safety of the City of Hoboken.”
Hoboken Police try to educate more of the public
The members or the Hoboken Police Department and associated Unions are frustrated about what they feel is City Hall “Spin” and failure to address the “facts” that have been presented to them.
So much so – that they’ve prepared an informational flier that is now in the process of being disseminated (by the thousands) to the public.
The “fact” bullets continue – outlining the hypocritical raises that were handed out to friends of the Mayor – despite supposed budgetary constraints, the massive city budget surplus, the minimal effect these layoffs will have financially, and Zimmer’s refusal to address the rebuttal report in any way, shape or form:
City hall leaks layoff information before employees notified
In what Hoboken PBA Union President Vince Lombardi calls a purposeful tactic, information about which positions were getting terminated at city hall was leaked to the web last week. And in response, a verbose “apology letter” was quickly released by Mayor Dawn Zimmer.
Lombardi offered his commentary yesterday, saying Zimmer’s letter was disingenuous – and that with a nearly $20 million dollar budgetary surplus – eliminating police from Hoboken streets is wrong.
See video below.
Senate passes bill to save police jobs
The senate passed a bill today, and if approved by President Obama next week, would provide $26 billion dollars in funding that localities could use to help offset budget problems, and possibly save the jobs of teachers and policemen. The billions approved, apparently have no effect on the current skyrocketing federal budget deficit because they attained the money via “spending cuts” and higher taxes for some corporations (i.e., distribution of wealth, etc.).
“The bill would help states and local school boards deal with severe budget problems. It would preserve the jobs of perhaps 300,000 public employees across the country by extending programs in last year’s stimulus law.”
Whether this has any effect on Hoboken’s dealings with the police department remains to be seen.
Hoboken Police Unions Respond To Layoff and Demotion Plan
Poke holes in Zimmer data; offer 17 counter-points
D.B.Ross, Jr., Esq., attorney for the Hoboken PBA and PSOA, has issued a statement of position regarding the proposed layoffs and demotions in the Hoboken Police Department. It is essential that the residents, taxpayers, local business people and city officials fully understand the facts before the lives of 37 police officers are irreparably altered and the level of police services is substantially reduced. At the center of this matter of vital importance to Hoboken is the true motivation of the City – is it fiscal responsibility or animosity toward the police department?
The Hoboken Policemen’s Benevolent Association and Police Superior Officers’ Association urge every resident, taxpayer, local business person and city official to give careful consideration to the following:
1) If there are 19 demotions, the City may save $220,000 and 18 layoffs may save $990,000 in salary and benefits for a total of $1.21 million. That’s a $75 per year savings for each of the City’s 16,000 taxpayers. That equates to approximately $1.50 per week. If this cut in policing causes a crime increase, property values will decline much more than $75. Some who would destroy the department made claims on their websites earlier this year that the police demotions would save $5.2 million. That is simply not true. As stated, the fact is that the savings would approximate only $220,000.
2) The Mayor has asserted since her first mayoral campaign in the Spring of 2009 that demotions would take police officers away from their desks and put them on the streets. She has further represented that layoffs and demotions will not reduce the numbers of officers patrolling the streets. It must be observed that 15 of the 19 officers being demoted perform their supervisory duties on the streets while on patrol. Only 4 of the 19 are in administrative/staff positions. Laying off 18 officers and possibly putting four more officers on the streets is still a NET LOSS of 14 officers working on the streets of Hoboken.
3) The ratio of patrol officers to supervisors is a subject that has been grossly misreported during recent years. Patrol to supervisor ratios are tabulated by calculating first line supervisors to patrol officers. Administrators, managers and other upper level supervisors are excluded from these ratios.. For example, the Chief does not supervise the dispatchers. An Army General does not supervise those who recently completed basic training. A CEO in a company does not supervise the mailroom. We have 97 patrolmen and 30 sergeants which is a 3.3 to 1 ratio. The table of organization calls for 120 patrol officers and 30 sergeants. That is a 4 to 1 ratio. Every police administration book suggests anywhere from a 3 to 5 officer to 1 supervisor ratio. We are well within that range. However, the Mayor and Director Alicea insist on suggesting that we have a 2 to 1 ratio number. This is obviously intended to rally residents against us. Alicea went further and commented online that they are following the police audit’s recommendation of a 4 to 1 ratio. That is simply and undeniably false. The City’s audit calls for 60 patrol officers and 26 sergeants–a 2.2 to 1 ratio. Based on that premise, the auditor, former Maplewood Chief Richardella is lowering our ratio, which means he concluded that the department is not “top heavy.”
4) On the same day that Mayor Zimmer announced layoffs, spokesman Juan Melli received a $15,000 raise and Mayoral Aide Daniel Bryan received a $12,000 raise. (see Hoboken411 Story Here)
5) Hoboken’s Parking Utilities have been hiring new employees regularly and ordering expensive equipment while the police department has suffered cuts to offset those costs. Where are the City’s priorities?
6) Attrition brings a gradual decline in staffing numbers so that there is no sudden impact on the level of public safety. If the City’s plan is implemented 37 officers will be laid off or demoted. In short, 24% of the department will be affected by the cuts.
7) The Memorandum of Agreement which was negotiated with and approved by the State Fiscal Monitor after more than two years of difficult but good faith negotiations would have resulted in 9 givebacks, including a change in healthcare coverage, change in prescription coverage, a reduction in salary differentials at the supervisory and managerial levels, and elimination of many days off. These changes would have saved the City nearly a million dollars per year. Why did the mayor and REVOLT so vigorously oppose an agreement that was settled with a state monitor? One can only conclude that they were motivated by a lack of knowledge and animosity towards the police. So here we sit nearly a year later in binding interest arbitration, creating more legal costs for the taxpayers, an agreement that will not be concluded for another year or two, facing 4 to 5 years worth of retroactive payments, no changes in healthcare, and 37 officers being cut instead. Again, where are the City’s priorities?
8 ) We understand that the Rockefeller group has been trying to make contact with the Mayor since November without a response. Their development would likely bring an additional $9 million dollars in
tax revenue to Hoboken. It appears that Rockefeller was compelled to go to the media due to the lack of response by Mayor Zimmer.
9) The St. Patrick’s Day Parade and 4th of July were events in which our officers acted professionally and proficiently. There has not been to this date one note of recognition by the Mayor. Both days
resulted in incidents where the HPD was forced to request more than 50 officers for mutual aid because there were insufficient HPD personnel working due to budget cuts. On St. Patrick’s Parade Day, HPD officers issued over $300,000 worth of fines that have been collected to date, with many cases still not resolved. The combined total cost for police overtime was $150,000.
10) The Hoboken population appears to far exceed the 38,000 reported in the 2000 Census. There are 28,000 residential units in the city and few would conclude that the ratio is less than 1.5 persons per unit. There are 16,000 property owners. Also, there are 130,000 commuters daily when considering all modes of transportation through the City.
11) Again, if the plan is implemented, our total number of officers will go from 153 to 135. We were at 185 six years ago, which helped the department to reduce our violent crime index and to operate our
specialized units such as community policing, school resource officers, anti-crime units, traffic bureau, housing bureau, P.A.L., and bike patrol unit just to name a few. We may be headed to a level that is 27% lower than in the early 2000s. It ignores reality to think that service levels will not suffer when such draconian cuts are made.
12) The Public safety Committee Chairman is Mr. Ravi Bhalla. Since assuming that position, he has never met with any police union official.
13) Juan Melli states in the Hoboken Reporter that he disputes PBA President Lombardi’s comments because we have to understand that the city is “a hard-working family and tough choices had to be made.” We suppose that it was an equally tough choice for him to accept a $15,000 raise during thesame week.
14) The police audit calls for the elimination of the Public Safety Director’s position. That has yet to occur and we doubt that it will ever occur.
15) Have City officials and certain residents chosen to ignore the violent crime indices of Jersey City and Union City as compared with Hoboken? While Jersey City and Union City hire more cops (which
may have the effect of displacing crime because it can never be eliminated), the city that boarders to the east, north and south of those cities (Hoboken) is cutting police. Is this really in the best interest of Hoboken’s residents and taxpayers?
16) The HPD has confronted a difficult public perception problem due to the SWAT/Hooters case. That incident occurred five years ago and the two people held responsible for the incident are no longer with the department. It is time for members of the administration and a certain few members of the public to move on and move away from their anti-police agenda.
17) On Wednesday, July 14, 2010, the PBA presented each member of the City Council with its own professional analysis from Northeast Labor Consultants which clearly points out many factual data errors, miscalculations and omissions in the state audit. It appears that the Mayor, City Council members, Business Administrator, Public Safety Director and Chairman of the Public Safety Committee Bhalla have purposely and deliberately ignored the PBA expert’s findings and recommendations. At the council meeting, PBA Present Lombardi pleaded with the council members and the mayor to read the report and contact him with any questions or concerns. This has not happened. It is becoming apparent that the Mayor will proceed with police layoffs and demotions, regardless of what actual factual data is presented to her. As Mr. Lombardi has stated, “cuts are what she wants, but not what the city needs.” The PBA and PSOA are convinced that these actions were motivated by personal and political animosity toward the police unions and their members – not by fiscal necessity.
Lombardi: Many flaws in Police Audit
Earlier this year, the City released an audit of the Hoboken Police Department which was prepared by the NJ Division of Local Government Services (DLGS).
Among its many findings, recommendations we made to cut police staff by nearly 40.
Hoboken PBA Local No. 2 President Vince Lombardi said “The release of this report and its findings resulted in an immediate public and political backlash aimed at the police department and its dedicated members of service” and that it contained “many faulty and misleading data copulations and financial cost savings or wasteful spending conclusions.”
Lombardi, concerned by the inaccuracy of the DLGS report, felt that city officials and members of the public needed and deserved a “proper and accurate report analysis of the HPD and its rank and file officers,” and hired a professional consulting firm to analyze and rebut the original report.
As “a strong advocate of government transparency,” Lombardi also provided the city administration, as well as other media outlets copies of the report so that members of the public could review and compare it to the DLGS report. In comparison, Lombardi felt the recommendations to cut officers were “outright ludicrous and disastrous to safe and effective policing” of Hoboken.
Below is a copy of the 153 page report prepared by Northeast Labor Consultants. Click it to read full screen.
Note that this document is not available on the city website or any other site at this time. However, perusing the city website, you can see how Mayor Zimmer congratulates a softball team, and how Hertz on Demand Connect has 200 customers, but only one parking permit has been turned in so far.
Signed PBA and PSOA deal terms unveiled…
…but sure to be rejected
City Council President Peter Cunningham has directed the public release of the contract deals struck by Fiscal Monitor Judy Tripodi with two Police unions. The Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the PBA and PSOA bargaining units will set the pattern for negotiations with all the city’s unions. They include givebacks in the areas of health care benefits, prescription drug co-pays, vacation time off, and limits to amount of days off that can be “banked” for payout later. In exchange for several changes to policy the Fiscal Monitor says will save money for years to come, the unions negotiated raises in each of the years of the contract.
Working without contract since January 1, 2008
The MOUs cover contracts that – if approved – would run from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2011. Tripodi signed the deals back in January after two years of negotiations. Last month former Finance Director Nick Trasente asked the Council to approve $2 million to fund retroactive raises attached to the MOU. The council rejected that request. At that time Trasente was selling a budget that he claimed included an 8% tax cut, sharply less than the 25% tax cut guaranteed by Mayor Zimmer and her three successful City Council candidates.
Last week that proposed tax cut was whittled down to 0.5%, essentially nothing at all. Some would even claim a 0.000001% tax cut is a tax cut, and enough to declare a “Victory” for the Zimmer team. If they had to pay the $2 million in back pay now they couldn’t even sell that. It would immediately impact this year’s budget, pushing it to $100 million for a second year.
Fiscal prudence, or delaying the inevitable?
If the council doesn’t support the MOUs, they’ll place the negotiated concessions in jeopardy and run the risk of onerous binding arbitration. Releasing the MOUs now is designed to give the Zimmer majority cover to vote against the agreements, putting off any contract agreements well beyond this fiscal year. The last contracts under Former Mayor Dave Roberts were signed days before they expired. Whatever they do, the unions will get raises, and they city will be forced to pay retroactively.
Why vote to reject the MOUs this week?
Cunningham and Zimmer’s move to put the MOUs on the agenda this week serves two purposes. First, it takes the attention away from the fact that their final budget – also up for a vote on Wednesday – has no tax relief when they promised a 25% tax cut. It’s a diversionary tactic.
Second, it gives Zimmer’s friends in the REVOLT organization something to “rally” against. Despite their claims of objectivity, the majority of REVOLT Steering Committee members have been public supporters of Zimmer and her council candidates. Several have also been given public appointments by Zimmer, so they won’t be arranging any more rallies to protest the lack of tax relief in the her budget. Instead, they’ll be able to publicly declare their outrage over the MOUs.
What’s in the MOUs?
Take a look at the documents yourself below.
3.9% raises would be given retroactively for 2008 and 2009, with 2.3% raises in 2010 and 2011. The longer the contracts remain unresolved, the more retroactive pay will pile up to be paid once a contract is signed. The city could also easily spend hundreds of thousands of dollars more on labor counsel attorneys if the MOUs are rejected.
Whether the city pays now or pays later, all the Zimmer council may be thinking about now is how to avoid the embarrassment of a greater tax increase this year. Putting off these contract settlements kicks that can down the road.
- Memorandum of Understanding Between The City of Hoboken and Hoboken PSOA
- Memorandum of Understanding Between The City of Hoboken and Hoboken PBA Local 2
More certainly to come on this debacle in the months to come!