Outrage grows over Zimmer raises

8/4/2010:

Zimmer gives staff raises, but wants Cops fired

How would you like a 31% annual raise? Does a 25% salary bump after only three months on the job sound good to you?

That’s what Mayor Dawn Zimmer gave two of her spokesmen the same week she announced a plan to lay off 36 other workers. 18 of those layoffs are Police Officers, and news of the big raises for her staff was included in the police unions’ response to the layoff plan. Following these revelations, the Mayor’s claim that she is, “Extremely, extremely concerned about the budget” looks pretty silly to many people Hoboken411 has heard from.

Zimmer responds to widespread backlash

Nearly a year ago when Zimmer hired 25-year old Dan Bryan to be her “Confidential Aide” we told you his salary wouldn’t be kept at $35,000 for long. In fact, Hoboken411 predicted there would be a big raise in his future when nobody was watching. Hiring Bryan put an energetic campaign worker on the city payroll. For a while he served as Zimmer’s spokesman, but now he’s essentially the Mayor’s gopher. That’s why comments like this from Zimmer are quite frankly deceitful:

“Dan Bryan, my confidential aide, who essentially performs the functions of a chief of staff, received a raise from $35,000 to $46,100. The individual who held the chief of staff position previously for the prior Administration was paid $125,000.”

– Dawn Zimmer

How can Dan Bryan be a “Chief” of staff when one has no legal authority or power to direct staff whatsoever as part of his “confidential aide” job title? The chief of staff position proposed by the prior administration would have placed all city Directors as direct reports to the Chief of Staff in lieu of a Business Administrator. Says one City Hall critic, “It’s disingenuous and deliberately misleading of Zimmer to mix these apples and oranges. Joe Garcia was a highly qualified attorney who was going to run the city day-to-day. Dan runs to get Dawn her lunch.”

Dan Bryan does not run the City of Hoboken. He doesn’t give orders. He is NOT a Chief of Staff. Anybody who watched The West Wing would know this, and if Dawn Zimmer had spent more than a few, non-management-level years in the private sector before marrying into an affluent diamond family, she would understand this as well.

The Mayor’s Tweeter gets a 25% raise

Juan Melli first started cashing Hoboken taxpayer checks at the end of last winter when he received an open-ended contract from Zimmer to handle “New Media.” He was paid $15,000 to set up and administer the city’s Twitter account and turn the official city website into what looks like the Mayor’s MySpace page. This contract was awarded quietly while Zimmer went back on her promise “To cut taxes 25% in the first year alone!” and was not submitted for City Council approval.

Melli was hired in the middle of May at a salary of $60,000 a year. As layoff announcements were made, Zimmer quietly bumped Melli up to $75,000. Her explanation?

“Mr. Melli did not receive a raise, but agreed to work for a lower salary than initially agreed upon until the end of the fiscal year because of Hoboken’s budgetary constraints.”

– Dawn Zimmer

So, let’s get this straight. Melli was hired at $60k but three months later makes $75k and that’s not considered “a raise” by this Mayor? If you got a $15k bump, would you think you got “a raise?” In response to this comment one city taxpayer told Hoboken411, “How have Hoboken’s budgetary constraints changed since the end of the fiscal year? She’s laying people off to make room in her budget to give her buddies raises!”

Zimmer continues, “Mr. Melli’s new media expertise saves the city from having to outsource for web site management.” So, if Melli was not plastering Zimmer’s face all over the city web site (and coordinating with mayoral groupies online), Zimmer would have outsourced that job? Not even Dave Roberts did that!

Who is Juan Melli? How did he become an employee?

Melli’s job is to make a majority of Hoboken voters think Dawn Zimmer can spin gold out of straw. His official title is “Public Information Officer” (one of two the city employs) – but his real job is Chief Spinmeister, both online and off. Melli is best known as the founder of the “Blue Jersey” Democratic blog website. The 29-year old parlayed that accomplishment into the hearts of many state Democratic party players (see picture below).

Melli holds a Doctorate in mechanical and aerospace engineering, but has instead decided to get into the political consulting business. Melli served as “Director of New Media” for Governor Jon Corzine’s 2009 re-election campaign and claims to be the first to use text messaging in a New Jersey political campaign. Corzine lost anyway. Zimmer apparently met Melli when they were both advocating for Bike Lanes in Hoboken. He has no prior experience in the field of “Public Information,” but has spent quite a lot of time blogging for politicians.

Take a look at what his consulting firm does, and ask if you think Hoboken taxpayers should be footing the bill so Zimmer can reap the benefits from it.

The Bottom Line

This story is not meant to be an opportunity to pick on Dan Bryan or Juan Melli. They are both hired guns just doing the tax-payer funded job their boss – Mayor Dawn Zimmer – wants them to do for her. This isn’t personal, and everyone I’ve spoken with actually speaks highly of both Bryan and Melli, who both live in Hoboken. There’s no doubt there are some real screwy characters attached to this Mayor, but these two don’t appear to be in that category.

This story is about decisions made by Dawn Zimmer to hand massive raises out to those who are paid to do her dirty work – while 36 other employees are waiting to hear if they will be fired due to “budget cuts.”

What do you think? Comment below.

(and see Police Union letter here)

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40 Comments on "Outrage grows over Zimmer raises"


Member
5 years 6 months ago

So we are talking about $26,100 in raises to staff vs reducing pay of $2.5 million to cops? Yet the cops wrote: “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.” 1.21 million divided by 16,000 taxpayers = $75.625 per taxpayer 75.625 / 52 weeks in a year = 1.45 each With the 26,100 raises, lets do the same math. 26,100 divided by… Read more »

Member
Hoboken007
5 years 6 months ago

Hah, this is some great perspective Furey. Seriously, this is no big deal, why all the attention?[quote comment=”195471″]So we are talking about $26,100 in raises to staff vs reducing pay of $2.5 million to cops?Yet the cops wrote: “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.” 1.21 million divided by 16,000 taxpayers = $75.625 per taxpayer 75.625 / 52 weeks in a… Read more »

Member
spiffy
5 years 6 months ago

On the flipside, Furey and Hoboken007 if it’s not a big deal whether its a dollar a week for cops or three cents for raises, then why do they need to fire the cops? That dollar and change would be of ZERO noticeable impact to you or anyone else. But it’s like someone saying “if you could donate a dollar a week to save the jobs and livelihoods of 36 local people in Hoboken, would you do it?” And you would refuse, saying “no, I need that dollar and change. It’s crucial to my quality of life.” Zimmer lovers. Only… Read more »

Member
The Waaambulance
5 years 6 months ago

I agree. Let them keep their raises. It’s not that much money. The cops should get to keep their jobs too. It’s not that much money. The city just bonded $12+ million for the water front inspection,and another $12+ million for the new pier that’s been set to open for 2 years, so what’s another $1.7 million in retrospect. It’s a drop in the hat. A lot less than the drop in property values if crime goes up. It’s hard to sell a condo as it is, but if the shootings that I hear about in Jersey City make their… Read more »

Member
wiskeytango1
5 years 6 months ago

waaaa bulance..Friend of mine had his condo accessed for 1.2 million..He said he cannot dump it for that price or lower than the fixed amount..Yes he is a yuppie but he has had it with the bull and lies..from all sides..Don’t worry about shootings,and dont blaim the project area alone..Caucasians are thieves as well..dont sterotype one ethnic group.These thieves survey the area for days before they make their move..The up side is they mostley do not harm the victims unless their druggies and are desperate if you catch them. Hoboken is not a utopia and not a nice town to… Read more »

Member
The Waaambulance
5 years 6 months ago

I mentioned a geographical area, not race, or gender, or social status. I read all the time about shooting and serious crime just outside the boarders of Hoboken. The town is like an oasis in a heated crime zone. People are getting chopped to pieces in Union City, shot and set on fire in Jersey City. Rapes and Robberies all around us. Sure, Hoboken harbors Russian Spys every now and then, but for the most part, by comparrison, the city is fairly safe. Does the administration want to risk it for such a small amout of money.[quote comment=”195556″]waaaa bulance..Friend of… Read more »

Member
wiskeytango1
5 years 6 months ago

i agree wambuu..Its just that some upperities pin a target on the project area..Im not from the projects and am a causasian.. from what I was told by pd is that many of these home owners,apt dwellers have partys which is normal..A guest may make a visual thought of the homeowners possessions..No thief that is a pro enters a home without firsthand knowledge..GEOGRAPHICAL AREA IS ANYWHERE.. again i agree with you but shame on the people that leave 3000.00 hanging around..how would anyone know..another trick is to put jewelery and cash in the freezer ..cold hard cash .excuse the pun.… Read more »

Member
wiskeytango1
5 years 6 months ago

waamb another theory is for a few tennents not to hear someone taking a 42″ ltd and a few lap tops out of an apt while asleep and a few were asleep may mean they where kind of hung over ..You have to hear something..i dont like pitbullls but you can bet no one would dare to enter a home with one of them man eaters in it. 😛 [quote comment=”195577″]i agree wambuu..Its just that some upperities pin a target on the project area..Im not from the projects and am a causasian.. from what I was told by pd is… Read more »

Member
wiskeytango1
5 years 6 months ago

wambo ..not to be sarcastic but if our late president jfk wasnt safe with body guards all around him how can john q citizen be safe??? chit happens.[quote comment=”195578″]waamb another theory is for a few tennents not to hear someone taking a 42″ ltd and a few lap tops out of an apt while asleep and a few were asleep may mean they where kind of hung over ..You have to hear something..i dont like pitbullls but you can bet no one would dare to enter a home with one of them man eaters in it. [/quote]

Member
bradykp
5 years 6 months ago

What does a city like Hoboken need a “Chief of Staff” or a “Confidential Aide” for either way? I mean, if the guys is doing a legitimate job for the city, then great – but what does he actually do – that’s what needs to be answered. H411 – is there a job description for this guy? Shouldn’t there be some sort of requirement that requires anyone paid with taxpayer dollars to be allowed to know the duties performed by an employee on a day-to-day basis? As for Melli – sounds like he maintains the city’s website and is in… Read more »

Member
HOB424
5 years 6 months ago

In addition to these great salaries. They are also eligible for the great benefits package the city offers. Plus the holiday schedule is more than they would get in the private sector.

Member
bradykp
5 years 6 months ago

yeah – all those banks that stay open on the federal holidays![quote comment=”195477″]In addition to these great salaries. They are also eligible for the great benefits package the city offers. Plus the holiday schedule is more than they would get in the private sector.[/quote]

Member
5 years 6 months ago

Great salaries? Try living here on $46,000 without the benefit of a cousin who knows a guy who can rent you a cheap place or put your name at the top of the list. You know like some of the usual suspects here. If you’re going to cite the private sector, you’re saying that you’ve never seen someone get the boot while another employee keeps their perks, gets bonuses or raises in spite of it? Agreed, she shouldn’t be handing out raises of any kind when people are being laid off, if for no other reason than it looks really… Read more »

Member
wiskeytango1
5 years 6 months ago

mel brooks movie history of the world part 1 and 11.. remember when he lifted up the bussle or gown in the court yard of a female ( its good to be the king) well its good to be the queen,, Even the president dosent have three aids 5 directors but in essense he is so moronic he needs them..Private sector martha stewert,berme mandoff,.Easy E it starts with 25 + but later it goes up..The best pkg utility director we ever had was jo anne.. at 70k …over 30 yrs..she was betrayed by jerkey roberts..for 30 pieces of silver meaning… Read more »

Member
5 years 6 months ago

The President doesn’t have directors, he has a cabinet, just like every other President before has had. They’re the same thing. http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/cabinet Is there anything else I can help you with today?[quote comment=”195497″]mel brooks movie history of the world part 1 and 11.. remember when he lifted up the bussle or gown in the court yard of a female ( its good to be the king) well its good to be the queen,, Even the president dosent have three aids 5 directors but in essense he is so moronic he needs them..Private sector martha stewert,berme mandoff,.Easy E it starts with… Read more »

Member
whineanddineinhob
5 years 6 months ago

There ARE salaried directors for the President which are on the white house staff and are not part of his cabinet such as Director of law enforcement, director of records and probably a few more if you’ve looked further. Glad to assist you[quote comment=”195499″]The President doesn’t have directors, he has a cabinet, just like every other President before has had. They’re the same thing.Is there anything else I can help you with today?

[/quote]

Member
5 years 6 months ago

And all the people you listed and dozens of others who work at the White House serve at the pleasure of the President. Even the White House chef serves at the pleasure of the President. The president can hire and fire whomever they want for these jobs. Are you saying you support having Zimmer hire whomever she wants for all the various jobs in the mayor’s office? If you believe that then for once I agree with you.[quote comment=”195505″]There ARE salaried directors for the President which are on the white house staff and are not part of his cabinet such… Read more »

Member
mickey finn
5 years 6 months ago

of course you do matt, because you’re probably one of her hired flunkies… way to go matt! :roll: [quote comment=”195516″]And all the people you listed and dozens of others who work at the White House serve at the pleasure of the President. Even the White House chef serves at the pleasure of the President. The president can hire and fire whomever they want for these jobs. Are you saying you support having Zimmer hire whomever she wants for all the various jobs in the mayor’s office? If you believe that then for once I agree with you. [/quote]

Member
5 years 6 months ago

She can’t afford me and I personally don’t care much for the idea of working for the government. I’ll leave that to people like you who can’t get jobs anywhere else.[quote comment=”195531″]of course you do matt, because you’re probably one of her hired flunkies… way to go matt!

[/quote]

Member
tjm888
5 years 6 months ago

Easy-E – I totally agree with you. These are two raises that total a mere $26,100. What I find shocking is so many people are outraged at two staff members getting annual raises. I am sure all the commenters wouldn’t love a microscope shone on their professional salaries and/or Finances. Just look at some corporate finances and what they write off. Now granted this is government and thus open to the masses, but it’s really shocking the utter bias. How about we do some objective research to find out what tasks and repsonibilities these two city employees have before writing… Read more »

Member
getz76
5 years 6 months ago

Zimmer’s done. It is officially over.

Enjoy the ride. You will have to get a real job in a couple of years, Dawn.

Member
whineanddineinhob
5 years 6 months ago

Amazing how the reformers for Zimmer seem to have slipped into the cracks of the sidewalks. She’s done everything she claimed to despise when running for office. The lowest that she stooped was appointing the brother of Ravi Bhalla to the Hoboken Library Staff after all she’s heard about this sneak. Her supporters on the City Council will also need to be replaced. They condoned all her actions by their majority votes.

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