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)

Leave a Reply

40 Comments on "Outrage grows over Zimmer raises"


Member
kal-el
5 years 26 days ago

GOT NEW’S FOR YOU GUYS !!!! THESE 2 DO NOTHING BUT RUN FOR COFFEE ALL DAY !!!!! 👿

Member
The Waaambulance
5 years 26 days ago

WhiseyTango, you really have strayed from my point. I was trying to relay that the council and mayor have dumped out 25 million on nonscence this year, so what’s wrong with another 1.7 million to keep us all safe. Personally I’d rather have a safer city as opposed to a pier I can’t walk on. I also agree that those guys should in city hall should get their raises. It’s peanuts compared to the vast fortune that the city is dumping into the waterfront.

Member
wiskeytango1
5 years 26 days ago

waam,bu…I agree Go to hoboken now and read the list of civilian employers.seven of them are part time workers…lots of savings?[quote comment=”195584″]WhiseyTango, you really have strayed from my point. I was trying to relay that the council and mayor have dumped out 25 million on nonscence this year, so what’s wrong with another 1.7 million to keep us all safe. Personally I’d rather have a safer city as opposed to a pier I can’t walk on. I also agree that those guys should in city hall should get their raises. It’s peanuts compared to the vast fortune that the city is dumping into the waterfront.[/quote]

Member
wiskeytango1
5 years 25 days ago

guess again part time workers do not recieve bennies..the zoning officer came in 2 on the civil service,,the number one guy refused it..so queen bee put one of her own lolly
pops in there..the number two person is out on disability and is filing a law suit against
the dawn patrol such as lens destifaino and such…your tax dollars because of a hack.
btw i believe u cant lay off one wno is on disability..smart advisors and gophers just send me light and sweet coffee :) [quote comment=”195650″]waam,bu…I agree Go to hoboken now and read the list of civilian employers.seven of them are part time workers…lots of savings?

[/quote]

Member
animalcrackers
5 years 27 days ago

The city’s website was redone long before this Meli guy showed up and they already have a Civil Service approved PIO in Bill Campbell. That job is supposed to provide info to the city and not act as a pr spinmeister for the mayor. Meanwhile, you get this guy who on his own website says he’s a political consultant. And then you get this Bryan kid who swam with Mason and then swam over to Zimmer and then she politically rewarded this kid with zilch experience and tossed him into city hall to be her pet. Pathetic. We have three people in communications and only one has a legit title, but since he wasn’t a political operative he’ll get screwed and these hacks get raises. And this happens while essential services are being cut. Over $200,000 a year spent on pr by this mayor, using a website built by Roberts with more spin than that guy ever even dreamed of, are you kidding me.

Member
spiffy
5 years 27 days ago

You think Melli and Bryan will come to your rescue when a gang of thugs is happily assaulting you? Nope. They’ll be enjoying their cushy jobs and pay raises courtesy of zimmer and friends. Probably tweeting about American Idol or Jersey Shore.

And whomever compares low-level Dawn to the president and his staff has visions of grandeur.

If you can’t apply the same tough decisions and sacrifices to the otherwise optional jobs in the city, you have your priorities mixed the hell up.

And for the idiots who say its only 26k remember the phrase give an inch take a yard or whatever that is. You add up the secret hirings, promotions and more, you’ll see where the so called savings from firing out safety net goes. Into the pockets of others.

Member
lonnie1wsj
5 years 27 days ago

Once again, over 5000 of you fumb ducks voted for “Ski-Nose” Zimmer…
You wanted change and you got fooled, Big Time…!
Have fun writing out your next check for RE Taxes…….

Member
5 years 27 days ago

Well you’ve certainly made your point. I’m sure that after hearing that someone anonymously made fun of her nose, Mayor Zimmer will run screaming from the building. You sure showed her![quote comment=”195481″]Once again, over 5000 of you fumb ducks voted for “Ski-Nose” Zimmer…
You wanted change and you got fooled, Big Time…!
Have fun writing out your next check for RE Taxes…….[/quote]