Arezzo sought for alleged insubordination
New City Hall game: Where is Al?
Some call him “Teflon Al.”
Hoboken Construction Code Official Al Arezzo has survived several Mayors, an indictment and trial, and many attempts to remove him from office. Others who’ve tried to get permits and inspections for basic renovations have more choice words for the “My way or the highway” inspector. Today he’s on the lam following attempts to serve him with suspension papers. City Hall is tight lipped about what went down yesterday, but here’s what we’ve learned from numerous sources.
Battle with Liston over Sexual Harassment courses
Hoboken411 has learned Business Administrator Arch Liston insisted that Arezzo and his entire office attend Sexual Harassment courses. Arezzo has not been reached for comment, but according to sources, when Arezzo was told these classes would take place all morning he suggested they instead be scheduled for afternoon sessions because his office is out inspecting all morning. A case was made that morning classes would disrupt the operations of his department too severely.
Now, Arezzo is certainly known for having a hot temper, which he has even put on display at City Council meetings. Liston is an outsider brought in by Zimmer to be her “tough-guy front-man” laying down her law at City Hall. While Zimmer hides in her office, ex-cop Liston carries out the marching orders. It would surprise no one who has encountered both men to hear their discussion may have led to raised voices and bravado.
Police called in to serve Arezzo with suspension
On Wednesday afternoon, Corporation Counsel Mark Tabakin and Public Safety Director Angel Alicea went looking for Arezzo to serve him with suspension papers ordered by Liston. Concerned about Arezzo’s potential reaction to this action, Alicea called for two uniformed Police Officers with guns to be taken off the street to accompany them on their search for Al. Sources say Arezzo caught wind of what was going down and high-tailed it out of town before he could be served. Nonetheless, Alicea and Tabakin apparently brought the officers along on their search for Arezzo at his usual haunts, including visits to the Clam Broth House, Four L’s and Helmers’.
They didn’t find him, and sources say he may now be several time zones away from Hoboken.
Changing the locks of Arezzo’s office, and opening the city taxpayers up to more lawsuits, as the story continues after the jump!
Locks changed on Construction Code Office
Liston had the locks changed on the Construction Code Office so Arezzo and his crew of inspectors could not enter.
The new Business Administrator is taking the position that he has as much authority over Arezzo as he does over any other city employee. The problem, some say, is Arezzo’s position is not overseen by the city, but by the state Division of Local Government Services.
Mayors and City Council members have sought to remove Arezzo in the past, only to find his actions are protected by state oversight. There have been several investigations of his office, but no charges have ever stuck to Arezzo. The attempt to suspend Arezzo for any period of time without state approval would be something Liston would be doing at his own – and city taxpayers’ – risk. If Liston overstepped his authority there is little doubt that Arezzo will exercise all his legal rights, as he’s done so effectively in the past.
City Attorney: Nobody removed from the building
Third ward councilman Mike Russo alluded to the situation last night, claiming a “city employee” was treated poorly without mentioning Arezzo by name. Tabakin rejected the claim that Arezzo was “escorted out of the building” and was only able to do so because his search for Al failed. Rumors that Arezzo was suspended for not filing financial disclosure forms appear completely unfounded. Arezzo has claimed he does not have to comply with the city ordinance because his position is governed by state law. The administration may add the charge to strengthen their case against Arezzo. Due to his many years on the city payroll Arezzo probably has months of paid vacation time he could burn off while this gets dealt with.
Only in Hoboken…