Mayor targets Environmental Services Director

Hoboken411 Exclusive:

Zimmer scapegoats Wenson-Maier, calls for her resignation

Hoboken411 has learned Mayor Dawn Zimmer gave Department of Environmental Services Director Jennifer Wenson-Maier an ultimatum last week: resign or face termination.

Since joining the Zimmer Administration in February of 2010, Maier has been scapegoated for a number of Mayoral blunders, including Zimmer’s failure to close on the $25.5 million sale of the Municipal Garage and what seemed like a six-week cleanup of the 2010 Christmas Blizzard.

As Hoboken411 reported when she was first hired, Maier’s expertise was in Community Development, not Public Works. Zimmer hired her anyway. Maier won over many of her critics with a fair, no-nonsense approach to the job. Ironically, it may be her fairness that did her in with Zimmer and her husband, the Shadow Mayor.

Maier didn’t play politics, which may have been her undoing

Mayor Zimmer and Shadow Mayor Stan Grossbard run the city with a siege mentality of “Us vs. Them.”

Jennifer Maier brought her experience as a Director in Plainfield and Councilperson in Rahway to the Hoboken position. For the most part, Maier attempted to work with all members of the City Council and serve constituents first, which ran afoul of the Zimmer/Grossbard plan to squeeze people in wards that did not vote for the Mayor’s choices.

Sources say Maier – who brought far more “real-world” and political experience to the table than Zimmer and Grossbard combined – attempted to talk sense to her bosses, who were not interested in hearing it. Maier also understood running Environmental Services is different than other Hoboken departments and attempted to shield some employees from Mayoral scrutiny in an attempt to keep operations moving smoothly.

Others criticized her for allowing key personnel to be laid off while going along with the Mayor’s plan to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on outsourced services. While it’s typical for political opponents of the Mayor to receive pissy, unprofessional responses from Mayoral favorites like Ian Sacs, Maier was professional and courteous with Zimmer critics and supporters alike.

Less than a year into her tenure, Hoboken City Hall Vultures were already circling around Jennifer Wenson-Maier.

They coveted her six-figure job and had friends they wanted in the position. None of the Directors were hired by $150,000 a year Business Administrator Arch Liston, who (sources say) has been looking for opportunities to place allies in key positions before Zimmer (or more likely, Grossbard) sours on him.

Rumors continue that an ally of Liston and/or Assistant Corporation Counsel Melissa Longo will be given a six-figure salary to replace former Public Safety Director Angel Alicea. While Liston may want to fill the Environmental Services job on his own, he may be overruled by Grossbard/Zimmer, who sources say will instead suggest a certain former un-elected Councilman for the position.

Environmental Services: Return of the Lenz?

Thanks to Zimmer’s colossal failure of a political primary fight with Ruben Ramos, Brian Stack and the HCDO (as well as the failure to hold the 4th ward seat) Michael Lenz may soon face the axe from his political patronage job at the Hudson County complex in Secaucus.

What better way to land on his feet than by taking the helm at Environmental Services to the tune of over $100k a year?

Watch for Zimmer’s press release to claim his short experience as a “property manager” at the Meadowview Complex prepared him for the Hoboken position. While Lenz would prefer the safety of being a tenured and protected Chief Financial Officer, George DeStefano has not only maintained that position, but has legally beaten back attempts by Zimmer and Liston to weaken him.

Though Lenz was believed to be less than anxious to join the likely one-term Zimmer as a Director, he may have no choice if the Hudson County bosses let him go for being politically and strategically ineffective.

The big question: Will Maier blow whistles on Zimmer?

Jennier Wenson Maier is said to be the type of person who speaks softly but carries a big stick.

Her experience in Plainfield taught her to watch her back, keep good notes and be prepared to fight any future attacks on her integrity. City Hall watchers speculate Maier has ammunition in her files to fight back with if Zimmer holds to her ultimatum.

Stay with Hoboken411 for the latest on the latest City Hall intrigue as the administration of Mayor Dawn Zimmer continues to crumble.

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27 Comments on "Mayor targets Environmental Services Director"

camel2
Member
camel2

Who do you think the next scapegoat or puppet will be?

wiskeytango1
Member
wiskeytango1

camel 2 ,,, easy answer..Anyone that has integrity and self respect as well as compassion…bottom line ,one who thinks for themselves and does their job. 😉 [quote comment=”207934″]Who do you think the next scapegoat or puppet will be?[/quote]

whineanddineinhob
Member
whineanddineinhob

These days Jennifer, you have to be miserable like Dawn Zimmer to survive in City Hall. You were respected and didn’t fit the bill of the administration terrorist. Best wishes on your future endeavors.

wiskeytango1
Member
wiskeytango1

Hey jennier…Tip of the hat to you mamm..You proved you have a pair ..There’s always three sides to any story…One is the right side..Honor and integrity means a lot
Stick to your confictions..and no matter where you get employeed you have your self respect. 🙂

sasha
Member
sasha

The City ordinance is definitely not followed: Many employees do not reside in Hoboken.
Also, if an employee is hired who previously was employed in another NJ municipality or
county government -let’s say 20 years, and works for Hoboken for five years and retires,
the taxpayers of Hoboken are responsible for their health benefits for the rest of the
employee’s life. This is a matter that should be corrected. Also, adding on new spouses
after retirement: if a person retires with single coverage, decides to marry, all he or she
has to do is bring in a certificate of marriage to add on a new spouse. In most companies
your policy is not enhanced after the employee retires.

HearditallB4
Member
HearditallB4

Thank you for the info, Sasha, did not know that. Truthfully the problem falls back to the State level, IMPO, then. Unfortunately the City is not considered “corporate” so the “political” rules apply here. It will take some time before any of this is corrected, if ever. Boggles my mind, but unfortunately I cannot do a thing about it, but vote my conscience (sp). :)[quote comment=”207685″]The City ordinance is definitely not followed: Many employees do not reside in Hoboken.Also, if an employee is hired who previously was employed in another NJ municipality orcounty government -let’s say 20 years, and works for Hoboken for five years and retires,the taxpayers of Hoboken are responsible for their health benefits for the rest of theemployee’s life. This is a matter that should be corrected. Also, adding on new spousesafter retirement: if a person retires with single coverage, decides to marry, all he or shehas to do is bring in a certificate of marriage to add on a new spouse. In most companiesyour policy is not enhanced after the employee retires.[/quote]

HearditallB4
Member
HearditallB4

Not sure, but I think there is an ordinance that states all new hirees must live in Hoboken. That ordinance has not been followed for years, back in the day it was required, apparently that is not the case now.

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