Cammarano selects team
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Cammarano’s Crew Named
After weeks of rumors, newly elected Mayor Peter Cammarano has officially named his administrative team. Some of them are subject to “Advice and Consent” by the City Council and others are not. Some look like slam-dunk winners, while others, well, not so much.
Let’s take each team member one by one…
Community Development Director: Todd Poole
Those frustrated by the last eight years of Fred “Umm” Bado at the helm of this department will be happy to know there is new blood on the way.
Todd Poole is the Managing Principal and President of 4 Ward Planning – who has an extensive background in planning, community development and redevelopment. His experience includes some hard time working in Camden, where the redevelopment challenges are much greater than Hoboken. Poole’s job will be to do what Bado could not: bring all he players together (activists, neighbors, land owners, developers and government) to accomplish sane planning in haphazard Hoboken. His resume indicates he might just be the guy to do it.
Enviornmental Services Director: John Pope
John Pope is a longtime Hoboken political player who also has a decent amount of private sector experience, including years at Lucent Technologies.
Perhaps best known as a “captain” in the Russo political organization, Pope was a member of the Board of Ed and once managed a Sixth Ward Council campaign for former Mayor Dave Roberts. Pope’s move from Health and Human Services Director (where he took over for Carmelo Garcia) to Environmental Services (where he succeeds the “retiring” Jim Ronga) is seen as part of Cammarano’s nod to the fact that he needs to keep the lines of communication open with Michael Russo and Theresa Castellano to get things done in the face of a very hostile Dawn Zimmer-led 5-vote majority. Pope has generally been seen as an efficient manager, albeit by Hoboken’s historically lax standards.
Health and Human Services Director: Terry LaBruno
Health and Human Services manages recreation, health, senior and youth programs, which are all things LaBruno (a school teacher and coach) is quite passionate about. Supporters say she will be an advocate for the youngest and oldest citizens, while others say she should not be running a multi-million dollar department.
A math teacher by trade, LaBruno is known for being a firebrand at City Council meetings often saying things that have offended people, especially those who were not born-and-raised in Hoboken.
Public Safety Director: Angel Alicea
Is Angel Alicea qualified to be Public Safety Director? Without a doubt. Will his appointment be seen by some as political payback? Again, without a doubt. Alicea unsuccessfully ran for City Council on Cammarano’s ticket after Dawn Zimmer and Mike Russo engineered his removal from the Hoboken Housing Authority Board in favor of the since-arrested Hector Claveria. Alicea is the son of a decorated Hoboken cop who has himself had a long career in public safety, including stints in the disbanded Hudson County Police force, and lately as an Internal Affairs officer in Union City.
Some say the lack of a Public Safety Director allowed former Police Chief Carmen LaBruno to run the department his way unchecked (which led to embarrassments like the SWAT scandal). With new Chiefs now on the job in the Police and Fire Departments (and a Mayor with next to no Public Safety experience) some will welcome the oversight that Alicea will bring to the administration while others will call it an unnecessary layer of government. Either way, its a position currently mandated in the city ordinance.
Corporation Counsel: Jason Orlando
Steve Kleinman is planning for his wedding this fall and his “divorce” from Hoboken politics at the same time. Succeeding him as Corporation Counsel will be Jason Orlando, a Harvard Law School graduate who served as a Deputy New Jersey Attorney General and Special Assistant to the Attorneys General Zulima Farber (nothing to brag about there), Stuart Rabner (now Chief Justice of the NJ Supreme Court) and Anne Milgram (who currently holds the position). Orlando also served as an Associate with the firm Lowenstein Sandler PC of Roseland, and with Dewey Ballantine LLP, in New York City. The Council will not have the opportunity to vote on this appointment, which is not a “Director” subject to advice and consent.
Chief of Staff: Joe Garcia
It what could be Mayor Cammarano’s smartest move, he’s naming Joe Garcia to the newly created position of “Chief of Staff.”
The administration of Dave Roberts will forever be known as a dysfunctional mess firing in different directions (and occasionally at itself!) Garcia’s job will be to keep the government moving forward by managing the day-to-day operations.
Joe is a graduate of Columbia Law who was previously an associate at the NYC law firms of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher LLP and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Born and raised in Hoboken with ties to both the Puerto Rican and Italian communities, Garcia is the son of well respected HPD Captain Edelmiro Garcia.
Joe has been an active member of the Hoboken Southwest Parks Coalition advocating for the SW6 plan and was an early supporter of Beth Mason’s Mayoral campaign before joining Cammarano for the runoff. Though Roberts did not have a Chief of Staff per se, he did have several confidential aides who handled some of the same responsibilities without the title (or authority). Joe will bring a wealth of institutional knowledge about Hoboken to the job, with an eye toward fixing what’s wrong.
What about Business Administrator?
The most important title has yet to be filled: Business Administrator. It’s a job that has technically been empty since Dick England stepped down in the middle of the Dave Roberts budget debacle. State Fiscal Monitor Judy Tripodi has essentially been doing the job, which won’t be filled until she leaves. Tripodi is apparently on board with Cammarano’s other Director picks, and will likely overrule the Council if they decide to vote no on the names. The City Council may take up the four Director’s positions as soon as Wednesday night. What do you think?
Share your thoughts and comments below!