Mayor Zimmer loses things…


As well as foils government transparency!

Back in November, Hoboken resident Michelle (and blogger “HobokenGal”) posted this story on her blog:

Help! My Portfolio Has Been Hijacked by City Hall
Trippy Hoboken mayor dawn zimmer loses things at city hall“In September, I interviewed for what I thought was an amazing job. It was for the public information officer position in my hometown of Hoboken. I met with our interim mayor at the last-minute, over a holiday weekend, and thought it went fabulously. She took my portfolio and asked for my references.

She said the position needed to be filled immediately, but weeks went by and there was no follow-up. When I checked in, I was told interviews were still being conducted. I was cool with that. The job market has changed drastically and it’s not the same finding a gig today as it used to be. Whereas two years ago, you may have gone on one or two interviews within two weeks, these days, you may go through three to five over a two month period.

As the weeks progressed, I heard nothing. OK, I thought, maybe the position was on hold while she was running for permanent office; maybe it was canceled due to lack of funding; or perhaps it was filled internally. Whatever the case, it would have been nice to have received a follow-up, but better yet, to have gotten my work back.

I called and emailed the mayor’s office for weeks with no response. The mayor had given me her personal email but my attempts proved unsuccessful. I left messages with people in her office who promised they would relay my concern about my portfolio but still no movement. I reached out to the mayor’s aide who at one point said he’d get me my stuff by the end of the week, only to be forgotten about.

HELP! My press portfolio is being hijacked in city hall! OK, I am being a bit dramatic here, but seriously, I brought great samples of my work to this interview because it was something I wanted; I truly wanted to impress. In this economy, it’s sin that anyone would ignore repeated attempts to get someone’s work back. Being too busy is not an acceptable reason. I’m a resident (an unemployed one at that!) of your community; please, show me a little respect!

I shouldn’t have to write a blog to get my work back, but maybe it will work.”

HobokenGal followed up a week later:
“During my interview, after the mayor asked to take my work to show her council members, she said she would make sure to get them back to me and we agreed that I would get them back either by me picking them up since I lived in town or figure out another way. While some of the work can be reproduced, not all can and when you are interviewing for jobs, you need all your best samples. You should be able to trust your mayor. And if they lost the work, I would appreciate being told instead of being insulted every time I called and keep being ignored. If we decided that she could keep the work, I wouldn’t care, in this case, but we didn’t.”

And just yesterday (1/19), she updated Hoboken411 and said:
“I did not receive my work back. I did get a call from the mayor a few weeks ago, stating she thought she lost it (after my blog post was featured online) and would let me know if that was the case (she said she was going to look again), but that never happened either.”

Hoboken411’s perspective:
Three serious issues should concern all of us:

  1. Why is the Mayor using personal e-mail for the job application process? Is she trying to undermine transparency and an open process by using a personal e-mail that won’t be subject to OPRA? Even Dave Roberts was accessible using city email!
  2. The Public Information Officer position is hired solely by the Mayor and does not go through the City Council so why does Mayor Zimmer state that she has to show her council members? Which council members? Who wants to bet that all hires go through Mike Lenz – the shadow Mayor of Hoboken?
  3. Whether Mayor Zimmer is being malicious or just plain incompetent, shouldn’t we be worried that this is how she chose to handle a simple situation?

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34 Comments on "Mayor Zimmer loses things…"

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This seems to be area that the newly appointed BA would look at.


Does anybody know if this position was ever filled – Public Information Officer?

krewedetat – I have re-read my post and must agree there is truth in your response . Your comments are well founded and well laid out. People make mistakes. My commentary on HobokenGal is not the way I would like to be treated, it must be vexing for HobokenGal that there is certainly important things missing that cannot not be replaced, and if someone says they are going to return something to you, it doesn’t matter if the person is the Dalai Lama or a 6 year old child, they personally own the problem of getting it back to you. “Golden Rule”, right vs wrong. Being mayor does not put one above that. I will go as far as to say that the truth of my prior post is somewhere between me waking up on the wrong side of the bed today and what I perceive as a ” everything but the kitchen sink” unrelenting flow of derision, and derision only, thrown at the mayor. Ms. Zimmer’s situation often strikes me as a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” proposition, with even breaks being hard to come by. With the above in mind, while there is some truth in my post, I apologize to HobokenGal and will endeavor to have more empathy and keep my negativity more closely in check. I also thank you for pointing out this disparity in a civil, non-confrontational way. I am uncertain what ignorance of mine you refer to, but one could easily… Read more »

plywood, you are being harsh. I read the blog and HobokenGal sounded legitimately excited about the job. She admits she did what she did because it is a tough job market and she was willing to do anything for an “amazing” job in her “hometown.” She has been waiting since early September (she mentions the meeting took place over a holiday weekend, that would make it Labor Day). She wrote her blog in December, a full 3 months later and she did not go on an all-out attack on Zimmer, stating all she wants is her work back. It all has gotten a bigger splash now that 411 has discovered it, but if she had received an honest call from anyone in city hall admitting the mistake and asking how to make amends I would not be commenting here.

It is no secret that I did not support Zimmer for mayor (I did for council) but one key reason why she was elected is because she captured the imagination of many people who had not been involved in local politics before, and that is a good thing. When those people get burned like HobokenGal did, it is not a good thing for “reform” (the way I define it).

Posters were kind to you when you showed ignorance in English language usage. Pay it forward by putting yourself in the shoes of someone who, like thousands of others, felt she could trust Dawn Zimmer.


Why is the Mayor using personal e-mail for the job application process?”

I would assume the writer meant the Mayor’s personal government City of Hoboken email address, instead of that of an assistant. I have met with the mayor on a few occasions and she has always given her personal City of Hoboken email address and sends emails from that address.