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 hands out pay raises to friends while firing Hoboken police officers - Outrage grows over Zimmer raises

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

Dan Bryan Confidential Aide to Dawn Zimmer Hoboken NJ - Outrage grows over Zimmer raisesHow 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).

Juan Melli with Dave Roberts and Friends - Outrage grows over Zimmer raises

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)

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kal-el
kal-el
Thursday, August 5, 2010 7:00 pm

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

The Waaambulance
The Waaambulance
Thursday, August 5, 2010 12:20 pm

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.

wiskeytango1
wiskeytango1
Reply to  The Waaambulance
Friday, August 6, 2010 6:23 am

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]

wiskeytango1
wiskeytango1
Reply to  wiskeytango1
Friday, August 6, 2010 10:54 am

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]

animalcrackers
animalcrackers
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 10:45 pm

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.

spiffy
spiffy
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 2:54 pm

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.

OfficerGinty
OfficerGinty
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 12:30 pm

Like I said in a past post, Zimmer is the ultimate HYPOCRITE. Your handing out political job after political job at the expense of Hoboken taxpayers. If you want to throw the word EFFICIENCY around, lets start with City Hall.

Lets have an audit of city hall and see how much waste we can get rid of. Lets reveal all the NO SHOW or LIGHTLY SHOW jobs that you handed out or still exist from the last incompetent mayor. The truth of the matter is when it comes to wasteful spending of tax dollars, the biggest culprit is the political and incompetent Zimmer administration.

The bottom line is this. ZIMMER IS WILLING TO SACRIFICE THE SAFETY AND WELL-BEING OF EACH AND EVERY HOBOKEN RESIDENT BY LAYING OFF COPS SO THAT SHE COULD USE THE SAVINGS TO PAY OFF HER POLITICAL FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND CRONIES.

Look in the mirror Mayor Zimmer. Your no different than the corrupt bums that have been running this town for years. Please go back to Vermont so that we could save our wonderful city.

HobokenResident100
HobokenResident100
Reply to  OfficerGinty
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 12:48 pm

Officer Ginty, there is a difference between handing out no-show jobs to your friends, which is what she opposes, and offering a low paying job to someone who worked hard on her campaign. You need to catch a little perspective here before you go raving like a lunatic. And did you do a study on how many cops Hoboken REALLY needs? Last time I checked on a Firday night most cops are hanging out by the bars shootin the shit with the bouncers and messing with drunk people. I’m sure they didn’t just wake up and decide to lay off cops. There’s a lot of thought that goes into a decision like that. I live in Hoboken and I still feel very safe with the amount of cops we have and will continue to.[quote comment=”195502″]Like I said in a past post, Zimmer is the ultimate HYPOCRITE. Your handing out political job after political job at the expense of Hoboken taxpayers. If you want to throw the word EFFICIENCY around, lets start with City Hall.Lets have an audit of city hall and see how much waste we can get rid of. Lets reveal all the NO SHOW or LIGHTLY SHOW jobs that you handed out or still exist from the last incompetent mayor. The truth of the matter is when it comes to wasteful spending of tax dollars, the biggest culprit is the political and incompetent Zimmer administration.The bottom line is this. ZIMMER IS WILLING TO SACRIFICE THE SAFETY AND WELL-BEING… Read more »

whineanddineinhob
whineanddineinhob
Reply to  HobokenResident100
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 1:50 pm

As a Council member, Zimmer and all the rest of the members voted on a hiring freeze while this city was in a crisis and could not establish a balanced budget. They went ballistic when Roberts brought in someone. She also campaigned on this issue. Doesn’t matter if she’s hired one campaign helper at 60g or five helpers at 20g— hiring freeze means hiring freeze. It doesn’t mean making up the difference by sacrificing others in departments whether it be police, fire or office workers. As of yet, there is no balanced budget and that freeze is still in effect. “No-show” jobs is not the issue, the hiring freeze is.[quote comment=”195504″]Officer Ginty, there is a difference between handing out no-show jobs to your friends, which is what she opposes, and offering a low paying job to someone who worked hard on her campaign. You need to catch a little perspective here before you go raving like a lunatic. And did you do a study on how many cops Hoboken REALLY needs? Last time I checked on a Firday night most cops are hanging out by the bars shootin the shit with the bouncers and messing with drunk people. I’m sure they didn’t just wake up and decide to lay off cops. There’s a lot of thought that goes into a decision like that. I live in Hoboken and I still feel very safe with the amount of cops we have and will continue to.

[/quote]

HobokenResident100
HobokenResident100
Reply to  whineanddineinhob
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 2:47 pm

You may be right but this article said NOTHING about a hiring freeze…so to say that is the issue, I can’t even seem to find anything about it still being in effect. Also logically I would assume that means to not make any NEW positions, but Hoboken Chief of Staff and Hoboken Web Site Designer seem to be legit positions that aren’t added or unneeded positions. I also believe that Officer Ginty firmly is against the less than $30k raises handed out when that was “made room for by” the police cuts that was over $1 million. That is what I was commenting on.[quote comment=”195510″]As a Council member, Zimmer and all the rest of the members voted on a hiring freeze while this city was in a crisis and could not establish a balanced budget. They went ballistic when Roberts brought in someone. She also campaigned on this issue. Doesn’t matter if she’s hired one campaign helper at 60g or five helpers at 20g— hiring freeze means hiring freeze. It doesn’t mean making up the difference by sacrificing others in departments whether it be police, fire or office workers. As of yet, there is no balanced budget and that freeze is still in effect. “No-show” jobs is not the issue, the hiring freeze is.

[/quote]

OfficerGinty
OfficerGinty
Reply to  HobokenResident100
Thursday, August 5, 2010 12:33 am

So your saying that the Mayor’s personal aid ($35,000 to start, now going up to $46,100) should replace the new beat cop (starting salary $28,000, won’t see $46,000 until years on the job). That makes alot of sense. I could see where your head is at. If it was your sister who woke up in the middle of the night to a cat burglar, or your mom who was robbed and got her faced punched in, I believe you would have a different point of view about the boys in blue and how many more there should be. Take it from me HobokenResident100, there is alot more going on in this town then you would like to believe. Guns, gangs, drugs, robbers, burglars, and thieves. And the only reason they’re held at bay, is because of the police presence and outstanding work ethic our cops put in everyday.[quote comment=”195504″]Officer Ginty, there is a difference between handing out no-show jobs to your friends, which is what she opposes, and offering a low paying job to someone who worked hard on her campaign. You need to catch a little perspective here before you go raving like a lunatic. And did you do a study on how many cops Hoboken REALLY needs? Last time I checked on a Firday night most cops are hanging out by the bars shootin the shit with the bouncers and messing with drunk people. I’m sure they didn’t just wake up and decide to lay off cops. There’s… Read more »

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