Mayor targets Environmental Services Director
Zimmer scapegoats Wenson-Maier, calls for her resignation
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?
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.