HOBOKEN – Despite the announcement last Friday that no police officers will be laid off, Tim Occhipinti, candidate for the 4th Ward special council election on Nov. 2, says he believes that “layoffs still loom” for city cops.
“The plan to rescind the layoffs, which the mayor admits she had nothing to do with creating, was accomplished with the sacrifice of veteran police officers and the critical cooperation of the Hoboken Housing Authority (HHA),” Occhipinti said in a press release. “Both should be commended for their efforts. Now the mayor should tell Hoboken residents what her layoff plans are for after the November election.”
On Monday, Zimmer did not wish to comment on the release put out by the Occhipinti campaign.
Last Friday morning a new plan was announced which would not result in the layoffs that were planned for Sept. 24. Through recent and pending retirements, and a new agreement with the HHA, Zimmer said, layoffs could be avoided completely. The Zimmer administration announced last week that if an agreement for the HHA to hire five police officers is approved by the City Council on Oct. 6, and pending police retirements occur by Dec. 2, there will be no layoffs.
“I want to be very clear: This was never about political agendas,” Zimmer said in a Friday press release. “This is about doing what's in the best interest of all of the people of Hoboken.”
Occhipinti isn’t buying it.
“The mayor and her unelected rubber stamp 4th ward councilman [Michael Lenz, Occhipinti’s opponent] believe that we will turn to other pressing matters and forget about the threat to public safety,” Occhipinti said. “Then, after the November election, they will try to slip in more layoffs, all the while issuing raises to political appointees and squandering public funds on blunders like the ill-fated move of the Municipal Garage.”
The political mood in Hoboken is heating up. The November election between Occhipinti and Lenz, who was appointed after Zimmer became mayor, will determine whether Zimmer keep her allied majority on the City Council.- Ray Smith