UNION CITY - In some other dimension, time might stand still, but in this city it seems to go a bit faster than normal. Eleven months ago, which can sometimes seem like last week, is when the city was supposed to produce and adopt a fiscal year budget. But the deadline for adoption is six weeks away and the city has yet to finalize a spending plan, while struggling to claw its way out of a $7 million budget hole. That might be why the commissioner of revenue and finance, Michael Leggiero, is calling for a hiring freeze in the city. But Mayor Rudy Garcia said Leggiero's plan "does not go far enough" and is taking his own stab at a solution for the city's financial shortfall. His resolution, said Garcia, looks to freeze not just city hiring but also declare a promotional and spending freeze until January 1, 2001. The Board of Commissioners has so far been divided on how to fill the budget deficit. Mayor Rudy Garcia first tried to push through the sale of Roosevelt Stadium to the Board of Education but came under heavy fire from fellow Commissioner Rafael Fraguela and others who criticized him for failure to gain proper approval from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Community Affairs. Garcia eventually decided to remove the sale of the stadium from the budget after the sale was further challenged in court by Jose Franco, a Union City restaurant owner. Franco's suit alleges that the stadium sale is illegal and that Commissioner Tina Yandolino had a conflict of interest because she is a paid employee of the Board of Ed. Fraguela for his part has also attempted numerous times to formally call for a state-takeover of the Union City budget but has been halted each time by having his proposal tabled by the mayor and board. The city is now attempting to sell its interest in the Department of Public Works garage, which is owned by NJ Transit. But that decision too has been deemed controversial because many claim that proper approval from parties involved has not been attained. After initially supporting the mayor's sale of Roosevelt Stadium, Commissioner Michael Leggiero has voted against the issuing of bonds for the sale of the DPW garage. At last Tuesday's board meeting he had planned to introduce a resolution calling for a hiring freeze for the city. However, the meeting was rescheduled to Friday, May 26 due to a death in one official's family. In his statement, Leggiero said, "Spending is out of hand. The mayor's budget is eleven months late and has a seven million dollar deficit, and we owe the Board of Education $12 million. We are facing an even bigger shortfall next year. We must do something to control spending now." Leggiero pointed to excessive hiring as a big reason for the financial hole the city now finds itself in. "Since May 1998 there have been 150 new people hired to the city payroll (not including police officers)," he said. "Hiring in Mayor Garcia's department alone accounts for over 65 percent of that number." Fraguela too, since his disagreement with the mayor over the handling of the city's budget, has been criticizing the city's hiring practices. The hiring freeze, according to Leggiero, would be mandatory in all departments and "prohibit the hiring of any new non-essential employee, except those required by statute, until the Fiscal 2001 budget is adopted." Garcia said that his resolution was planned before Leggiero's and that Leggiero has been playing politics by first going to the press. "We've had our proposal," Garcia said. "I think Commissioner Leggiero has failed the people of the city of Union City. [Leggiero] tried to make a token gesture at doing his job. And the commissioner he is aligned with, Fraguela, is responsible for the historical structural deficit contained within the budget." Garcia said he has sent his resolution to the Local Finance Board in Trenton for review but that their approval was not necessary for the resolution's introduction or adoption on Friday. In the past, Garcia, Yandolino and Commissioner Ray Lopez have usually voted in agreement while Fraguela and Leggiero have sided together.