Former JC councilman Lipski named head of autonomous agency
Former City Councilman Steve Lipski was named as the CEO of the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) on Tuesday.
Lipski, who served on the City Council from 2001 to 2009, was the unanimous choice of the EDC Board of Trustees to assume the autonomous agency’s top position. The previous head, Gene Nelson, resigned in November. The EDC is a private not-for-profit corporation created in 1980 to bring about business and community development throughout Jersey City.
Lipski will be on the job until June 30, 2011, when the EDC could either continue to operate with funding from the state’s Urban Enterprise Zone program or stop operating if Gov. Christopher Christie decides to disband the UEZ program. Lipski will be paid a $1 salary but did not know which benefits he would receive.
“The $1 salary is my way of showing remorse for the episode in Washington D.C. and showing I’m serious about my love for this city, and showing my commitment to the city,” Lipski said.
The “episode in Washington D.C.” refers to his being charged in November 2008 with urinating on fellow concertgoers at a Washington, D.C. bar. Lipski said he has been sober since that incident. For the Washington, D.C. incident, he received sentence of one year’s probation and paid a $50 fine and did community service.
Lipski was also the founder and chief school administrator of CREATE Charter School in Jersey City until the school was closed in June when the state declined to renew its charter.
Lipski said the EDC position came about in a conversation with Mayor Jerramiah Healy last month when Lipski inquired into an opening on the Jersey City Incinerator Authority board only for Healy to suggest he consider the EDC position. Lipski said at one point there was concern by Healy that Gov. Christie would disapprove of Lipski being named to the position, but Christie signed off on the hire.
Lipski said he will implement a nine-point program in running the EDC, including board meetings taking place six times a year rather three and finding alternative sources of revenue to keep the EDC afloat if the UEZ funding is cut. He planned to meet with the 15 staff members on Wednesday to talk to each of them about the direction of the EDC under his guidance.
JC Medical Center doing one-day-a-week furloughs of non-union staff until January
The Jersey City Medical Center confirmed on Thursday that “mandatory furlough” days began last month for full-time and part-time non-union administrative, management and support staff. This was in response to an article in the local daily newspaper.
Mark Rabson, spokesperson for the hospital on Grand Street in downtown Jersey City, said the one-day-a-week furlough started on Nov. 22 and will end on Jan. 31. Rabson also said the 400 people affected will be those in positions from as high as CEO Joseph Scott to those in the accounting department, and the furloughs will not affect patient care at the hospital, recently ranked as the No. 1 hospital in New Jersey with under 350 beds by the health care organization Castle Connolly.
Rabson also said the reason the hospital is doing the furlough is that the hospital’s “expenses exceeded income” in the months of October and November, with approximately a million dollars in losses in October. Rabson blamed the financial shortfall on new programs implemented by the hospital, such as a new woman’s health center and an epilepsy program, and the equipment, personnel training, building out of space, and promotion for those programs.
Rabson said hospital administrators are meeting every day to find other savings to avoid any future furloughs. He also said the nearly 1,600 employees not affected by the furloughs are “voluntarily making contributions” to the Hospital Foundation to help the Medical Center financially. And he commended the employees currently being furloughed.
“We thank the administrative and management employees who are in the furlough program and everyone else who is helping to insure financial stability of the Medical Center,” Rabson said.
State appellate court upholds decision on Lopez’s council seat
A state appellate court on Tuesday upheld a Hudson County Superior Court judge’s decision that City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez can keep her council seat.
Superior Court Judge Maurice Gallipoli ruled in December 2009 that Lopez, who represents the city’s Journal Square area, could stay in her council seat, thus striking down a lawsuit filed in June of that year by Jimmy King.
King, who finished second to Lopez in last year’s Ward C municipal election, brought the suit challenging Lopez’s residency status by claiming that Lopez was actually a Florida resident since she had not paid New Jersey income taxes for several years while filing federal taxes in Florida.
But when King abandoned the lawsuit after he pleaded guilty to taking bribes from government informant Solomon Dwek, Norrice Raymaker, the third-place finisher in the Ward C election, stepped up as a new legal challenger.
The appellate court decision, published on the court’s website Tuesday morning, stated that “the findings and conclusions of [Judge Gallipoli] are supported by substantial, credible evidence in the record.”
Lopez said after the decision that she was “happy” to hear the appellate court’s decision from her lawyer and said the lawsuit was an “unfair distraction to her constituents.” Raymaker issued a statement prior to the ruling thanking her supporters but also noted, “Of course, I hope we prevail. However, win or lose, we defended our right for authentic representation” and encouraged them to participate in local politics.
Local peace group honoring singer Patti Smith and others at annual awards ceremony
The Jersey City Peace Movement is holding its 2010 Peace and Progress Honors Awards ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 7 – 10 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) at 107 Hutton St. The event is free and open to the public.
The honorees include noted singer and poet Patti Smith, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, and longtime political activist Pam Africa. Also honored are two people posthumously, local filmmaker Jennifer Fasulo and teenage activist Furkan Dogan.
Other honorees: Riaz Wahid, Alero Tetevi, Daniel Aguilar, Bethe Schwartz, Kristina Nilsson, Esther Wintner, Iris Haddad, Tsehai Hiwot, Hasan Salaam, The Sargonites, Edwin (ED) Ramirez, Monica Aguilar and Joann Dalton.
Erik-Anders Nilsson, one of the founders of the Jersey City Peace Movement, said all honorees have been invited but is not sure if all will attend.
For more information, visit www.JCPM.org.
Dinner honoring George Washington is Dec. 12
The second annual dinner of The George Washington Commemorative Society of Jersey City will be held Sunday, Dec. 12 from 2- 4 p.m. at the VIP Restaurant, corner of Sip Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard.
Guest speaker is Eric Olsen, Park Historian for Washington’s Headquarters at Morristown National Park in New Jersey. Music will be performed by the “Spirit of Liberty.”
Cost of the event is $35 per person.
For further information, visit www.gwcsjc.org, or (201) 333-7650.