HOBOKEN -- In response to the news that former Hoboken Mayor Anthony Russo was receiving city health benefits until two weeks ago, even though he should have stopped receiving them over five years ago, Russo's son, a councilman up for re-election, released this statement Wednesday morning:
In 2008, I called for an audit to be conducted to determine how many former city employees were receiving health benefits without qualifying for them. Please review video of the meeting where that occurred here.
At the time, Judy Tripodi, the state-appointed fiscal monitor, conducted an investigation and removed several individuals she determined to be unqualified. As the video footage of the meeting shows, then-councilwoman Dawn Zimmer sits silently while I ask questions about the audit. Now, after 19 months as mayor, Dawn Zimmer determines that, two months before an election, she will release the results of a targeted audit that found one individual, in the hopes of scoring political points two days before a $250 a person fundraiser.
Let me repeat. I called for the original audit to determine who was incorrectly receiving health benefits. Mayor Zimmer is using the tactics employed by political bosses everywhere. She uses her office to engage in partisan politics under the guise of governing.
When asked if he knew his father was receiving health benefits from the city, Michael Russo responded:
“According to the audit I asked for, and was presented to the council by Ms. Tripodi, she removed several people from the list. The former mayor was not one of them, so I, and the rest of the council, assumed that everyone not removed from the list, was receiving their benefits properly. I'd like to see the ‘audit’ conducted by the mayor. What was the rationale for ordering it 19 months after taking office?”