Last week, Ward C City Councilwoman proposed changing the governing body leadership. Under a proposal Lopez wants considered at the Jan. 11 council meeting, current Council President Peter Brennan would be replaced by At-Large Councilwoman Viola Richardson.
The change in leadership has already been publically supported by Ward F City Councilman Steven Fulop, and Lopez likely has enough votes on the full council to make the change. Lopez has asked the city's legal counsel to explore whether there are any legal reasons why the council cannot change
the current president at this time in the year.
"I've been told there are not any legal reasons why we can't make this change. But I've asked [Corporation Counsel] Bill Matsikoudis to look into it," Lopez told the Reporter.
However, in a comment made last week to NJ.com, Mayor Jerramiah Healy, a Brennan ally, questioned the legality of making the change in leadership. Some have questioned whether reorganizing the council at this time is a violation of the Faulkner Act.
Yet just last year Hoboken revised its local laws to allow a change in its City Council leadership.
After the November 2010 elections, allies of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer lost control of the Hoboken City Council and council members decided to make Councilwoman Beth Mason - a Zimmer opponent - the new council president. To do this, the city found that it would have to change its municipal code to allow such a change, which the council did. Mason became council president, a position she held until the May 2011 election again altered the
make-up of the council and returned the council majority to Zimmer's supporters. The mayor's supporters ousted Mason and made Zimmer ally Ravi Bhalla the new council president.
Back in Jersey City, those who support Richardson for the council president post are researching how the Hoboken move was accomplished and appear poised to try a similar maneuver at 280 Grove St. One source confirmed Tuesday that Mason's advisors are working with the Jersey City Council
majority on how to make the change. - E. Assata Wright
Keywords: Jersey City Nidia Lopez Viola Richardson Jerramiah Healy Steven
Fulop Peter Brennan council president Hoboken Mason