As Chairman of the Hoboken Housing Authority, I am pleased to say that our past several board meetings have been filled with healthy debate and occasionally contentious discussion over a wide variety of important issues. I think I speak for the entire Reform majority when I say debate and even friction are positive attributes of a governing body that’s doing its job properly and digging into the hard work of hashing out the issues and making informed decisions. I do not wince at serious, meaty engagement with my fellow commissioners -- I welcome it.
Unfortunately, at our last meeting, Housing Authority Commissioner Eduardo Gonzalez took an important discussion about an auditing proposal and digressed into what appeared to be a preplanned "made for television" statement that falsely and inappropriately introduced false, counterproductive allegations of ethnic bias.
The Hoboken Housing Authority is at a critical juncture right now, with a number of pivotal issues coming before the board with high stakes and consequential outcomes that will be felt for generations. The work ahead is serious business requiring a sober and intellectually honest approach.
Commissioner Gonzalez said the Housing Authority board leadership has become an extension of the policies of the Zimmer administration and Reform majority on the City Council. On that point, I agree with him 100 percent. However, I do not share his view that it is an opening for criticism. I wear it as a badge of honor. Reform leadership in Hoboken government has yielded countless improvements in operational efficiency, routing of corruption, nationally recognized innovation and improvements in people’s lives.
The Housing Authority is the third-largest budget in Hoboken, and the only one that has yet to undergo the audits and professionalization that have produced so many positive changes at City Hall and the Board of Education. I encourage Commissioner Gonzalez to recognize that change has arrived at the Housing Authority, and while his cooperation will be welcomed, his obstruction will not be tolerated.
Chairman, Hoboken Housing Authority