HOBOKEN — Hoboken Housing Authority residents cheered as Robert Davis III, a longtime city resident, was elected the Authority's new board chairman by a 4-3 vote.
Davis was nominated by HHA Commissioner Jean Rodriguez. Outgoing chairman Jake Stuiver nominated Greg Lincoln, but the measure was defeated also by a 4-3 vote.
"I'm excited, I'm nervous, and my priority is going to be to bring everything back to the people," said Davis after the vote.
The housing authority's bylaws require it to elect a new chairman (or reelect the sitting chairman) and vice chairman each year. Stuiver also recently moved out of town.
The vice-chair position remained open as of the end of the meeting, due to deadlocked votes on nominees Commissioner Rodriguez and Commissioner and Councilman-at-Large David Mello.
After Stuiver stated a few months ago that he was moving to Pennsylvania, it was assumed he would step down as chairman, though nothing in the bylaws states that the chairman must be a resident of the municipality.
Before the vote took place, Debra Morrissette, a representative of the Columbus Gardens resident advisor board, submitted a petition requesting that the new director be a Hoboken resident.
Residents jeered Stuiver as he left the meeting immediately following the vote, and cheered for Davis as he took Stuiver's seat.
"Rob is one of us, he's there when we need him," said one Housing Authority resident, who wished to remain nameless. "He's the type of person we need, not someone like Jake."
Stuiver is an ally of Mayor Dawn Zimmer, and was part of Zimmer's majority on the all-volunteer housing board. His faction of the board has been criticizing HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia's work, which does not sit well with some HHA residents.
Sandra Smith, a HHA resident, said that she felt that the Housing Authority has been manipulated for political purposes in the past year, and expressed hope that Davis would change that.
"It's felt like we've been downgraded," she said. "As residents, we should know what's going on but we always get the tail end. Rob is going to do great things for us."
For more background on this issue, see related stories linked below. — Dean DeChiaro