This is a reference to the host of subtle changes that have been ongoing under Mayor David Roberts as his first year in office ends. Roberts said he is making adjustments. But some of his critics, such as councilman (and sometime-Roberts ally) Tony Soares, claim the Roberts' administration is returning to "the good old days" of Hoboken politics, restoring many of the people who formed the heart of political power in Hoboken during previous administrations.
Some people either are jumping ship - as in the case of Michael Estevez, public information officer who left two months ago, and Roberts' two Parking Authority appointments - or moving on, as in the upcoming loss of Business Administrator Laurie Cotter.
Although Roberts said Cotter's leaving comes as a result of a job offer from the expected new Hudson County administration, other sources who first told the Reporter about the impending change said she may have done her job in Hoboken "too well." Cotter is a stickler for detail, a no-nonsense administrator who has earned a reputation throughout the state for her efficiency. In a town like Hoboken, with its history of schmoozing, personality conflicts will arise.
Robert Drasheff, whom Roberts said is slated to replace Cotter on August 1, has served in Hoboken long enough to know how to operate with less friction. Drasheff was the head of human services and public development projects under former Mayor Anthony Russo.
Roberts noted Drasheff's long history of government service and said he's extremely qualified to be city business administrator. Drasheff is currently serving full-time as Weehawken's human services director after leaving Hoboken City Hall last summer during the change in administrations. Drasheff himself has not confirmed yet that he will take the job in Hoboken. Weehawken's mayor was away last week and unavailable for comment.
Central to the Hoboken conflicts is the apparently forced resignation of Soares as council president. Long meetings and routine heated discussions seem to have led to the change. Roberts seems to be seeking a more smoothly running government. Soares has been seen as a threat to the sensitive-to-criticism Roberts of late, although Soares denies he has higher political ambitions than the council.
The question of whether or not the Roberts administration violated the state's open-public meetings regulations (commonly called the Sunshine Laws) with a recent personnel discussion behind closed doors remains mostly a matter of opinion. It certainly appears that Roberts did not intend any such violation when he held a social gathering at his home where council members and Board of Education members ended up chatting about political implications of certain appointments. Roberts says there was no violation, but certainly, if a similar meeting had occurred during the previous administration, there would have been loud complaints.
In writing the Sunshine Laws, State Senator Byron Baer (D-37th Dist.) said the purpose to avoid the appearance that deals are being made outside the public view. A huge part of these laws centers on avoiding the public perception of impropriety. As with the stock market, if people are to invest confidently in their government, officials must make every effort to avoid the perception insider trading might be going on.
When a coup is not a coup
Although the Hudson County Improvement Authority did award contracts to two of the more politically connected firms at its July 10 meeting, bigger news is what did not happen. A widely circulated rumor claimed that Executive Director Tom Calvanico and Counsel Robert Barry would be removed at that meeting. So firm was this conviction among political insiders that many were calling the evening the last act of the Janiszewski administration. But as Mark Twain once noted: reports of their demise have been grossly exaggerated. While two insurance contacts were awarded to Ron Manzo's insurance company, RAM, of Jersey City, and one contract to Dennis Enright's firm, FW Financial, of Jersey City, the expected firings did not occur.
Stack stacks the deck?
Tatiane Martin, wife of the new Union City commissioner Luis Martin, was appointed acting director to the Union City Day Care Board. Mrs. Martin was initially appointed in January as assistant to Director Andriana Birne. Birne, an employee of the Board of Education for over 20 years, took a year's sabbatical last year to run the Day Care Board. Her return to the Board of Education leaves room at the top for Martin. While she has only been named acting director, there is a strong suspicion that she will get the nod for the permanent position later. This would solidify Mayor Brian Stack's hold on an otherwise autonomous board.
O'Dea loves Jersey City but...
Freeholder Bill O'Dea, who has been hobnobbing with Mayor Glenn Cunningham recently, said reports about his move to the Jersey City Economic Development Authority are not true. While he admits the change has been talked about, no offer has been tendered, and O'Dea said he has no plans to leave a similar post he holds currently in Elizabeth.
O'Dea, however, did offer insight into possible alternative career during a Lincoln Park picnic on June 18. Apparently the ex-Jersey City Councilman has a talent for impersonation and gave residents of Jersey City's West Side a few such as Elvis and Sylvester Stallone.
A litmus test for Secaucus council
Secaucus municipal election may be overshadowed by a special school referendum scheduled for Sept. 24.
With two of three ward council seats contested, the question facing candidates may be, Do you support the school's $14 million bond? Caught in the middle of this is Independent Tom Troyer, who is running for council in the 2nd Ward, but also serves as a sitting Board of Education member. Troyer has taken criticism for supporting this year's budget after a 2001 election in which he ran against the budget. Troyer has been instrumental in splitting the referendum into two parts, with one question addressing repairs, and the other addressing a new 1,000 seat auditorium. This last has brought some negative attention to the overall bond.
Troyer's entrance into the 2nd Ward race has provided reprieve for Incumbent councilman Robert Kickey, whose own disagreements with the current administration will be overlooked. The controlling Democrats fear a Troyer ascension to the council more than another four-year term with Kickey.