Mayor Bhalla thinks his second job is none of our business
Mar 04, 2018 | 2274 views | 13 13 comments | 113 113 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Editor:

Disbelief. My initial response when I learned that our new mayor had a 2nd job with a politically connected law firm - again. Just five days before Election Day he said “if … elected Mayor, I will be working full-time….. severing my employment…”. Was he really breaking his election promise this soon? Especially given his prior employment with a similar firm was such a significant election issue – whether he would resign from his job and be a full-time, conflict-free mayor that ALL Hoboken voters expected and required?

More questions… Did he say why he took the role? Did he formally announce or send a nixle alert? Did he disclose the details of the job? What type of “Of Counsel” was this? What kind of commitment would he be making to this 2nd job? How would he be financially incentivized? And rehashing the many potential conflicts that follow this kind of role and how they might be managed - remember Suez? The stakes are higher as mayor.

A quick social media search found he barely mentioned his new job and only on his personal Facebook page late Friday 2/16, just before the long weekend / holiday week and almost hidden amidst other newsworthy events. He described the role as “mentoring young attorneys” although the law firm described it as providing “strategic advice” and “drawing on his broad range of legal expertise”.

Since then, any further disclosure has had to be pulled from him, a sound bite at a time. Two weeks on, the public remains mainly unaware of what he will be doing or why he has chosen to do it.

His selective disclosure to date?

2/17 – in response to adverse media coverage, to select media only: states salary “well south of $100k”

2/20 – more adverse media coverage and 5 councilmembers publicly expressing concern

2/21 – given no further disclosure, council passes resolution 7-1-1 formally inquiring.

2/23 – to council and select media only: “…Public Release of His Of Counsel Agreement…” disclosing $60k salary, his earnings potential (15-20% of gross revenues he generates) and states “no requirement that I release this contract”.

2/26 – email to unknown list debating what constitutes a “second job” and saying he severed ties with his prior firm.

2/27 – to council only: responses to inquiries which raise more questions.

He says he is not “practicing law” but if true, he wouldn’t need malpractice insurance or bar dues paid by his firm. He is more likely “not engaging in the day-to-day practice of law” as the firm suggests, but that just means he won’t be in a court room. It doesn't preclude him from actively working to generate revenues for his new firm, and for himself. Creating potential conflicts. And taking his attention away from Hoboken.

Mayor Bhalla, this IS Hoboken’s business.

Tiffanie Fisher
Hoboken resident, Taxpayer, 2nd Ward Councilwoman

Comments
(13)
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I am the man
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March 04, 2018
Ravi should not have closed green rock. Green rock is the best place to go.
Franklyn
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March 04, 2018
I am glad that the councilwoman wrote this letter. I think it was wrong of the mayor to deceive the public during his campaign about his plans to secure a second income if he were to become mayor. It just doesn't sit well with me. If one is to believe his city council slate members that are now on the city council and there is no reason not to, he even hid his plans from his running mates. If he would do that, am I to trust that he will not hide potential conflicts from all of us should they arise?

I just don't trust this guy.
Green Rock
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March 04, 2018
What the mayor did by closing g rock this weekend was a detriment to Hoboken. Because of this I didn’t hook up with any hot chicks. I want hit bitches
anonymous
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March 04, 2018
Let's do a little fact check shall we "Tiff?"

Mayor Bhalla and his firm both publicly announced his new position. Rather than simply ask the Mayor your questions, you chose instead to pass a resolution demanding answers to questions you had never before asked.

Far from saying that it was none of the public's business, Mayor Bhalla then publicly released his employment agreement and answered all the council's questions.

I have a few questions for you. You present yourself publicly as someone with substantial private sector experience and success. Yet you have not been employed for several years and we know little about your actual work experience and, just as importantly, the circumstances under which you left your last job. Was there a severance agreement? Would you be willing to follow Mayor Bhalla's lead and make it public?

I ask that rhetorically. You, like the Mayor, should be judged by your performance in the job you were elected to do and in which you have the privilege of serving. So far your performance as my councilwoman has been decidedly mixed. Your job is to work with Mayor Bhalla to get things done for our City and the 2nd ward. Please stop attacking the Mayor and start dong your job.
hobokenorbust
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March 04, 2018
What is the point you are trying to make? That somehow our Mayor trying not to let residents know about his new job is somehow the same as you not knowing about what Councilwoman Fisher did for a living? Has she ever been asked about her job and tried to hide the answer? Have you ever asked her what she did or why she stopped working at her last job? A simple google search "Tiffanie Fisher Hoboken" gets you her linkedin profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tiffaniefisher/ It looks like she resigned. But why don't you just ask her.

anonymous
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March 05, 2018
The point is that Ms. Fisher's claim that Mayor Bhalla tried to "hide" his position with the law firm is on it's face factually untrue and known to be untrue by Ms. Fisher given that the Mayor and his firm announced the position, the mayor publicly released his contract, and he answered the council's questions. The transparency he has shown stands in stark contrast to the mystery surrounding Ms. Fisher's own employment history which is certainly not answered by her linked in listing. Ms. Fisher has made her private sector experience and expertise the centerpiece of her public service claiming to be for example, a high level manager,decision maker and experienced negotiator. Based on her linked in page none if that appears to me to be true. It certainly doesn't seem obvious she resigned from her last position as opposed to being asked to leave.

I guess it's not really news these days for a politician to be a liar and a hypocrite but it's still disconcerting to those of us who care about good honest government.
Tiffanie_Fisher
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March 07, 2018
I am going to assume that "anonymous" is Stan Grossbard, husband of Mayor Zimmer, who regularly posts on social media with this level of detailed interpretation of specifics around Mayor Bhalla and burgeoning narratives he likes to try out.

First - publicly announcing and announcing in a place/format that the public sees are not always the same thing. Especially in this instance. The fundamental underlying question is do you believe that Hoboken residents and voters should be made aware that our Mayor has a 2nd job? I believe yes. With many tools at his fingertips, the Mayor chose his personal Facebook page - without disclosing his contract then - on a Friday night prior to a holiday weekend. Me or any other council member asking directly would not result in the Mayor informing the public. It would only result in the Mayor informing me. Which is why after 5 days without any public notification, we made the decision to formally inquire. The Mayor had many chances before that time to make this more well known to our community and opted not to. We should not have had to ask.

About my professional past - there is no mystery. On April 2nd in 2013 I resigned from my role as EVP and CFO of Brixmor. I gave 60 days notice. I was asked to stay for another approximately 90 days beyond this time to complete a large capital transaction for the company and help with transition. I signed a separation agreement that September which was required under my employment contract and left the company on good terms. All are public documents which you are welcome to research. Here is the link to my resignation: http://www.brixmor.com/~/media/Brixmor/Investors/Bondholders/Brixmor LLC/Current Reports/Corporate Governance and Management.ashx Like Mayor Bhalla's "public announcement" this is not easy to find on the internet.

If you have any further questions, just let me know.

Tiffanie Fisher

passedoverandboughto
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March 10, 2018
The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
Hobokenres123
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March 04, 2018
Unless its impacting his availability or a conflict that arises then make a big deal but for now I say work together on stuff instead of wasting time on nonsense.
shadowmustgo
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March 08, 2018
Where's Nasty Pincus?

She certainly is a vile human being and constantly attacking the good people of Hoboken. But hey, when you sell out to Ravi, you are a sell out your personal life and all the friends in the school community that once respected her.
Tottenhamwins
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March 04, 2018
So is this your new jihad against the mayor? Going to harp on this nonstop? It really does get tiring. I know you DINOs are upset Jen lost but she was always going to lose. And the more you keep attacking a very popular mayor backed by a very popular former mayor and aligning yourself with dirtbags, the more you look like a dirtbag. Get over it all ready. The election is over and next election, I suspect your tenure on the CC will also be over if you keep acting the way you have the last 6 months.
shadowmustgo
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March 08, 2018
32% is Not popular

God even Mason did better when she lost.

Stawn desperate to keep screwing things up decides to question Ms Fisher's experience. Jealousy is a terrible thing. His wife Dawn had no resume like Fishers