One year later…
One year ago this week, I assumed office as acting mayor as a result of a state-wide anti-corruption operation. Residents were already paying for years of fiscal mismanagement, but now the very integrity of our government was being questioned as our city suffered a string of humiliating headlines.
Since then, my administration has been focused on restoring integrity to government, ensuring fiscal responsibility, and improving quality of life for all residents.
After the events of last summer, restoring integrity and faith in our government was a top priority. Upon taking office, I immediately cut my salary and that of our City Council and department directors by 10 percent. Through an open interview process, I solicited resumes for directors and hired the most qualified professionals. The Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership invited me to participate on a panel on ways to end unethical practices in the public sector. In order to reflect the vision of our residents, community development is now done through an open public process. We held an open and honest budget process with public workshops that included presentations by every director, as well as the Fire and Police Chiefs. These workshops were streamed online and on television.
We finally have a budget free of gimmicks and one shot revenues which accurately reflects the true cost of government. We’ve paid off many of our legacy costs due to past mistakes, and we are now positioned to reduce costs, maximize government efficiency, and save taxpayers money. Because of these steps, we are no longer under the oversight of a state fiscal monitor.
While we’ve worked to restore integrity and fiscal responsibility to government, my administration has remained focused on quality-of-life issues. In April we broke ground on a wet weather pump station which is expected to significantly help to alleviate our city’s flooding problem, and we’re installing a censor system in our sewers to gather the information we need to fully tackle the flooding problem.
We are also expanding parks and open space and repairing our crumbling piers. As a result of a public process, the replacement of the 14th Street Viaduct will include a beautiful space beneath the structure with a dog run, playground, active recreation court, and multi-purpose space that will transform the area. We will soon be announcing a public event at the Viaduct to unveil the designs as well as public meetings to ensure balanced development and open space in the Western Edge, Southwest Hoboken, and to create designs for parks at 1600 Park and Hoboken Cove.
Parking is still a problem, but we are taking a comprehensive approach to reduce congestion, alleviate parking, and improve pedestrian and bike safety. Hundreds of residents have already signed up for “Corner Cars,” the first true city-wide car-sharing program in the country which is expected to improve parking for everyone by taking hundreds of cars off our streets. Our shuttle system, “The Hop,” is expanding from one route to three, uses GPS and text messaging technology to track online or by phone, and will run twice as frequently as before.
We live in a world class city with a proud history. We are turning the page on an era of distrust in our government, respecting taxpayers by restoring fiscal responsibility, and improving the quality of life for our residents. I’m honored to serve as the mayor of Hoboken and look forward to continuing to working with our residents so our city can reach its full potential.