Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Backroom Politics Already At Work in Linden

It didn't take long.

During tonight's reorganization meeting, Council members and members of the public congratulated and offered praise to the Mayor Gerbounka, Council President Moore, re-elected members of Council and newly elected members of Council.  Many encouraging words were spoken of change and having our elected officials working and voting in the interests of taxpayers.  Dream on overtaxed taxpayers. 

That feel good sentiment was short-lived when Councilman Richard Puschel sprung a surprise Resolution to appoint John Hudak as City Attorney.  The prior Ordinance appointing Mr. Hudak as City Attorney was previously vetoed by the Mayor, as is his right.  It appears Puschel, and whomever else is behind this maneuver, is seeking to usurp not only the process by which Council appoints attorneys, which has always been by Ordinance rather than Resolution, but the Mayor's veto power as well.  Ethics aside, it was also unfair and disrespectful to Council, especially to those new council members, or at least those who were not privy to this well-planned chicanery.  The Resolution passed with Puschel, Yamakaitis, Sadowski, Brown, Koziol and Kolibas voting for the appointment.  Armstead, Frazier and Sheehy and C.P. Moore voted no with Cosby-Hurling abstaining.
President Council Moore spoke of his desire to explore other options and interview other candidates for the position.  Councilman Sheehy spoke about the lack of accountability in the law department.  Councilman Armstead stated that because the Mayor vetoed the prior Ordinance, that it did not necessarily mean that Hudak would not be appointed, but that Council should have the opportunity to consider alternatives.
The Mayor indicated he would seek injunctive relief in the Courts. He should.  Council should not be allowed to re-write the Municipal Code nor should it be allowed to eliminate powers vested in the Mayor, which is essentially what Puschel is trying to do via this Resolution.   

The City has, in my view, been taken advantage of by the County or worse. We are embroiled in litigation with the County as our so-called redevelopment partner on the South Wood Avenue project.  Further, the County, through the UCIA, sought to acquire, by eminent domain, property owned by ISP-Dupont which cost the City lost years in the development of that site as it was being litigated  Morningstar is another failed project with two blocks of properties siting vacant for years, loss of tax revenues as well as broken promises of demolition. 

John Hudak is bond counsel to the UCIA,  Hudak's son is now an appointed freeholder.  It's long overdue for Linden to employ an attorney without County ties.

A Resolution was introduced by Councilman Koziol to allow Council members to conduct Council business by electronic means, as was done for Councilman Kolibas tonight.  This is rather peculiar since absenteeism by Council members has never been an issue, even when Charlie Crane was on Council.  This Resolution could have been brought to Council at its next regular meeting thereby allowing Council a caucus discussion.  Since it wasn't, I suspect this Resolution was specially crafted for a certain Council member.  If a Council member won't or can't attend to his duties, he should step down.

Newly elected Councilman Peter Brown spoke of the daunting task of filling the "big shoes" of his predecessor, Joe Harvanik.  Don't sweat it Brown.  In just one meeting  you blew that goal.

Revised 1-5-11.


Anonymous said...

John Hudak's son, Chris, is the City Dem. Chair. What kind of influence does Chris have on the sitting dem. council members? That's got to be some sort of conflict, no?

Hudak, you say, works for the UCIA. That would mean his boss is Charlotte DeFilippo, the County dem. Chair.

Is anyone working behind the scenes with Puschel, who works for the County?

Smells rotten.

NFS said...

Gerbounka, in his State of the City address, is still insisting the solar panel project will reduce the City's energy costs by 25 to 40%. This is IMPOSSIBLE so what I'd like to know is who is feeding him those figures?

Further, Linden in BLINDLY turning over Linden taxpayer money to the UCIA with NO accountability. The UCIA, in turn, turns over our tax dollars, in professional fees, to Union County vendors who are big political donors to the Dem Machine. Linden, to the best of my knowledge, has NO SAY, as to what the County pays its attorneys and engineers on OUR projects.

IMO, it's quite a racket they've got going and no one questions any of it. Why is that?

NFS said...

Ed: I joined. C.W.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed "quite a racket they have going". I would like to know where my tax money is going since Linden is now charging a $100 fee for Public Works housecalls. Furthermore, the city of Linden is not at all receptive to concerns of citizens. I recently spoke with Mayor Gerbounka about rude and inappropriate behavior from a Linden Public Works employee and he dismissed my "alegations" without even hearing my side. He was incredibly arogant and rude with me. They run city government like an "ol' boys club"--always protecting their own.