Sunday, January 24, 2010

Night at the Fights

This classic old style rabble rousing political ad for the old Hoboken machine is brought to you by: the Wile E. Coyote, Eric Kurta.   In this, episode 10, rise of the Evil Empire, Mayor Anthony Russo takes on a reform majority coalition, Choice for Change, on the Board of Education in 1994.  The Board of Education had moved to suspend Edwin Duroy, school superintendent for a variety of issues.  This did not sit well with Mayor Russo.

In the video Mayor Russo takes the microphone to target the reform members and predict their downfall in front of a vocal crowd.  Note the concern for the taxpayers as it's an impressive sleight of hand while the mayor was receiving kickbacks from the city auditor, one of multiple schemes suspected during his tenure as mayor.

Gee, don't you just miss the good old days?

Related: Details of the FBI indictment of Mayor Russo by the now Governor Chris Christie in 2003 for mail fraud and extortion.  Ironically one count was related to the same Board of Education: "soliciting and taking approximately $1500 from an attorney in 1998, in connection with the awarding of a Hoboken Board of Education contract for legal services."


Property taxes: How N.J. citizens can take up the fight

The Citizen's Campaign, a group focused on practical steps New Jersey residents can take to impact their local community launched its first round of 10 ready for adoption ways to give citizens a grass roots way to counter rising property taxes.  Among them;

 joining or forming a regional emergency dispatch service; eliminating benefits for part-time elected officials and professionals; sharing computer administration between the municipality and school board and the performance of energy audits for government buildings.
Also included is a Salary Sunshine Online model law by which municipalities would place on their website the top five salaries for each department, their overtime costs and all labor contracts A report released by the State Commission on Investigation in late November documented wasteful personnel practices that exist in many municipalities. Salary Sunshine Online will give citizens the information they need to examine the practices in their own hometowns and to fight for changes if they are needed.
Hoboken has already actually begun one with the energy audits announcing some substantial savings well into six figures when fully implemented.  But there's clearly much more that can be done.  Here's the video discussing in detail the approach and methods for implementing the improvement(s).

For more on how this is being accomplished in other municipalities in New Jersey, please check out the Citizen's Campaign website.  Other local websites may wish to highlight it too.

Judy Tripodi - Public Safety, medical costs and the future of Hoboken (pt. 5)

In this final segment of the audio interview MSV inquires on the January 30th Budget Workshop and any role Judy's team is playing in that upcoming event.  The next item is the earlier planned police personnel adjustments, and Judy explains why it never happened.

Concerns from the public about public safety being top heavy is the next topic.  The fiscal state monitor addresses this in detail and her desire to get management adjustments put into place via the existing civil service system.

The big ticket item of medical costs is then discussed and how the City is looking to implement some remedies against the most expensive old style health care plans and update it to the more current state model.

Last, Judy offers her overall assessment on the town's future while eliminating the "ghosts" of the past.

MSV wishes to thank Judy Tripodi for all the time discussing the questions of the day on the Hoboken budget.  She did not limit any questions or follow ups at all and in total the interview went for a full hour.