Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Corporate Counsel on Public Safety Audit

Prior to the City Council meeting, MSV had an opportunity to raise the question of the legal issue surrounding the call for the Public Safety Audit for the Hoboken Police Department and the questions surrounding the draft document.  As raised in the Hoboken Forum on by a reader, we posed a speculative question (albeit reluctantly) on the idea of the Mayor's office releasing the incomplete findings and the repercussions.

Mr. Kates indicated the were two issues with the idea; first it was an ethics violation and it would lead to a credibility issue with a new Governor.  Considering that the Zimmer Administration is also just getting underway since the November election, there's not a lot of capital to be gained in acting in such a manner.

This is the last time we'll be approaching the Corporate Counsel with such a speculative request.  For those who did not see the City Council meeting, it's a good idea to check out the stream and see the public portion at the end.  There was quite a bit of interest from the public in seeing Trenton and specifically Director Susan Jacobucci finally release the report.  And that's putting it mildly.

MSV along with the Hudson Reporter are following up seeking answers from Trenton and we'd like a response from Director Susan Jacobucci.  We'll be following up on this story and having spoken with our counterpart at the Hudson Reporter, we know they are focusing on getting a result too.

This is quickly escalating to Gov. Christie's office.  We'll let people know how to effectively take a stand on behalf of Hoboken.  It's just at that point.

Five minutes on the phone will go a long way.  But first, let's see what happens in the next business day.  Time's up!

Lt. Angelo Andriani - Complete Legal Docs

This is the complete distribution from earlier today at the City Hall Press Conference.  Take a close look at this as it shows some of the more recent delays over months caused by Mr. Andriani's attorney attempting to have former Mayor Dave Roberts testify in the case.  Some very interesting charges made in that regard about the former Mayor's knowledge and appearance on the first trip to Louisiana.

Mr. Andriani's attorney also references discussion between the former mayor and his client to become Public Safety Director.

Lt. Andriani's suspended pay - all on the table

Lt. Angelo Andriani now suspended without pay was the second part of the press conference held this morning at City Hall and the summation of it concludes: everything is on the table including the City recovering pay for the two years he's been on suspension.  Corporate Counsel Kates made it clear this is all now part of the discussion in talks with Mr. Andriani's attorney.  He later added his conclusion justifying the suspension without pay and the redress of earlier suspended pay came from his fresh review of the case.

In a discussion after the press conference, Public Safety Director Angel Alicea indicated his review of the event at the Tampa Airport demonstrated improper use of the Hoboken Police Badge by the suspended officer.  Asked how it was that he could show a badge while on suspension, the Director said, "It's possible he surrendered his original badge but had another and used this one improperly in identifying himself as a police officer."

MSV is awaiting some scanned documents showing the legal basis for the delay in the case.  In a document dated, February 2nd, Hoboken attorney Paul Condon indicates to Corporation Counsel Michael Kates, the most recent delay of "months" was due to the demand apparently by Angelo Andriani's attorney that former Mayor Roberts testify.  Andriani's attorney's scheduling "conflicts" are also cited.

Photo: Dawn Zimmer hold the preliminary copy of the State Police Audit from last August. Seated right is Corporate Counsel Kates.

Mayor to State - "Where's the Report!?"

In a blockbuster news conference held at City Hall this morning, Mayor Zimmer held the preliminary draft of the Public Safety Audit on the Hoboken Police Department and stated it had been in her possession since the fall but she was unable to share it with the appropriate internal agencies and the government along with the public.  Declaring the State had not completed its "cosmetic" changes since last September she added, "Five months is long enough to do edits" and she was finally going public as a result to get it released.

Contesting the reasoning for the delays stated most recently to Mile Square View by Susan Jacobucci, Director Division of Local Government Services, the Hoboken mayor just fell short of charging the delay as being politically driven at the state level.  In addition, the mayor indicated her numerous conversations with Director Jacobucci and her office had failed in the agreed delivery date for mid-January and manpower cited as an excuse in Trenton an inadequate reason.  Mayor Zimmer indicated she had voiced her concern on the report's late finalized version to Hoboken with Gov. Christie's office and appreciated the unified voice in the fiscal state monitor, Judy Tripodi calling for the report's release at the Budget Workshop held Saturday.

Mile Square View will be posting the complete video of the news conference unedited.  
In addition, Mayor Zimmer along with Corporate Counsel Kates indicated the full background and reasons why Lt. Angelo Andriani had been suspended without pay and the process on closing out that case.

More to come... 

Related: The Jersey Journal posted their story on the press conference.