Thursday, February 11, 2010

State to Mayor: You Win!

Mile Square Exclusive

In an extensive interview with Mayor Zimmer Thursday, MSV learned the State will release the final Police Audit.

No exact timing was given, but a senior official, Lori Grifa, Acting Commissioner of the Department of Community Affaris only in her third day, contacted the mayor yesterday afternoon and stated the report is a high priority.  This ends the ongoing inquiry about a half-hour before the MSV City Hall interview took place yesterday.

 Complete details of the in depth interview with the mayor to follow.

Photo: Acting DCA Commisioner Lori Grifa, the person who is ending the long awaited delivery of the Hoboken Police Audit to the town. A profile of her is available at the DCA website here.

Talking Ed Note: There's a wind blowing through the State of New Jersey and it's heading north by northeast today.  Is it too soon to thank this new Acting Commissioner?  MSV doesn't think so.  We're emailing the Chief of Staff to extend thanks to Lori Grifa for making Hoboken a priority: edwin.carman@dca.state.nj.us

Horse Sense: The State of NJ vs. Hoboken

It's not an actual legal case on a New Jersey docket but perhaps it well could be in the near future.  There's a split at City Hall between the elected representatives and the state fiscal monitor Judy Tripodi.  It's been brewing for quite a while unseen by most and unknown to all but a handful of union and City Hall insiders.  MSV has heard merely whispers here and there but really if you pay attention, some of it has come out in the public square and you can read between the lines.

At the Budget Workshop the most overt statement by the Fiscal State Monitor was heard in reply to Councilman Mike Lenz's plea the City Council be permitted to have a voice in the current and still officially ongoing union negotiations with the police union.  Judy Tripodi, clearly a steady hand at working through numerous environments in the Soprano State offered the best answer you could ever hope for from a temporary government takeover official, "I would like nothing but that."

That reality is now about to be tested but the battle lines have clearly already sounded during the snowstorm yesterday when a couple of emailed questions answered by the fiscal state monitor regarding shifting of funds for a potential retroactive payout to the police union met with a rebuke from the Mayor and City Council President.  This was a cause of consternation among the City Council last week, concerned perhaps this was being "slipped by the goalie" and perhaps also applied as a retroactive approval of a deal that has not been officially ratified.

The complexity of this situation, and in some ways it's quite simple: (Judy is the unilateral power on all matters financial in Hoboken), what expectations can Hoboken resident have with a newly elected group of officials from the Mayor on down actually have in this process?

MSV knows that our efforts, along with the Hudson Reporter to get an answer on the Public Safety Audit for the Hoboken Police Department have not even been answered by the State.  The Director previous on the matter, Susan Jacobucci no longer takes or answers questions at all.  In our last conversation with her office we were told to refer all our media inquires to Edwin Carman, DLGS chief of staff
edwin.carman@dca.state.nj.usSo far, nothing but crickets.  

In addition to these outstanding problems, the State of New Jersey is now moving at light speed to get a number of pension related reforms to the new Governor's desk.  The State unions have vowed to work to stall it as long as possible but it appears the momentum is already past them.  So what will Judy Tripodi now do?  She can either hit the pedal and hope speed kills better than a stuck accelerator pedal in a Toyota Prius or hit the reset button and recognize the new reality on the ground in the state of New Jersey.

Which do you think she'll do?