Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Grist for the Mill: Judge orders revote on rent control question

Swimming in the murk with Hoboken legal questions running rampant is another one added to the fray and it's one of the most volatile since the razor thin results last fall.

It's rent control.

In recent days rumors have been swirling Judge Christie Farmington voided the election results based on approximately 100 plus out of town voters unable to vote on the local issue.  A confirmation was pending a written decision from the court (due tomorrow).

The judge stayed the decision pending an appeal on what is shaping up as a major statewide election law issue caused by efforts to hold the November election after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.

Cheryl Fallick a rent control advocate expressed surprise with an earlier story appearing on Hoboken Patch, "Nobody has seen the decision yet, but it is the HFHA's understanding that the Judge's decision has been stayed and we are surprised to have seen an article on (Hoboken) Patch that didn't mention this.  Sadly, the posting is obviously an MSTA press release and not a full research article."

Last November, ballot question #2 saw advocates of rent control win a narrow 52 vote victory with over 16,000 cast.

The HFHA is under duress if yet another election is mandated on rent control.

A cryptic anti-rent control comment appeared on the Hudson Reporter yesterday saying:

Today the Honorable Christine A. Farrington determined that the election results in Hoboken relating to public question 2 must be declared VOID since hundreds of Hoboken voters were denied the opportunity to vote on the question. This is a major victory for all Hoboken voters---both property owners and tenants alike----who were denied their opportunity to vote on the public question. A special election has been ordered to occur within 60 days.

Rent control advocates have been infuriated by the steps taken to void the election and complained the City named as a defendant had failed to appear at an initial hearing in Jersey City.  The City was acting as a named defendant when the issue was raised in public portion in a recent City Council meeting.

A special election may be ordered with a date to be scheduled if an appeal doesn't change the ruling.

Talking Ed Note:  Hoboken almost believed it had escaped year round election season and its power grabbing 24x7 political environment.

In recent days, MSV has heard from both sides of the rent control legal wrangle and was awaiting a legal opinion to decipher more before announcing the details.

While the rent control laws on the books in Hoboken are strained by inconsistencies, overturning election results should not be so cavalier.  Of just over 100 voters, the sampling would very likely not see those votes change a 52 difference.

Grist for the Mill is MSV's rumor column.  Got a tasty carrot for Da Horsey?  Send a note to smartyjones@me.com.

3rd annual State of the City with Mayor Dawn Zimmer Wednesday night

City of Hoboken announces:


Mayor Dawn Zimmer invites all members of the community to attend her third State of the City address. Her remarks will include a discussion of plans for building a more resilient Hoboken following Superstorm Sandy.

The event will take place on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 7:00 pm at the DeBaun Auditorium in Edwin A. Stevens Hall on the campus of Stevens Institute of Technology. 

The main entrance is on 5th Street directly across from the Stevens Park. The wheelchair entrance is located in the rear entrance of the building on River Street with handicapped parking located behind the two buildings (McLean & Babbio) located directly across the street from the ramp. For additional information, visit: http://ugstudentlife.stevens.edu/org/debauncenter/DeBaun_Auditorium_Directions.

Lies, damned lies and conflicted representations on a contract

As Mark Twain might have said, Carmelo Garcia's contract raises questions of lies, damned lies and conflicted representations when last Thursday's HHA meeting saw that document kept secret since 2010 make its first ever public appearance before being quickly stowed away by counsel Charles Daglian.

Based on Daglian's statements, the impression at least some HHA commissioners took at face value was the sole appointing authority had been irrevocably given to Carmelo Garcia for employees, vendors and purchases of all goods and services.

The NJ statute however doesn't concur with that conclusion.

According to the NJ statute, the true scope is far more limiting:

"The authority may provide that the executive director shall be the appointing authority for all or any portion of the employees of the authority."

The NJ statute, 40A:12A-18 does not give the sole authority of appointing anything other than employees to the Executive Director, in this case contracts, re: contractors and vendors.  State law is the guiding directive for the HHA commissioners and the validity of Carmelo Garcia's contract is not set for any five year period.

In addition, any delegated powers may be returned to the HHA board including the hiring of employees no matter what Garcia's contract says.  The powers of the HHA's board are clearly emergent as it sees fit - and acts.

The contract negotiated by Mr. Daglian as some readers have commented fails in its entirety to list any affirmative list of responsibilities focusing solely on the authority of the Executive Director role above and beyond NJ statute which he represented as beyond changing until its expiration.  The contract reads as a resolution, not as a comprehensive management contract.

Talking Ed Note: Outside of the limiting powers presented to the HHA commissioners last Thursday, what in the world is Charles Daglian doing advocating for his own contract while acting as the HHA board attorney at its special meeting on a counsel contract?