Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Councilwoman Jen Giattino: 'Mayor Ravi Bhalla's second job is a failure to keep commitment made to Hoboken'

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors - 

Mayor’s Second Job

On February 16th, we learned that Mayor Bhalla took a job at a politically connected law firm.  After initially being told his compensation was south of $100,000 we recently learned that he will be paid a base salary of $60,000 and 20% of all gross revenue he brings in up to $750,000 and 15% for all additional revenue he brings in with no limit.

The potential for conflicts of interest in outside law work were obvious during the campaign and I raised it. Mayor Bhalla answered both my concerns and residents with a strong pledge. Promising to leave his law firm if elected and promising "But the most important information going forward is that if I am elected Mayor, I will be working full-time for the people of Hoboken, severing my employment with the firm.”

He has failed to keep that commitment.

He also promised to stand up to President Trump in particular, and hatred in general. Yet when choosing which law firm to lend his name to, he chose Lavery, Selvaggi, Abromitis & Cohen. A Republican firm, previously known as Courter, Kobert and Cohen. Yet the Courter is the same Jim Courter who stated, "An avowed homosexual should be screened so that they do not affect negatively impressionable youth.'’ Jim Courter continues to work for the firm as 'Of Counsel’ the same title as Mayor Bhalla.

Council Response

Last week the City Council asked Mayor Bhalla to respond to a list of questions to clarify how he will manage allocating his time and potential conflicts of interest between his two jobs. Mayor Bhalla has yet to respond to these questions.

Flood Ordinance

We need to find ways to protect the character and scale of Hoboken’s residential neighborhoods. Under current law we are treating non-flood zone areas like they are flood zones for no good reason and with devastating impact on our housing stock. On March 7th, I will offer an amendment to Hoboken’s flood ordinance removing the X and shaded-X zones from the enforcement area. We are seeing far too many facades change and losing the connection between our sidewalks and our homes. Removing these 2 zones from enforcement is just a start.

As always reach out with thoughts and concerns,