Thursday, June 7, 2018

Council President Ruben Ramos & Councilman Mike DeFusco: 'Time for transparency on Mayor Ravi Bhalla's second job'

Official release:

Statement from Council President Ruben Ramos and Councilman Mike DeFusco regarding their ordinance to mandate greater transparency regarding Mayor Ravi Bhalla's second job at a politically connected law firm:


“Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s decision to break a campaign promise and accept a second job at a politically connected law firm put Hoboken in an unprecedented position and opened the Mayor's Office to serious legal and ethical questions. We’ve given the Mayor four months to address the concerns presented but he has chosen to respond only with silence. This ordinance endeavors to bring transparency to the situation by ensuring that taxpayers know whether or not the Mayor’s second job is leading to any potential conflicts that could impact his official actions. 

Mayor Bhalla has a history of perceived conflicts related to his former employment at another major law firm that represents entities that do business with the city, as well as a current ethics violation that he is appealing using taxpayer resources. Given those facts as well as Corporation Counsel's previous failure to identify potential pay to play violations and his political support for Mayor Bhalla, we believe strongly that this measure is necessary to provide a new level of transparency and assurance to residents that the Mayor is acting only in the city's interest."

The ordinance passed on first reading at last night's Council meeting and will be voted on at a future meeting.