Councilman Mike DeFusco is calling on First Ward Council candidate Migdalia Pagan-Milano to take an immediate unpaid leave of absence from her City Hall position to protect the integrity of the November 5 municipal election. As a political aide to Mayor Ravi Bhalla working in his Office of Constituent Affairs, this is an unprecedented situation where Pagan-Milano has direct access to government resources and sensitive voter information. Councilman DeFusco believes Pagan-Milano must voluntarily remove herself from her position for the duration of the election to eliminate all conflicts of interest and ensure taxpayer-funded resources will not be used for political purposes.
“Everyone has the right to run for political office, but running a candidate who simultaneously collects a City Hall paycheck and reports directly to the mayor is a clear lapse of ethical judgment and poses a huge conflict of interest,” said Councilman DeFusco. “It is unfathomable that Mayor Bhalla would take a page out of Hudson County’s troubled past by supporting a candidate who is willing to push his political agenda rather than serve as an independent leader who will do what is best for Hoboken. The First Ward deserves a clean, fair election based only on the merits of the candidates’ ideas, experience and vision, and as long as my opponent is an active city employee I am concerned that this will not be possible.”
Councilman DeFusco recently sponsored a sweeping ethics reform plan to prevent city resources from being misused for political purposes, and he has been a consistent voice against insider politics and the local political establishment.