Appeals court to Old Guard Council plea not to vote on Jim Doyle: Get Lost!


The Hudson Superior Court Appellate Division rejected the Old Guard Council appeal stopping an earlier Hudson County court order for a vote on Jim Doyle’s council appointment by the full body of the Hoboken City Council. 

The decision coming at the end of last week according to sources close to the county court means the original court order in December calling for a full vote of all council members last month will be held after the written decision is distributed.

The appeal by MORTe (beth Mason, tim Occhipinti, mike Russo and Terry castellano) argued they would be “irreparably harmed” if called to vote as ordered by Hudson County Superior Court Assignment Judge Peter Bariso.   

A City Council vote would likely end in a 4-4 tie with abstentions counted as a no leading to a tie breaking vote cast by Mayor Zimmer, an outcome MORTe clearly has fought to avoid.  The council seat is open due to Carol Marsh’s resignation effective early October.

Hudson County Superior Judge Peter Bariso’s standing order for a vote of the full council called last month returns as the order of the day with the action on his order last month decided in the coming days.

Most observers recognize the staged absences, first by Beth Mason and then by Mike Russo was a ruse to avoid a full council vote leading to Jim Doyle’s appointment within a 30 day window called for under NJ statute.  

Without a council appointment as last seen in 2009, the seat could be filled by a special election or remain open until the next election in November deadlocking the council with four reform oriented members against four Old Guard council votes.

Assignment Judge Peter Bariso’s ruling the full Hoboken City Council vote on the council appointment of Jim Doyle 
has been upheld by the NJ Appellate Court.

Although Councilwoman Terry Castellano has claimed in an previous council meeting Beth Mason was out of the country, Mason herself has never offered a reason why she failed to show up or call in at the early October council meeting on a matter of utmost importance: a council appointment.  As a matter of basic professionalism, if a council member can not make a meeting, they are suppose to notify the council president and the City Clerk’s office in advance.  

Mason gave no notification and has refused to answer the question.  Instead she attacked Peter Cunningham and Carol Marsh each time she’s been asked about her absence for their leaving another council meeting before it began unrelated to the issue.

Beth Mason was also reportedly to have said about Judge Bariso’s court order calling for a full vote of council members, “No one can make me vote.”  Now with the appeal underwritten by family’s money rejected, the ruling opinion of Judge Peter Bariso stands and Mason must decide if she will again run away from the council responsibility and again embrace breaking the law.  

Mason’s excessive donations to the BoE Move Forward campaign were deemed illegal by the City’s legal counsel but Mason countered that the ordinance does not apply to her as she does not wish to have her family’s monetary contributions restricted.

A full vote of the council on the subject of Jim Doyle’s appointment could take place as soon as the Appellate Court’s decision reaches the Hudson County Superior Court and the original court order calling for the council to vote acted upon, perhaps as soon as this week.

As a result, a special City Council meeting may need to be scheduled.

Phil Cohen, a Hoboken activist responded to news about the decision via email, “The Council Minority made an absurd argument claiming they would suffer irreparable harm if they had to vote on Jim Doyle’s appointment.  They argued that the same way the United States Supreme Court needed to stop the Florida recount, effectively deciding the 2000 Presidential election for George W. Bush, the New Jersey Appellate Court needed to shut down Judge Bariso’s order, effectively stopping Jim Doyle’s appointment to the City Council…  While we can expect the Appellate Division to turn aside the Council Minority’s appeal, it is important for Hoboken’s voters to ask themselves this question; Is the Council Minority putting Hoboken first or putting their personal interests first?

I think the answer is clear.”

One answer not clear is how much the legal action the Old Guard council members have cost Hoboken taxpayers in their rigorous efforts to avoid voting.

Two members of MORTE suing their council colleagues and Hoboken residents, Tim Occhipinti and Michael Russo were contacted and unavailable for comment at the time of publishing this story. 

Council members are paid approximately $25,000 per year with voting on issues before the council an essential part of the job.

The written decision came down today from the Appellate Court Judges.
Apparently, they didn’t think much of Beth Mason’s fancy NY lawyers and their Bush -Gore
argument.  The written decision was sharply worded.  One word:
Monday update: It’s a one word message to MORTE from the appeal panel of judges: 


Talking Ed Note: MSV is looking forward to finding out how much it’s cost the people of Hoboken.  The only problem is once the figure is determined, how are the Hoboken residents to recover their money?

Can Hoboken people recover the funds from Beth Mason, Tim Occhipinti, Mike Russo and Terry Castellano by having the money deducted from their council pay?

The idea, a long shot would at least serve a modicum of justice.    

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