Battle anticipated on HHA legal counsel contract Thursday – for fifth time!


HHA counsel contract returns from prior meeting for Charles Daglian with fifth vote scheduled

The Hoboken Housing Authority Agenda yesterday reveals its legal counsel contract is up for consideration this Thursday night.  Again, as in for the fifth time the past year. 
After the resolution to rename Charlie Daglian failed in the prior meeting on a 3-3 vote,  it was thought a public bidding process would again start as required by state law.
The four prior votes failed to produce a legal vote for a HHA counsel and months long holdover Charles Daglian saw his participation on the board leading to a vote for his own contract questioned by a HUD review of the vote reappointing him held last March, calling it legally flawed.  
The scathing indictment of the counsel contract by HUD under HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia has seen no compromise candidate/law firm emerge since.  A critical memo requested by then Chairman Stuiver of the City’s Corporation Counsel last February was met with derision by the Garcia faction of HHA commissioners who voted it not be released to the public.  The memo deemed the vote in March to reappoint Charles Dagalian invalid.
The HHA finds itself deadlocked as the Hoboken City Council on an appointment with Garcia refusing to allow a replacement to Daglian to move forward in the procurement process with a vote.  
The vote planned Thursday night with no restarted procurement process since the last meeting is sure to cause more strife in the struggle between the Executive Director Carmelo Garcia who is again challenging commissioners for questioning the “sole appointing” powers in his contract.  The controversial contract was thought to be subject to renegotiation when a questions on the contract’s status was raised in a meeting earlier this year.  A vote on his termination was withheld with the agreement of updating the terms more to the current board’s liking.  
Garcia’s contract hidden from public view and the full HHA board of commissioners was first published on MSV in early February.  The controversial terms of the contract with generous time off was negotiated by Charles Daglian. 
After reviewing the HHA agenda, commissioner Jake Stuiver who is like Daglian a holdover with a fractured Hoboken City Council unable to agree on his replacement, wrote via email saying he believed Director Garcia was staging an illegal vote outside the legal process with the belief he would not be attending.  Dispelling that notion he harshly criticized Garcia saying he had brought back Charles Daglian for the counsel contract twice since the HUD’s memo in March outlining “perceived impropriety of current general counsel.”
Stuiver followed writing, “This time Mr. Garcia is attempting to circumvent the legally required process of reissuing the RFQ for a new round of bids following the Board’s rejection of the most recent proposal at its May meeting.  When I inquired about the legality of asking the Board to revote the contract without rebidding first, I was told that the resolution to reappoint Mr. Daglian technically did not fail last month because there was a 3-3 tie. This statement is preposterous and is a direction violation of Roberts Rules, HHA Board by-laws, the HHA procurement policy and quite frankly, the law.” 
In a phone interview late yesterday, Director Garcia viewed the upcoming counsel contract vote on the agenda Thursday differently saying, “It’s a new resolution on the recommendation that was put forth with respect to a commissioner (Greg Lincoln) to review the proposals.  Speaking of the vote on the counsel contact at the prior meeting, Garcia said, “Even though it fails, it’s a new resolution.”
Some Q&A led to Garcia tailoring his answer further, “The Chair (Rob Davis) has a right for a resoltuion to the firm that they can review.  The Chair has a right to put a resolution (before) the board that exists because you have the opportunity on the basis on what (commissioner) Lincoln had stated to bring it back under a new resolution, under new dates, on the premise on that process that you had.”
Garcia was referring to comments at the last meeting by commissioner Greg Lincoln who had said due to his child’s illness he had not had adequate time to review the agenda packet leading into the meeting.  Lincoln voted “no” on reappointing Dagliagn in the failed 3-3 vote.
On the counsel contract process itself Garcia said, “We’ve gone out (rebidding) four times… The criteria we had in place, if the Chair says, (it’s) his prerogative to have that matter brought because that commissioner hadn’t reviewed that.”
As for the legal review on how Garcia came to this conclusion, he took single-handed ownership saying of Mr. Daglian, “He can’t give an opinion (on bringing the contract vote back) because it involves him.
Garcia concluded there will be a vote on the HHA counsel contract saying, “Whatever happens Thursday, it’s the desire of the board. It’s not my fight.”
At an HHA meeting earlier this year, HHA ED Camelo Garcia pleas his case to then Chairman Jake Stuiver to
reappoint HHA counsel Charles Daglian.
Talking Ed Note: The HHA meeting is scheduled to begin 6:00 pm at 220 Adams. St.  Commissioner Judy Burrell is believed not attending due to a conflicting event.  It’s not known if she will be participating by phone.
Leading into a previous HHA counsel contract vote last February, Garcia told the commissioners failing to vote in favor of Daglian was “criminal and unethical.”
MSV covered that meeting and filed this story immediately questioning the vote:

MSV has not seen the resolution for the HHA legal contract but believes it’s in the area of 45K.

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