Beth Mason’s non-binding resolution on layoffs fails in a 5-4 vote

In what came as no surprise, Councilwoman Beth Mason’s non-binding resolution disapproving the police reorganization and layoffs failed 5-4.  Council members Mike Russo and Terry Castellano who have family in the Hoboken Police Department were joined by Nino Giacchi.
The mayor’s council majority led by City Council President Carol Marsh along with Mike Lenz, Peter Cunningham, Ravi Bhall and David Mello stood up to a roomful of police, their supporters and family members in supporting the mayor’s plan.
Many members of the public spoke against the police layoffs, those in the audience were largely residents of Marine View and also the Hoboken Housing Authority.  The rambunctious crowd more representative of citizens outside of the Hoboken Police Department were often loud in voicing both approval and disapproval with council comments along with different public speakers.

The Council of No – voiced strong frustration on police layoffs.  Terry Castellano again charged the mayor as being anti-Hoboken claiming a discriminatory posture due to her being against people who are born in Hoboken.  Councilman Ravi Bhalla described that claim as “unfortunate.”

Former Councilwoman Terry Labruno

The Council of No members voiced frustration with the council majority.  Often they speak of budget cutting and reducing taxes but they offered no concrete methods to raise the approximately $2.5 million to offset the police reorganization and municipal plan put forward by the administration.  Numerically the layoffs are about equal for both police and municipal but the value of the reductions on the police side is substantially higher.

The public portion of the meeting ran close to four hours leading into the vote on Beth Mason’s non-binding resolution on police layoffs.  Terry LaBruno, a former City Council member, spoke about the resolution claiming it held overriding power to the mayor’s authority.  Her stated claim cheered by the audience however is incorrect.

Later, in a direct Q&A with Business Administrator Arch Liston, Councilman Ravi Bhalla queried the impact on a hot issue: whether street patrols would be impacted.  Mr. Liston said he was working on an almost daily basis with Police Chief Falco and said the cooperation was continuing with an expectation no reductions in street patrol would occur.  Many in the audience voiced disapproval with that discussion.

Among many members of the public speaking was three year officer Jonathan E. Mecka.  The young officer who was unavailable to speak at the last meeting described the layoffs that would cost him his job as “a mistake.”

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