BREAKING: Councilwoman Mason calls for special meeting Monday; public meetings act not satisfied


Late Friday afternoon Councilwoman Beth Mason sent a letter to City Hall stating a special City Council meeting would be held late Monday on important “personnel” matters.  The letter included notifications to council members and the Jersey Journal.  Notification by letter to a media outlet does not satisfy the requirement of a meeting to be noticed to the public.

According to a source close to the Administration, it’s unknown what the Councilwoman hopes to gain in holding a meeting on personnel matters believed to be related to the IT members no longer working at City Hall.  A criminal investigation by the FBI is ongoing.

The mayor can call a special meeting of the City Council but the Council Chair can not.  Instead there must be five members agreeing to such a meeting.  But there’s another conflict.  Five members are not permitted to hold such a gathering without adequate public notice.  It’s unknown how such a meeting agreeing to a Monday special City Council meeting could have been called.

At the last City Council meeting, the Beth Russo ‘majority’ fought strenuously to not hear comment from the FBI via the Corporation Counsel on the resolution requesting emails from the mayor’s two staff members and local media, reform writers and people in recent political reform campaigns.

The resolution brought back for the third time, finally was passed after executive session with an amendment stating the FBI would decide on what emails would be released.  The FBI has not commented on its investigation and is not likely to respond to the request with an ongoing criminal matter at hand.

Monday evening MSV will see if there is in fact a meeting.  Councilwoman Beth Mason has often complained of inadequate notice for holding special meetings.  Last year she refused to sit on the dais for a budget meeting as she complained the notices to local media outlets was insufficient.  The City Clerk would indicate the meeting was properly noticed to media in time but the Councilwoman refused to participate and sat in the audience listening.

It’s unclear how the meeting was organized and who will in fact attend.  Corporation Counsel Mark Tabakin is not in Hoboken on Mondays and Business Administrator Arch Liston and the reform council members may or may not.  Councilman Ravi Bhalla is unlikely to attend.  He’s running for an Assembly seat on Tuesday.

Talking Ed Note:  Theories abound on why this meeting is being called.  Sabotage of the FBI investigation would be considered by some a motive but another is that this is some sort of desperation move to either change the subject as the pressure is mounting from the FBI interviews around town.

Others believe that attorneys have been put on retainer and are telling Councilwoman Mason to obtain whatever information the city may have on the case and what was provided to the FBI.  MSV contacted the FBI asking for comment on the case but the duty officer declined.

Councilwoman Beth Mason was contacted for this story.  A voicemail was left requesting confirmation of the meeting asking if it was properly noticed.

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