Council finally passes simple budget line item shift 8-1

In a vote proving the third time is the charm, the City Council finally passed a resolution with numerous items allowing a critical element to finally pass – City payroll for firefighters.

With numerous problems cited by Corporation Counsel Mark Tabakin if the the budget items were not readily shifted and after much bickering on peripheral issues about obtaining information by the council minority, including a raise going back to September for the mayor’s Chief of Staff, the vote was 8-1 in favor.

Councilwoman Beth Mason was the lone vote against the line item transfers a simple procedure noted by regular public speaker Scott Siegel who noted leading into the discussion it routinely takes hundreds of other municipalities 10 minutes to do so.

Councilwoman Beth Mason read a prepared statement attracting attention from the Business Administrator who invited her and all members of the council to submit questions in advance of the meeting with enough time to obtain an answer.  Mason complained that she should be able to do so in public before the cameras and Liston mocked her repeatedly saying it was “a game.”

When Mason complained about $600 there was audible laughter among council members.  Mason complained about the laughter and said people earn that much in a week and it’s not a laughing matter.

Hoboken’s budget is approximately $100 million annually.

Business Administrator Arch Liston again invited council members to
submit questions well in advance of meetings.  He clashed with Councilwoman
Beth Mason who insists on doing so on camera at the meeting.
Liston repeatedly called that behavior a game and mocked her speech
saying she spent more than $600 to have someone write it for her.

Talking Ed Note: MSV can confirm this is true as one of Mason’s political operatives in Hoboken is paid $400 a week.  Then again he does have a county job likely earning over the $600 a week Beth Mason mentioned.

Beth Mason says she writes her own speeches.  BA Arch Liston mocked that too sarcastically noting that he believed her but it was obvious he didn’t.  For the record, neither does MSV but then again, does anyone?

The mayor’s Chief of Staff now earns $65,000 from $44,000 earlier this year and originally a paltry 35K back in November 2009.  That current figure sits at almost half of the starting salary of ex-mayor Peter Cammarano’s at $125,00.  That was a starting salary that didn’t last a month when a resignation was submitted before Cammarano’s.

Council President Ravi Bhalla noted former mayor and convicted felon Anthony Russo’s Chief of Staff earned $70,000 almost 18 years ago.  His remarks were impeded by Councilman Michael Russo who attempted to interject repeatedly.

Russo would complain he was attending college then and his father had only three directors.
Too bad not one of them stopped his father from stealing.

Update:  Ironically that brings up the issue of Russo’s parents taking $100,000 in benefits with no legal basis to receive them until March earlier this year.  An audit led by BA Liston is what stopped that taxpayer ripoff.

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