Councilman David Mello probably never thought taking on more work would find so much opposition but it did when he finally was appointed 6-2 after a long debate with members of the public and council arguing the appointment and other unrelated matters.
The City Council has become a grind on the most basic of issues with grandstanding and inability to follow the most basic decorum, this not due to lack of effort by Council President Ravi Bhalla. Councilman Michael Russo was not present to see his replacement appointed.
In a minor flap, one of the remaining candidates competing for the HHA position, Joseph Branco a local business owner decided his petitioning efforts to the council would go right up until the bell. Other candidates who had considered themselves for the role had stood down after some initial consideration.
Branco who formerly supported Peter Cammarano for mayor but has been working in support of Mayor Zimmer in recent years complained about the lack of transparency in the process noting the resolution for the appointment was not blank but contained Mello’s name. The practice of filling in the name on a council appointment has not been the case in recent years under the Zimmer led majority.
Additional criticism offered by Branco on Mello being named to multiple boards was also cited with references to MSV and a story quoting the mayor. But those criticisms were actually incorrect on the substance. Mello holds an elected position as a councilman and is now appointed to a single board role.
Previously, Mello has served on the Planning Board but that position mandated by law now sits another council member: Carol Marsh. Some concerns in the discussion centered around the amount of work Mello has with an additional board position. He handled the load similarly in the past.
Councilwoman Terry Castellano put Joseph Branco’s name into nomination delaying the inevitable vote approving Mello to replace Councilman Michael Russo. HHA board positions serve for five year terms.
Councilman David Mello was appointed to the Hoboken Housing Authority board tonight in a 6-2 vote.
Talking Ed Note: MSV would like to issue a correction and apology to Eduardo Gonzalez who also holds a seat on the seven member Hoboken Housing Board. In earlier stories Gonzalez was mentioned as the treasurer of the Friends of Beth Mason committee in 2011 and that is not the case. MSV would like to note a correction would have been issued sooner if that information was known. Our apologies for the error.
Hoboken Politico Perry Belfiore is back in form speaking on multiple issues showing an uncanny interest in transparency, well at least when he can wield it against reform council members which he does with gusto. He commented on our taking photographs at the meeting.
Does the Old Guard really need to hear that public meetings are public venues for photography? If you don’t want to have your picture taken in a public meeting then don’t come. Somehow over the years other Old Guard people have learned that. Others such as Nick Calicchio who has acted thuggishly on more than one occasion at government meetings decided to yell out to not take photos. He also yelled out at a public speaker calling him “a commie.” He then proceeded to ignore warnings from Council President Ravi Bhalla to not get out of order, leave his seat and get two feet from us with his cell phone to take photos. We placed our camera between us to restrict his invasion of personal space.
Never saying a word, MSV was told to join Mr. Calicchio in leaving the meeting.
Calicchio has done that exact routine in other meetings: BoE and City Council. Da Horsey protests. We would have stayed through resolution #1 but instead watched at home with the Ranger game.
Quentin Wiest was officially voted Hoboken Business Administrator
He fills the role left by Arch Liston at the same salary of 150K.
Correction: The vote on Councilman David Mello’s appointment was actually 6-2. Councilwoman Beth Mason voted in favor after a discussion with Councilwoman Jen Giattino demonstrated she had spoken to all four candidates.