HHA Board to renew legal counsel RFP

At the regular scheduled Hoboken Housing Authority meeting held at City Hall last Thursday, a determination to restart the RFP process replacing existing counsel Charles Dalian will temporarily allow him to remain as a holdover.

The counsel position had been one of the foremost contentious issues going back two HHA chairs (two years) as the board rejected former HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia’s insistence they repeatedly vote to approve his selection of Charles Daglian.  The HHA ED is a contracted position serving at the pleasure of the board.
Mr. Garcia attempted to install Daglian as official HHA counsel more than six times. Depending on how you count, a seventh attempt failed due to a lack of quorum when several HHA commissioners were out of town.

In the end, the stalemate between Garcia and a HHA board which refused to rubber-stamp his selection maintained the status quo as the former HHA Executive Director kept Daglian was carried in holdover status far longer than a one year contract approval.

The latest RFP process was called “flawed” by Chair Dana Wefer for numerous reasons. Among them, one firm  on the last RFP list was declared “a concern” when Wefer discovered the application came via Carmelo Garcia Assembly aide Chris Campos’ fax number. 
Garcia had consistently demanded under his tenure he be “the sole appointing authority” on all contracts and employee matters. Some legal observers have stated this authority, one of many generous terms installed in Carmelo Garcia’s controversial contract is not legal.

The Hudson County View recorded this video at last Thursday’s meeting and filed this report.

Assembly aide Chris Campos who reportedly makes $40,000 under Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia responded with outrage to the questions of his participation in the process. According to HCV, Campos complained, “I find it shocking… there must be a more sinister plan here. What’s the real issue?”

HHA Chair however differed simply calling the effort by Garcia’s Assembly aide “extremely improper.”

For the full HCV story, see the link:

Talking Ed Note: Was Carmelo Garcia about to steer the contract through his Assembly aide? Is that ethical or legal? The point is moot. There’s a new sheriff in town and her name is Dana Wefer.

Politcos of many stripes in Hoboken and Hudson County are “blaming” the mayor for terminating Carmelo Garcia’s contract. Mayor Zimmer however deserves none of the credit. It was HHA Chair Dana Wefer who requested and reviewed several contracts leading to a cascade of revelations all problematic to Carmelo Garcia’s tenure and eventual termination.

Each time you poked under the covers, illicit activity was exposed. When HUD Newark, months after reports of procurement problems came to light on MSV decided to “sample” HHA contracts, the audit findings were already out and News 12 had jumped on another MSV story highlighting alleged possible kickbacks from HHA vendors to Carmelo Garcia’s campaign committee. The same HHA vendors had no current contract with the HHA and had not been approved as required by the HHA’s board.

After Carmelo Garcia’s contract was terminated, HUD Newark revealed its contract sampling showed procurement problems for each and every one reviewed. An official report is expected.

The cascade at the HHA is expected to continue. On the list is the Section 8 voucher program, another problematic area HUD Washington holds a strong interest. Stay tuned.

Related: The MSV July story, “HHA audit findings spell TROUBLE for Carmelo Garcia.”

Leave a Reply