HHA Commissioner Jake Stuiver questions Carmelo Garcia’s insubordination on legal contract process

Dear Horsey:
I wish to thank and applaud the Reform contingent of the
Hoboken Housing Authority Board of Commissioners – David Mello, Judy Burrell
and Greg Lincoln – for their strong and unified opposition to Executive
Director Carmelo Garcia and Chairman Rob Davis’ illegal attempt to ram the
ethically challenged general counsel’s contract down the board’s throat for a
fifth time.
The attorney, Charles Daglian, has repeatedly sidestepped
his professional ethics and objectively in favor of functioning as what has
been accurately referred to as a private consigliere to Director Garcia. In
February, an outside legal opinion from Hoboken Corporation Counsel Mellissa
Longo and an independent evaluation by the federal Department of Housing and
Urban Development strongly criticized Daglian’s conduct at a Feb. 7 board
meeting. The HUD memo deemed his conduct “self-serving and may also violate the
attorney’s code of ethics.” A section of HUD’s evaluation headlined “Perceived
impropriety of current general counsel” stated ”the matter is of great concern
to us because it raises suspicions that undermine the integrity of the
procurement process.”
The alarming HUD statements should have created at least one
issue all board members could agree on, that continued employment of Daglian
would be inappropriate and fiduciarily irresponsible. However, at the May
meeting, Garcia again exercised his uncommonly unilateral appointing authority
and submitted Daglian’s contract for another vote, and Vice Chairman Gonzalez,
Chairman Davis and Commissioner Rodriguez apparently placed political loyalties
above proper procedures and voted for Daglian’s renewal. The resolution failed
3-3, yet in an extraordinarily novel and subjective interpretation of the law,
Garcia and Davis opted to interpret the tie vote as something other than a
failure of the resolution, putting the contract before the board yet again this
month without an RFQ, to another failure.
Ruben Ramos running-mate Gonzalez needs to determine whether
his political ambitions should be served at the expense of responsible HHA oversight.
Helping Director Garcia fight for an attorney who has lost the board majority’s
trust and aroused HUD’s suspicions is indefensible. Similarly, Gonzalez’s vote
to suppress the Corporation Counsel memo critical of Garcia, Daglian and the
procurement process, and his public attempt to discredit me as having somehow
done something improper by releasing the critical HUD memo to the press, are
the actions of a commissioner who knows there may be something to hide that
could impact his ticket’s political credibility.
I’m proud to say the Reform board majority stands united in
its effort to bring transparency and accountability to the HHA. Over the past
several weeks, political opportunists have pandered and grandstanded in support
of the controversial “Vision 20/20” plan to expand the HHA. The board majority
remains committed to the idea that while the residents most certainly deserve
safe and comfortable housing, the first step to meeting that goal is to provide
accountable and dedicated management whose mission is optimal facilities
maintenance rather than pursuit of the next rung on the political ladder,
working alongside a trustworthy general counsel who the board respects as a
defender of the agency’s interests and not a personal political hack.
Jake Stuiver
Hoboken Housing Authority
Board of Commissioners
HHA commissioner Jake Stuiver (r) questions why the Executive Director Carmelo Garcia would insist on presenting
the same attorney over and over even after HUD itself raised serious questions of propriety in the process.

Hoboken Patch had a letter Friday from Chairman Rob Davis up.  The letter speaks in the first person about an internal committee on counsel contracts led by Carmelo Garcia not Rob Davis.  As MSV said there: oops!

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