Horse Sense: Mason & Russo – time to clean up your mess
With the takeover of the City Council complete at least until the council elections in May, Beth Mason and Mike Russo have been running their playbook joined at the hip. Their biggest challenge in the first City Council meeting in 2011 with the overthrow of the sitting Council President was taking on the mayor’s temporary budget, typically a straightforward process where a NJ municipality takes three months based on a percentage in the range of 26.5% from the previous budget until a required audit is completed.
That of course was not good enough for Mike Russo and Beth Mason. They plotted over days obviously leading into the meeting with a plan to undermine a three month temporary budget by half the time claiming it was “to put the administration’s feet to the fire.”
|Now holding power over the City Council, Beth Mason and Mike Russo look more and more alike|
So where’s the fire or better yet, where’s the beef? The whole grandstanding process turned into a descent into the Twilight Zone with Mike Russo springing his budget on to the Council and finance professionals present demanding it be immediately acted upon. With a working majority, it was a perfect example of a typical staged attack with the purpose of making as much trouble as possible with next to no benefit. Actually, what benefit did Mike Russo introduce as a reason for subjecting the Council, city professionals and public to this handwritten budget from off the back of his dinner napkin? He didn’t give one.
And where is transparency available to us as Beth Mason said recently on another matter back in only December? This so called temporary budget amendment was sprung on the public just like her and Russo’s midnight “emergency” power grab – with no transparency whatsoever.
Clearly Beth Mason and Mike Russo plan springing politrickin like this on a regular basis right through the May council elections. It’s all part of a clear premeditated “shock and awe,” program to make the public think they are actually doing something useful.
Last year, there was plenty of noise from both Beth Mason and Mike Russo on the budget and that’s where it ended. Neither worked to make any significant reductions in the surprisingly useful budget workshops where some real hard work by Directors in the Administration and City Council members produced savings in the range of several hundred thousands of dollars.
Can Beth Mason or Mike Russo make any such claim they played a significant role in those efforts? Beth Mason actually made a complaint one of the two workshops was not noticed properly and refused to join her colleagues on the dais. Instead she showed up, complained the meeting was improper and then sat in the sparse audience offering no value whatsoever to the 2nd ward or any Hoboken residents. (The City Clerk confirmed the meeting was in fact properly noticed.)
Tonight at 8:00, Beth Mason and Mike Russo have to clean up their mess. If they fail again, city employees can’t be paid as the cutoff is Tuesday. Joined philosophically in siding with city employees over the taxpayer, how ironic does it get?
Of course if any disaster should befall the town since their foolish actions leading to no bills being paid by the city in almost a week, they’ll just turn around and blame the Administration. The concept of shame seems devoid from their character when they enter council chambers.
Put power in the hands of the incompetent where ability is far exceeded by craven ambition and this is the result.
Correction: The state standard for a temporary budget is not in the range of 26.5% as stated but exactly 26.25%.