Mayor’s Office: Division of Authority on Police staffing

The decision to lay off employees was the most difficult decision I have ever made since entering public office, and the personal accounts I heard at last night’s Council meeting reinforced this.
It was important for me to be there and listen.
The work that the Hoboken Police Department does is crucial to our community, and I, as well as all Hoboken residents, appreciate their dedication to the City. Public safety remains a very important priority, and I will not compromise the safety of our community.
As Mayor, I represent everyone in Hoboken – those who were in the room last night and those who were not, and I have made these difficult decisions with the best interests of all Hoboken residents in mind. Further, I think it is important for the Police Department, Hoboken residents, and the City Council to understand that while my office works closely with the City Council in a cooperative and collaborative way, issues related to layoffs and staffing levels are the decision of the Administration. 
Clarification of Executive Function
According to Corporation Counsel Michael Kates and Business Administrator Arch Liston, the Council has the right to disagree or “disapprove” and state their position, but they do not have the authority to overrule an Administration decision or direct the Administration to take action. 
This clarification needs to be made due to the misimpression that may have been created by the incorrect assertion by some Council members last night that the City Council has the authority to direct the Administration to follow their instructions on personnel matters.
Without advance notice to the City Council President or Council Vice President, the City Clerk or Corporation Counsel, a Member of the Council attempted at last night’s meeting to offer a resolution prepared in advance of the meeting, which was tabled to the next Council meeting on September 15.
The Resolution clearly crosses the line that separates the roles of the governing body and the Administration, and is a patent attempt to usurp the role of the Administration.  Under our form of government, there is a separation of functions between the Council, which is a legislative body, and the Administration, who performs the executive function.  The Council does not have the power to rescind an action of the Administration or to direct the Business Administrator or Mayor to do so.
The Faulkner Act form of government empowers the executive branch with broad powers and duties (N.J.S.A. 40:69A-40) including supervising, directing and controlling all departments (subsection c). Within the legislative power, the Council can express its disapproval of a plan to remove employees (N.J.S.A. 40:69A-36d).  But the Council cannot direct the rescission of actions taken within executive authority.
“I respect the views of the Council Members, and I invite them to share them with me publicly or privately,” added Mayor Zimmer. “I will continue to consider their views as I make the difficult decisions that lie ahead.”
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