MORTe to lawyers defending City: Go scratch!
In the special meeting of the City Council, MORTe was given not one but two opportunities to provide adequate funding for more than two dozen legal matters. As in last week’s City Council meeting MORTe (minus an absent Councilwoman Beth Mason who was out of town on family business) voted down the emergency appropriation for the second and third time.
The Council was presented with a legal shortfall through march of approximately $136,000 and voted twice short a necessary sixth vote for an emergency appropriation with only five votes in favor.
The meeting showed a usual path with typical “gotcha” games starring Councilman Michael Russo asking for detailed information on any number of cases of Corporation Counsel Mark Tabakin. After a tedious thirty minutes of back and forth Q&A, Tabakin finally asked why he didn’t get any questions in advance of the meeting while Russo did his usual routine of accusing him as other directors before of “not doing your job.”
All council members had the documentation about a week and a half ago.
No facts from Tabakin would change Russo’s opinion, as no facts on a funding deficit for legal work on more than two dozen legal cases and firefighters pay would sway a required approving vote. Tim Occhipinti and Terry Castellano both weighed in blocking the required sixth vote for emergency appropriations.
Funding the legal work doesn’t mean the City Council approve final billings, as that review would come later.
Councilwoman Jen Giattino may have encapsulated MORTe’s contradictions best by noting they don’t want legal work performed without prior authorization and when it’s brought to them, they won’t authorize it.
The above clip on the Monarch Project shows the political problem when pretending there is adequate funds to handle 29 legal cases exists even when told to the exact figure they don’t. As a result the attempt for Castellano-Occhipinti-Russo to say they support legal work to retain a lawyer to work on the Monarch while refusing to provide the funding is exposed. (Beth Mason did not call in a vote so she in essence voted no with MORTe again.)
Of course they are also contradicting what they argued against previously on legal work.
The mayor responded to the latest rejection by MORTe to the funding stating, “Tonight the City Council minority refused to fund to fight the Monarch project, defend the City against litigation, and pay our firefighters for overtime due to the recent fire. This refusal is an irresponsible breach of their fiduciary duty to the City of Hoboken”
Talking Ed Note: In MORTe’s defense, if they don’t play politics and sabotage the City what else can they do? As was noted correctly by Councilman Peter Cunningham who highlighted their recent history of sabotage to deplete the surplus in last year’s budget, vote down the refinancing of the hospital’s midtown garage even though it would ADD $50,000 to the City’s revenues and of course try to blow up the sale of the hospital itself.
Terry Castellano hated hearing about the hospital sabotage and claimed that wasn’t reality but obviously Cunningham’s remarks hit the mark. Most of Castellano’s remarks on the legal cases involved her supporting city personnel suing the City and attacking the mayor for deeming some cases “frivalous.” She complained that unnamed people were not offered “settlements,” and described Lt. Andriani’s behavior as “boorish” implying he should not be terminated for his SWAT antics and arrest at a Tampa Bay Airport.
What more do you need to know? There’s the “game” right there.