New Legal Sheriff in town

City Hall announced today a new Corporation Counsel.  The release follows:

12/4/09: Mayor Zimmer announced today the addition of Michael B. Kates, Esq., to serve as the City of Hoboken’s new Corporation Counsel. Current Corporation Counsel Steve Kleinman has resigned effective Monday, December 7th, 2009, to pursue opportunities in the private sector.  He will serve in a transitional capacity as an Assistant Corporation Counsel through January 15, 2010.
Mr. Kates is a partner at Kates Nussman Rapone Ellis & Farhi with extensive experience in municipal law, zoning and planning.  He has served as municipal attorney for the Township of Teaneck, and the Borough of Fair Lawn, as counsel to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for the Boroughs of Closter and Alpine and Counsel to the Planning Boards of Teaneck and Englewood Cliffs.
Mr. Kates has received the highest rating (AV) from Martindale-Hubbell (a national and international database for the legal community based upon peer review), and has been selected, by peer review, as a 2009 New Jersey Super Lawyer in the category of land use and zoning.
“We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to retain Mr. Kates,” said Mayor Zimmer. “His expertise in land use and zoning will be of particular importance, given the numerous development issues facing our City. I thank Mr. Kleinman for serving our City ably and I wish him well in his future pursuits. ”
Mr. Kates will serve on a fixed fee basis of $103,500 per year.  Since he will be an independent contractor rather than an employee of the City, he will not receive health or other benefits from the City.
A copy of his resume is attached.
After two and a half years as the full-time Hoboken Corporation Counsel, Steve Kleinman will be resigning from his position to pursue other professional opportunities. 
“I thank Mr. Kleinman for his service to the City and for remaining through a transition period,” Mayor Zimmer said.  Mr. Kleinman will officially resign from his position as corporation counsel on Monday, December 7th.  He will assist with a transition period until January 15,2010.
 On behalf of the State, Fiscal Monitor Judy Tripodi also expressed her thanks to Mr. Kleinman for his service to the city and his continued cooperation.
“I think she has chosen a very qualified successor, and I intend to work closely with Mr. Kates over the next several weeks to ensure the smooth transition that the City deserves,” Mr. Kleinman said.    “I am grateful to Mayor Zimmer for giving me the opportunity to serve, and I wish her and her Administration well.”

Talking Ed Note:  Either legal representation just got a lot cheaper or City Hall really knows how to cut a deal.  Bringing a well experienced corporation counsel at a salary like this with no benefits cost to Hoboken?  They need a plaque to mark this day in city government.  The culture of corruption just took a shot to the gut.  

Update: 3:40 – To commenter’s questions, we forwarded same to City Hall.  Daniel Bryan, spokesman in a statement responded, He (Kleinman) was hired at 115k, and although he never received a ‘raise’ per say, cost of living increases have brought it up to the 117 range over his three years.

Kates’ role is full time in terms of responsiveness but not physically being in City Hall. We are working out the structure.”

Kates Resume

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