Friday, January 6, 2017

Council demotes ZBA Commissioner


Hell hath frozen over.

After watching the Wednesday night City Council debate to 'swap' a ZBA Commissioner with a ZBA First Alternate, GA agrees with Mike Russo! (and Ramos and DeFusco and Mello.)

GA is taken aback that a sitting ZBA Commissioner in good standing was demoted for a 'swap' with a ZBA First Alternate.  The optics of the Council reaching into an autonomous board to swap (demote/promote) parties without cause sucks.

Or should I say, reeks...    

If  ZBA Commsssioner Granas (who GA doesn't know) was not doing a good job, then its reasonable to 'fire' him when his term expires in three weeks.  That is what the public would expect.

But, that doesn't seem to be the case, according to the Council debate.

"Antonio is good but we like Dan better" is what it sounded like to me.   

Sure, a variety of reasons were given for demoting Granas.  A few spoke about his "philosophy." One spoke about "protecting" the city.  One spoke about his voting record.

Well, the opportunity to learn about Granas' "philosophy" was before hiring him in 2014.

I recall being grilled like a fish on about my philosophy by a skeptical Council person in 2009, before I was hired to my full-term seat.   As far as "protecting" the city as a reason to demote a sitting Commissioner- one independent-minded ZBA Commissioner is not a threat to our city.

Independent-thinkers who are hired to do a job, are honest, work hard and in good faith, should be not demoted.

If the City takes issue with their decision-making, or "philosophy" or feels they are somehow a "threat" then don't renew their contract- certanly don't keep them on the board!   In this case, all the above reasons were offered to slide Granas down in 'rank' - not remove him.  

 GA likes and respects Weaver; I  hear he does great work on the ZBA.

But like my friend Councilman Bhalla said, "First Alternates often get to vote" and Weaver does get to vote.  He also participates in discussion at the board meetings. Whether or not he votes, he has the opportunity to influence the opinion of the board.

So is there a material difference in the contribution that First Alternate Weaver will make when he takes Granas' spot?

Not enough, in my opinion, to justify the terrible message the Council has sent to the public.

Yes, the Council has sent a terrible message to members of the public considering putting themselves out for unpaid, volunteer and often thankless board service.

Message: you may work like a dog, sacrifice time with your family, get flack from the public (in my case, a LOT, related to this blog) and ultimately do the JOB, only to be demoted/humiliated by the body that hired you. 

Hey, GA has to keep it real and this is my opinion.  

Not from nothing- I served on the ZBA for 4 years myself, so understand how much work and responsibility it is; I spent hours prepping for each meeting. I also worked with Commissioners with whom I  had "philosophical" differences with on some applications.  Sometimes I had a "philosophical" difference with the majority.  Should I have been demoted for that?

The arbitrariness of demoting a Commissioner who has done nothing wrong has the appearance of favoritism and (sorry) hubris.   That is what it looks like. 

Don't believe GA?  This  message came from a stalwart Reform activist:

I don't know whose idea this was and why but its hard to see any conceivable legitimate justification other than the fact that Weaver has some influential personal friends.
  
In my opinion, the Council overstepped its authority.  It's the Council's job to thoroughly vet and exercise due diligence in the ZBA Commissioners they hire.   If the Council learns it erred in a decision, there's a remedy: "don't rehire" not "keep and humiliate."  

My unsolicited personal advice to Weaver- a good and decent unpaid volunteer- would be to serve out his term and apply for the next full term seat.  That's what I would do, but of course that's me.

My unsolicited personal advice to Granas would be to flip the Council the bird and resign.  Write a letters to the Editor, make a stink.  For your unpaid service, you got humiliated. That's what I would do, but of course that's me.

GA doesn't like all decisions my Reform peeps make, and have honest disagreements sometimes.

But, this action looks like something GA would rip our opponents for.

I invite any Council peeps to come on and tell me why I'm wrong.

GA note:  Does anybody know about "A Smarter Future" Treasurer Frank DeGrim's "philosophy?"  He was appointed Fourth Alternate to the ZBA last year. To this day, DeGrim has not filed a single R-1 ELEC report- this is the only ELEC on file:


 

30 comments:

  1. News to me, I agree it sounds both weird and wrong. Did the reformers who supported it give any reasons?

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    1. Reformers were on both sides. As stated above, "philosophical" reasons, etc. Clearly, I think it was wrong.

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    2. Looks like someone was maligned for no good reason
      I bet Zimmer wasn't happy about this, her planning appointments have been really far better than the council's Zoning Appointments

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  2. A demotion is not a compliment. If any Council member got demoted at work would they say "thank you" or ask "why?"

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  3. This is the political handy work of Jim Doyle, Activist and "Silent Hand " Leah Healy, Tiffanie Fisher, Carol Marsh, Peter Cunningham and James Aibel who hate all of Larry Bijou's projects and want to stop everything in this city. They are pissed that Grana supported the Mile Sq Theater's new Children's Theater Building. You see, unless it's about protecting the misguided investors who live on The Hudson Tea Building's lower floor's and those who want to drive their Range Rovers to Whole Food's This City Council doesn't give a rats ass about any other areas.

    Those ZB members voted against:
    Bijou's
    West Elm
    Anthony Pin's new Cafe
    Gravity Vault
    Mile Sq Children's Theater
    Gansevort Market
    Starbucks
    to name a few....

    They are trying to stage a coup on the Mayor and undermine her so certain power hungry control freaks can develop down the city to their own little version of Flint Michigan

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    1. 3:51 - That is total load of bullshit.

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    2. So Grana was not demoted?

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    3. 4:29, are you saying that if Grana was demoted the rest of your story must be true?

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  4. Odd that a real estate salesman and a big building developer showed up to advocate for Grana along with anti-Zimmer Councilmen Russo and Ramos.



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    1. Just maybe somebody is looking for a additional paycheck and health benefits and is laying the ground work ?

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    2. That's True, The Hoboken Council is the last of the State's still granting itself and their families full on Gold plated PPO's with zero deductibles

      Unlike Mr Grana and Ms Pincus who served the board with zero but get maligned

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    3. So are Mello and GA a big developer lobbyists too?

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    4. I would like to see Mike Defusco run for Mayor this year. He did a great job Wednesday night exposing the Mayor with her backroom deals and how the appointment was already approved and it was just a show for all of us to see. Weaver did not even bother to show up.

      Defusco 2017.

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    5. Zimmer had no part in Wednesday's ZBA appointments. She is doing an excellent job.

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    6. This was NOT Zimmer's doing

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    7. Isn't DeFusco running? Heard he is having a high priced fund raiser in February with a big announcement with Fulop as his guest. Would be interesting to see him run. With an endorsement from Fulop?

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    8. Doubt it. Very recently DeFusco told GA he wasn't .

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  5. Ok if that is true, then who is the ring leader in the backroom deal? Giattino? Weavers term was not up, did not even attend the meeting.

    What is going on with reform?

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    Replies
    1. No "backroom deal" - what is wrong with you?

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    2. Well what was it then GA? Hardly a Sunshiney meeting

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    3. 7:16- Dumb. By your definition, every Resolution on the council agenda including appointments which is supported by a majority is a 'backroom deal'. It seems to serve your purpose to turn this into something nefarious.

      This post seems to have gotten some of you hot and bothered. Lotsa luck.

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  6. The City Council did their job and all the baseless speculation as to motives and talk of intrigue is the usual Hoboken hyperventilation.

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    Replies
    1. I guess Grana was "Grounded into Powder" because that's what is done to anyone who won't follow direction?

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    2. GA- so WHO'S agenda is it that you're so upset with then? Thought you were upset, and now that people are speculating at this heavy handed Russo style politrickery you are arguing against your own POV?

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  7. Think like a "Reformer" until you're instructed by certain Council members otherwise.

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    Replies
    1. Translation: I didn't get my was so I will lash out to further my own political agenda.

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    2. @9:42 speak in tongues, we might understand you better

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  8. I understand there were shakeups on the historic commission last week too. Next week, the planning board has its reorganization meeting, so stay tuned.

    None of this looks good for Zimmer.

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    Replies
    1. I think it looks great for Hoboken.

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