DCA warns Hoboken not to hire public employees, consultants

DCA warns Hoboken not to hire public employees, consultants

Monday, July 07, 2008  Jersey Journal

HOBOKEN - State supervision is definitely underway.

Two hours before Wednesday's City Council meeting, Susan Jacobucci, director of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, sent a letter to Hoboken Mayor David Roberts and City Clerk James Farina telling them not to hire any employees or consultants until the Division of Local Government Services completes its review of the city's finances.

The DCA took over Hoboken's finances on June 23 after the City Council failed to adopt a spending plan for the fiscal year that ended June 30. Finally, on June 30, the City Council passed a budget crafted by state officials that sloughed off dealing with a $10.5 million deficit to the fiscal year that began July 1.

Hoboken Corporation Counsel Steve Kleinman said he didn't think it was the DCA's intention to shut the city down.

"I don't think it (Jacobucci's letter) prevents the city from doing daily business," Kleinman said. "But on the other hand all expenditures need to be carefully monitored."

According to Kathryn Kinney of Donohue, Gironda and Doria - the firm running the city's finances since former business manager Richard England resigned June 6 - a DCA review of city finances should be completed next month.

Jacobucci's letter forced the City Council to remove some items from Wednesday's agenda, including authorizing temporary appropriations for the FY 2009 budget and OK'ing an agreement for the Hoboken police department to provide security services for public housing.

The city also put on hold solicitations for various consultants, Kleinman said.

DCA officials also confirmed last week that council members will be fined $25 a day beginning June 12 for failing to pass a budget on time. The fines ceased June 30 when they finally passed a $92 million budget with no tax hike.

DCA spokesman Chris Donnelly didn't know if the fines would include weekends.

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