Lenz is fired as Hoboken's chief financial officer

Lenz is fired as Hoboken's chief financial officer

Wednesday, May 14, 2003
By Peter Weiss - Journal staff writer

HOBOKEN - Michael Lenz has been fired as the city's chief financial officer, just eight months after he was hired, it was announced yesterday.

The Election Day announcement came in a one-sentence press release from Mayor David Roberts. He said Lenz "has been discharged.based on the outcome of an internal investigation supervised by the Corporation Counsel with the assistance of the city's independent auditors."

Roberts had ordered the investigation last month after the City Council approved an emergency appropriation of $1.3 million. Roberts said he feared the administration had been misled about its financial situation, although he didn't name anyone he thought might be responsible.

The investigation results have not been made public.

Lenz was in California over the weekend and said he didn't find out he had been fired until yesterday morning when he arrived at City Hall for work and found Assistant Comptroller Matthew Cannorozzi's nameplate on the CFO's desk, listing him as comptroller.

Lenz was then told by a clerk that the locks on the office had been changed on Friday. After further inquiry Lenz was told by Corporation Counsel Joseph Sherman that he had been fired, and given a letter to that effect signed by Business Administrator Robert Drasheff.

An administration spokesman said a termination letter had been sent to Lenz's home, but Lenz said he hadn't gone through his accumulated mail before Tuesday morning. "They sent a letter when they knew I wouldn't be there," Lenz said.

Asked why he thought he was fired, Lenz replied, "I tried to follow the rules."

He said the termination letter given to him does not refer to the investigation cited in the mayor's statement.

Lenz said he has retained attorney Martin Pachman.

A spokesman for Roberts said that because Lenz was a provisional employee, no further explanation is required.

Lenz has had an up-and-down political relationship with Roberts. Lenz was manager of Roberts' campaign two years ago, but later became a critic and ran against the mayor's choice in special City Council election in November 2001.

By last fall they had mended fences, and in October Lenz was hired as interim chief financial officer. But not long afterwards the mayor began telling associates he was concerned that Lenz was plotting against him politically.



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