Mason requests more transparency from the DCA

Mason requests more transparency from the DCA

July 12, 2008,

2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason is requesting more transparency from the state of New Jersey as they review Hoboken's budget.

Mason says the DCA is only talking about Hoboken's financial health with the mayor -- she wants the City Council in on the conversation, too.

After the jump, read a copy of a letter Mason sent to Susan Jacobucci, Director of Local Government Services for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, this past Thursday. Mason is basically asking the DCA to keep the City Council in the loop regarding their financial takeover of Hoboken.

Dear Director Jacobucci :

I am writing to you after receipt of your letter addressed to Mayor Roberts and James Farina, city clerk dated July 2, 2008, that was presented by Corporation Council to the City Council at its meeting almost one week ago. At that time in light of your letter, Corporation Counsel was unable to provide any guidance as to the actions the city council would not be able to take and promised to apprise the council as soon as possible. Currently I have not been apprised to the status and scope of the involvement of your office.

Here's the letter Mason is referring to. It's a letter from the DCA to Mayor Dave Roberts, saying the state is taking over Hoboken's "financial affairs and practices." Click on letter to enlarge and read.

As a duly elected council person, I have an obligation to represent my constituents on all matters of concern to them -- most importantly on the financial operations of the city. The fact that you and your office are directing important communications about the financial operations of the city only to the mayor, and working only with his office on a financial review of the city, - and circumventing the city council -- makes it impossible for myself and my council colleagues to do the job we were elected to do.

I have a right and an obligation to represent those who elected me and, therefore I am reaching out to you directly to insist that your office include the City Council in all correspondence and in all discussions about the city's finances and operations. I am also requesting that a senior member of your office be present at the next City Council meeting to explain to us the role that the state can and will play in the financial operations of Hoboken.

Also, in your communication with the Mayor, you state that your office has certain statutory responsibilities to intervene in the financial operation of municipalities such as Hoboken, which are experiencing financial problems. It is also noted that you office will be undertaking a review and evaluation of the financial affairs and practices of the city and the city "should refrain" from certain actions.

It has not been made clear to me by either your office or the Office of the Mayor, what statutory responsibilities and obligations the Division of Local Government Services has in matters such as Hoboken's. I ask for clarification on the current specific statutory responsibilities in which the state is considering taking action.

We appreciate your considerations on this matter and will continue our efforts as we await your response.


Elizabeth Mason,
Councilwoman 2nd Ward

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