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Oh What A Tangled Web They Weave, When Politicians Practice to Deceive.
- Categorized in: 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo, Hoboken Police Department, Mayor David Roberts (2001-2009), Politics
Oh What A Tangled Web They Weave, When Politicians Practice to Deceive.
03/10/2008 Ed Mecka, edmecka.com
The Jersey Journal quoted Hoboken Mayor David Roberts as saying "that he would be "extraordinarily careful" in picking a replacement" for outgoing Police Chief Carmen LaBruno and that problems for LaBruno began after the now disbanded SWAT team's post-Hurricane Katrina trip to Kenner, La., in September 2005 and a subsequent visit to New Orleans for Mardi Gras the following year.
Roberts is also quoted as saying that “he knew that there'd be criticism that there was "going to be a whitewash" and moved to ensure that the city was fair and impartial.“
Wait a second, weren’t there “other” City Officials on the “humanitarian” trips to Kenner, La? How about Mayor David Roberts and Councilman Michael Russo?
In the quest for a scapegoat, it appears that one important mitigating circumstance may have been overlooked, the CHAIN OF COMMAND and a LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY TO ACT.
It is ironic that Mayor Roberts could express his concern over the public perception of a whitewash, acknowledge his responsibility to ensure that the City was fair and impartial, and yet stand before the public forgetting the important fact that he too was in Kenner, la.
The Mayor is the chief executive of the municipality, while the legislative powers of the City are exercised by the Common Council. Various boards, committees, and departments comprise other areas of the City's government. The Hoboken City Council has two relevant committees with respect to this incident, the Public Safety Committee and the Revenue and Finance Committee.
A LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY TO ACT:
Let’s start at the top with Mayor David Roberts who has always been quick to remind everyone that he also served as the Hoboken Public Safety Director. In a legal deposition a few years ago, Mayor Roberts is on the record as stating that he also serves as Hoboken’s Public Safety Director. Enough said.
Mayor Roberts is the Chief Executive for the City of Hoboken. His statement to the newspaper, “that he would be "extraordinarily careful" in picking a replacement” Police Chief confirms that Roberts is well aware that the Police Chief position is subordinate to the Mayor. And he is correct, as the Mayor he plays an important role in hiring a new Police Chief. But at the same time the Mayor must accept responsibility for the Kenner incident as Hoboken's Chief Executive.
Lost in the media blitz and downplayed by Hoboken's hired media consultants was the fact that Mayor Roberts was present with the SWAT team in Kenner standing right alongside the Police Chief. Is the Mayor, Hoboken's Chief Executive, a subject of the investigation? Who paid for the Mayor’s expenses? Did the Mayor at anytime find the need to exercise his legal responsibility as the Chief Executive and take corrective actions against his subordinate, the Police Chief? The public awaits answers.
Also participating in the trip was Third Ward Councilman Michael Russo. When the SWAT story went public, Russo was quick to condemn the SWAT teams’ antics only to go silent when pictures of him partying in Kenner appeared on the internet. Councilman Russo serves as the Chairman of the Hoboken City Council Revenue and Finance Committee and as an elected City official he has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the City’s assets.
Media and citizen inquires of wasted City funds have gone unanswered. Yet to be learned is if the Councilman voiced any concerns to his City Council Colleagues about frivolous waste of City funds.
PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE:
The Hoboken City Council PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE Chairman is Councilman-At-Large PETER CAMMARINO. Did Mayor Roberts or Councilman Russo report their concerns and/or observations two years ago to the Public Safety Committee? What makes Mayor Roberts stand before the cameras today condemning events he did nothing about two years ago?
MAYOR’S COMMENT SAYS IT ALL:
"I promised the people of Hoboken we would get to the bottom of this. I knew the city would be judged on how it performed on this matter," Roberts said. "I am anxious to get to other important issues facing our city."
Did someone say “conflict of interest?” The Mayor’s involvement in the incident does little to foster public confidence in Hoboken’s investigational process. What is more interesting is how the Hoboken City Council would allow Mayor Roberts to control of the investigation that touchs upon his Office. Did Roberts really say "fair and impartial investigation?"
JUST THE BEGINNING OF A LONG AND COSTLY JOURNEY:
Fasten your seat belts and hold on tight. They are way too many twists and turns to this story. If the mayor were really interested in fostering public confidence, he would publically acknowledge his involvement and role in the Kenner incident. Instead he has taken on the role as the City’s spokesperson for the investigation, possibly to his own detriment.
I suspect that there will be many more casualties, both elected officials and City employees, before this case is finally put to rest.
Bets are that Mayor Roberts and Councilman Russo, because of their mere presence in Kenner, will find themselves deeply embroiled in what has the potential to be a very costly legal battle at the taxpayers’ expense.
On February 20, 2008, The Jersey Journal reported that Mayor David Roberts and Councilman Michael Russo both attended the "thank you" party at the home of Kenner real estate developer Henry Shane and his wife, Patrica. The Mayor is quoted as saying "the public can expect those responsible to face "penalties."
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