Roberts seeks to reduce size of city council

Roberts seeks to reduce size of city council

November 20, 2006 Jersey Journal

HOBOKEN Mayor David Lee Roberts is looking to slash the number of City Council members, saying it would make government more efficient and take some of the politicking out of the process.

Although the mayor said he wants to open up the idea for public debate, any change would likely be timed for the next mayoral election, in 2009.

"The amount of politics that goes on in Hoboken becomes unmanageable," said Roberts. "There should be less."

He envisions following the model of the larger city of Bayonne, which has a five-member council. The Hoboken council has nine members.

Roberts said he would also like to see the board of education come under the control of the mayor, with its members appointed by City Hall.

Any changes to the city's form of government would have to be placed on the ballot and voted on in a referendum.

Councilman Michael Russo said having fewer council members will reduce the level of service to the public.

"You are taking representation away from the people of Hoboken. I don't agree with it at all," said Russo. "I don't think he would gain the support from the council or gain support from the public.

Russo also said he was opposed to having an appointed board of education, pointing out that the idea had been put forward in the mid-1990s and rejected.

"People want to have a choice in leaders," said Russo. "They don't want to have leaders shoved down their throats at any level of government."

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