Law Department

Mayor Dawn Zimmer hires Michael Kates as new Hoboken attorney

oboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer has hired Michael Kates as the city's new corporation counsel, she announced today.

Steve Kleinman, who has served as corporation counsel since April of 2007, has resigned as of Monday, to go into the private sector, but will serve in a transitional capacity as an assistant corporation counsel through Jan. 15, according to to a news release from Zimmer.

Kates, who is currently a partner at Kates Nussman Rapone Ellis & Farhi, will start the position Monday, according to Zimmer spokesman Daniel Bryan.

OPRA: Private Citizen vs. City Official. Why You Can

Record requests that, in the opinion of the Hoboken Law Department, create a legal concern/liability for illegal dissemination of "lawfully protected information" should only be made available to City Council members who have attended a "government official" OPRA training seminar.

For several years, Hoboken Community Activist Beth Mason has been in the forefront advocating "transparency" in government.  Mason and I, along eleven Hoboken citizens, were founding members of People for Open Government, a Hoboken-based civic organization dedicated to campaign finance reform, ethics, OPRA, public access and other open government issues. 

In addition, Mason serves as the president of the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government which seeks to increase transparency, accountability, honesty and democracy in government at all levels by defending and expanding public access to government records and meetings. Mason, as a private citizen, built a reputation across the State as a leader in government reform.


On July 1, 2008, Mason's political status changed from "private citizen" to "government official" when she was sworn into political office representing Hoboken's Second Ward as "Councilwoman Beth Mason." With several "private citizen" initated OPRA lawsuits against the City of Hoboken still pending in the Courts, Councilwoman Mason now finds herself in the political quagmire of suing herself as a Hoboken Government Official.

Council likes Roberts appointee

HOBOKEN - The city has hired a new corporation counsel during election season, when relations between the mayor and city council appear even more strained.

The mayor appointed Steven Kleinman, 32, last week, the same week the City Council angered the mayor by voting 7-2 on a resolution to abruptly end professional and engineering contracts because of overspending in those areas.

Council members said they support the new appointment. Councilman Peter Cammarano, III, who was at Seton Hall University School of Law with Kleinman, described him as a "top-notch" lawyer.