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Towns That Could Be Hit Hardest by the Financial Crisis

10 Towns That Will Be Hit Hardest

1. Darien, Conn.
Share population in finance and real estate: 27.23%
Nearest large city: New York
Population: 20,666
Median salary: $168,687

2. Bloomington, Ill.
Share population in finance and real estate: 26.31%
Nearest large city: Chicago
Population: 70,395
Median salary: $54,971

3. Hoboken, N.J.
Share population in finance and real estate: 23.33%
Nearest large city: New York
Population: 40,002
Median salary: $81,356

HOBOKEN RACISM SUIT. Claims abuse began after scandal over SWAT team

HOBOKEN - The city's deputy director of emergency management has filed a lawsuit accusing Public Safety Director Bill Bergin of discriminating against him because he is Hispanic.

Both Bergin and Mayor David Roberts are named in the suit, filed this week by Joel Mestre, who alleges that Bergin called him derogatory names and gave away his job duties to whites.

Mestre also claims in the suit that Bergin once said to him: "Just because I don't eat rice and beans and don't agree that they should be sold at every store, that doesn't make me a racist."

Bergin called Mestre's accusations "lies."

Hoboken has 3 choices for a state monitor -- Really???

Former Local Finance Board official Judy Tripodi appears to be the DCA's choice for Hoboken"s monitor.

The state was supposed to give Hoboken three candidates to choose from for the "monitor" who will be overseeing the city's finances as part of the city's punishment of state "supervision" imposed after Hoboken failed to pass a budget.

And the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs did give Hoboken three choices, one who would charge $130,000 a year and two that would charge $500,000 a year. Hmm, I wonder who the DCA is backing?

Officials failed to do their duty

Last week, the state Local Finance Board put Hoboken under "supervision," a polite term that sounds better than a limited takeover. This comes two months after the city failed to approve a balanced municipal budget.

While the mayor and the City Council will be able to propose and vote on municipal business, Susan Jacobucci, director of the state Division of Local Government services, will have final approval on all fiscal matters (expenditures above $4,500), union contracts and the hiring and firing of employees.

State takes over Hoboken's finances

The state Local Finance Board voted unanimously today to take control of the fiscal affairs of the deficit-ridden Hoboken government where the mayor and council have been entangled in political bickering for the past year and have failed to act on a new budget.

The government will be under the strict supervision of the state Division of Local Government Services for one year and while Mayor David Roberts and the city council will continue to have the power to vote on municipal issues, Susan Jacobucci, the division director, said she will have final approval on all decisions involving fiscal matters, union contracts and the hiring and firing of employees.

"In my opinion, there is no reason why Hoboken should be here today,'' Jacobucci told Roberts and three council members. "Hoboken is and should be a vibrant city. This is because of the inaction of local officials. To come to this point today it is a sad state of affairs for a city like Hoboken not to pass a budget.''

Bergen County Democratic Organization Chairman Joseph Ferriero indicted

Federal authorities indicted Bergen County Democratic Organization Chairman Joseph Ferriero and the party’s chief counsel, Dennis Oury, today.

A federal grand jury returned an eight-count indictment accusing Ferriero and Oury, who was fired as the Bergenfield borough attorney in January, of conspiracy to commit fraud against the borough and mail fraud.

“I am done being surprised in this job,” U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said. “We’ve had these conversations before about others we’ve prosecuted ... for some reason, greed and power seem to corrupt them and overcome what otherwise might be good sense and good decision-making.”

The indictment charges that in December 2001, Ferriero and Oury conceived of a plan to form a company called Government Grants Consulting LLC that would be paid by Bergen County towns to assist them in obtaining state and local grant monies. According to the indictment, Ferriero indicated that Government Grants would be successful because he could use his “influence” to help the municipalities “get a better result.”

Layoffs loom, parking meter increase could return

DECISIONS, DECISIONS – Mayor David Roberts is trying to avoid massive layoffs by creating as many new revenue ideas as possible. Last week he criticized the City Council for tabling many of the proposals.  
Mayor David Roberts is taking the necessary steps to ready the city for layoffs, demotions, or other reductions in force, he said last week.

The City Council may have to make serious decisions at their meeting this Wednesday.

The city has an $11.7 million deficit to make up, due to a financial hole that widened in last year's budget.

Before any city workers lose their jobs, Roberts says he will ask the City Council to consider the few revenue-increasing options he has proposed.

Some city-proposed revenue ideas were put on hold by the City Council at their last meeting to further examine their feasibility or necessity.

Among them are controversial matters designed to increase revenue, including forcing local businesses to pay recycling fees - a measure the city attorney has said is very hard to legally implement.

Since it is uncertain whether the city will save money in other ways, the layoff plan is already in motion, according to Roberts.

Roberts met with the city's unions last week to discuss other ways to save money, as well as the effects of layoffs.

He said layoff notices will likely be sent to municipal employees in October.

City Attorney Joseph Pojanowski, who was sitting in last week for Steve Kleinman while he was on vacation, said that once notices are sent out, the city has 45 days to act, by law.

Mason will get cell phone records, including police

City must pay $10K for lawyers in lawsuit settlement

A lawsuit by Councilwoman Beth Mason seeking information about city cell phone records was settled two weeks ago after two court appearances.

Now, Mason will get to comb through a year's worth of city cell phone records from July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005.

The agreement even includes the phone records of police officers, with the only exception being any calls placed in connection with ongoing criminal investigations.

According to the settlement, the city is not required to provide the phone numbers of the cell phones in use.

However, the city must provide the names of the cell phone users unless it offers a detailed explanation as to why they cannot. They are also allowed by law to withhold the incoming and outgoing numbers.

Comptroller calls for auditing reforms statewide

New Jersey's town halls and school boards have overly cozy financial and political ties to the auditors who monitor their spending, severely compromising the oversight designed to ensure billions of dollars in taxpayer money is spent properly, the state comptroller said yesterday.

"The independence and effectiveness of audits in New Jersey cannot be trusted unless changes are made," comptroller Matthew Boxer said at a Trenton news conference to release his office's first public report.

Boxer's report, based on 966 responses to a survey sent to the 1,900 government entities across the state, noted the Haddon Township Board of Education has had the same auditor reviewing its books for 61 years, and at least 389 government bodies have not changed auditors in more than a decade.

Long Branch residents to get day in court

The Anzalone Family

Residents of a neighborhood slated to be razed for an oceanfront redevelopment project in Long Branch get a chance to convince a judge their homes are not blighted under a ruling issued this morning by a state Appellate panel.

The appeals court upheld a number of actions of the city, including its right to delegate its eminent domain authority to the developer, but said Long Branch failed to show the homes condemned for an oceanfront redevelopment project in the city were considered blighted.