Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Out with the patronage, or is it?

I don't think that anyone would attempt to refute that the Zisa-Hurwitz political machine ruled, or rules, Hackensack with an iron fist.  After all, with a $97 million school budget and a $92 million municipal budget, there are plenty of ways to make friends.  What is that old golden rule?  Not that kindness thing, that one that he with the gold is the one who makes the rules.

I think that we have all resigned to the fact that the Coalition for Open Government was backed by the Zisa/Hurwitz Political machine.  We as residents and tax payers watched for years as Zisa/Hurwitz supporters, and their families, received municipal and school jobs, and were awarded lucrative contracts.  Without getting into the jobs handed out at the Municipal and County level (THAT IS THE TOPIC OF A WHOLE NEW ARTICLE, STAY TUNED) here is just a recap of a few of the most notable:
  • Richard Salkin- Zisa/Hurwitz operative--how many hundreds of thousands has he collected in legal fees from the City and Board of Education?  A regular $1,000 donor to Zisa/Hurwitz controlled PAC's.
  • Donald Lenner- The City tax attorney collecting handsome fees for his "handling" of tax appeals.  He regularly donates to and serves as the treasurer for Zisa/Hurwitz controlled campaigns and PAC's.  
  • Jack Zisa-  The former Mayor and Hackensack PAC donor who had lucrative insurance contracts with the City. 
  • Richard Malagiere- The former Zoning Board attorney and special counsel to the City who served also as the personal attorney to disgraced former Police Chief Ken Zisa.  Malagiere was a frequent, generous, supporter of the Zisa/Hurwitz machine who left his post as City Counsel under a cloud of questions regarding conflicts of interest in his representation of the City interests pertaining to his legal representation of Ken Zisa and his partnership in a number of local properties.
  • Joe Zisa- A Zisa/Hurwitz donor and ally served eight years as the City Attorney.  Personally, I would say that for the fees he collected, he could have been a little more generous, but he was a donor all the same.

Most recently, in what appears to be one last (at least for four years), snub to the taxpayer, a Zisa/Hurwitz controlled council granted an eleventh hour contract renewal to a Zisa/Hurwitz candidate supporter.  On June 18, 2013, less than two weeks before reorganization, Mayor Michael Melfi executed a contract for the leasing of copy machines.  The sales representative for the contract from Atlantic Tomorrows Office, Linda Sylvestri, had made a $1,000 campaign donation to the Zisa/Hurwitz controlled Coalition for Open Government slate only a few months before.

Sylvestri noted as Sales Representative on contract

Sylvestri donated $1,000 to the Zisa/Hurwitz backed candidates of the Coalition for Open Government

On a side note: my apologies on the delay of sharing this.  An OPRA request for this contract took 22 business days to fulfill, that is 15 longer than the 7 business day statutory requirement for the City to produce the requested document.  I hope that the City understands the Citizen's for Change campaign promise that "Requests for public records will be honored promptly..."

On May 14, 2013 the voters of Hackensack spoke, they overwhelmingly requested change.  Change, we hope is coming, though slowly.  There are a number of requests for qualifications currently being advertised by the City, we hope to see an open and transparent process for selecting professionals as the Citizens for Change slate promised an end to a "government that rewards insiders."  We will keep you informed of developments.

Thus far there have been a few notable appointments. Richard Takvorian (a $1,300 donor campaign donor whose family in total donated $3,600) as the Assistant Municipal Judge.  Citizens for Change insider and campaign manager Thom Ammirato has been appointed the City's Public Relations Manager.  A position, the Director of Economic Development, has been made and the council has indicated they plan to appoint Citizens for Change insider Anthony Rottino (chairman of their transition team) to.  The duties, hours, and compensation for these posts are yet to be outlined in contracts.

The Scoop will be watching as appointments and contracts are awarded and will keep you informed!

*author does not allege any illegal activity by any parties identified in the above posting


  1. Replies
    1. Don't you know that any friendship with the Gelbers has an expiration date? Watch your back.

      And Euclid only looks good from Prospect to the railroad tracks. What happened to the rest of the block. Did you candidacy keep them from paving your part of the street?

  2. What's the story with our City Manager? When is his position going to be advertised?

  3. Upon reading the title of this article, I thought there might be a glimmer of impartiality in your approach. How sadly mistaken I was. Your post-election pledge to "keep 'em honest" seems to be about as empty as the promises made by the new administration during their campaign. I split my votes between tickets, and proudly voted for John and Kathy, but I'm heavily disheartened by what we've seen.
    Don't get me wrong, Euclid Ave looks great now. But repaving aside, appointing a major campaign donor as a municipal judge? Their out-of-town campaign manager is now on the City payroll as a PR manager? And they're creating yet another position to put the head of their rather sizable transition team (another out-of-towner) on the city payroll as well? What's that line in that Who song about not getting fooled again?
    Steve, for all your piss and vinegar, you are a very intelligent person; intelligent enough to see that Labrosse and company have done in just six weeks EXACTLY what they crusaded against from the onset of their rather well-run campaign. Your failure to simply call them on it speaks volumes to your inability to put old vitriol aside. And it speaks volumes to your lack of honesty and shoots holes in any credibility you may have had. Maybe they could create you a city job as official speechwriter? Lacking honesty and credibility, you'd sadly fit right in at City Hall.

    1. Sorry that you feel that way. I absolutely criticize CFC for appointing "insiders," it is against their campaign promises thus far. Look at the title, "Or is it?" Look at the two campaign promises I point out and say the opposite is being done. I am sure there will be plenty of material for me to write in the coming months...

  4. Why has Richard Malagiere not been charged with a crime? Malagiere and his business partner..Alampi...were running an illegal boarding house full of illegal aliens over on Johnson. A property that they had up in front of the board to get rezoned. Looks like nothing has changed in Hackensack.