Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hackensack and Teaneck rivals are hosted for annual luncheon by the Rotary

The Hackensack Comets and Teaneck Highwaymen are one of New Jersey's oldest rivalries.  The teams have played each other on Thanksgiving Day since 1931.  In their 81 meetings, the Comets have won 51 games, lost 26, and tied 4.

For nearly twenty five years the Hackensack and Teaneck Rotary Clubs have hosted a joint luncheon on the week of Thanksgiving for the captains of both school's football and cheerleading teams, their drum majors, and the captains of their color guards.  Administrators and coaches from both schools also attend.

Though the spirit of the luncheon celebrates a fierce rivalry, fellowship is promoted by the Rotary.  The coaches and administrators, many of whom played in the Thanksgiving Day rivalry game, offered memories and words of wisdom to the assembled student-athletes.  Dave Petrella the Hackensack Athletic Director is an alumni of HHS who played in this Thanksgiving Day rivalry.  Petrella remarked that no matter what championships your team may win, or records you may set, what you will always remember [and your relatives will always remind you of at Thanksgiving] is who won the Thanksgiving Day game.

The 2013 Thanksgiving Day game will be held at Teaneck High School (100 Elizabeth Avenue) at 10:30 am.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

More fringe benefits and jobs for political insiders

Rottino given unmarked city car, is an assistant next?

Citizens for Change political insider Anthony Rottino who was hired as the Director of Economic Redevelopment at a $130,000 salary (and brought the baggage of friends and fellow insiders) has been given additional fringe benefits.  Mr. Rottino now has been assigned an unmarked city car, and has requested that he be provided a full time assistant (see email excerpt below).  This $130,000 man appears to have been given the keys to the city.

A new city hire

Another insider to the Citizens for Change, William Russiello has landed a part time city job.

Russiello has been a longtime supporter of the Citizens for Change team.  In the 2009 election, Russiello donated $350 to the CFC (Canestrino and Labrosse were members of that slate).  The CFC team has yet to file their final 2013 election report.

Russiello has been hired as a part time property management inspector.  His position pays $15 per hour.  With all of the professional positions advertised and subsequently filled by this new council, I can only wonder why Mr. Russiello a practicing attorney is given what appears to be such a menial low level job.  Why would a practicing New Jersey attorney be accepting a $15 per hour part time position? Is this a pit stop?

According to Tammy Zucca, the city CFO, the council now has to approve all purchases made by city departments.

Are we in financial trouble?  Here we are with a council micromanaging the purchase of pencils and canceling the purchase of much needed police cars, but they are able to find the funds to create a new position and dole out political favors.  I wonder if Mr. Rottino's car assignment required as many initials as a city purchase order for pencils now does....

With all the political insiders continuing to be rewarded by this new council, I am left only to wonder if there should be a new sign at city hall.....

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hackensack Elks honor students of the month

Elks Lodges across the country honor outstanding young men and women for achievements in school and community life-fine arts, hobbies, athletics, church, school, club and community service, industry and farming.

This month the Hackensack Elks began a student of the month program honoring students from the 5ive/6ix School and Middle School.  Hackensack Elk Regina DiPasqua in cooperation with Hackensack Middle School Anti Bullying Specialist Heather Coleman formed a student selection committee in both schools.  These student committees nominated their peers and selected a male and female student of the month from each school.

This program is notable as youths are selected not by their teachers but by their peers for displaying leadership in both their schools and communities.  Congratulations to the following honorees:
5ive/6ix Female Student of the Month: Yasmeen Johnson
5ive/6ix Male Student of the Month: Carlos Sanchez
Middle School Female Student of the Month: Nasimeh Salem
Middle School Male Student of the Month: James Saleh

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hackensack Rotary holds eyeglass drive

The Hackensack Rotary Club held an eyeglass collection drive today at their weekly meeting.  Club President, Sharon Bregman, was pleased to announce that 75 pairs of glasses were collected.  The eyeglasses were donated to The New Eyes for the Needy Organization and the Hackensack Lions Club.  Both organizations are dedicated to help provide better sight by distributing recycled glasses to those in need.

75 pairs of recycled eyeglasses were collected
For more information on these organizations, or to learn how you can donate your old eyeglasses, please visit their websites: New Eyes for the Needy  and Hackensack Lions.

The Hackensack Rotary Club also hosted District 7490 Governor Lenny Agrusti for his annual club visit today.  Governor Lenny had nothing but praise for the Hackensack club.  He noted their extensive work with military and homeless projects.

Governor Agrusti and Club President Sharon Bregman
Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders.  Members of Rotary clubs, known as Rotarians, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.  There are 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.  Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds.  The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.  Anyone interested in joining is encouraged to contact Sharon Bregman via email at

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Center for Food Action holding Thanksgiving Food Drive

The Center for Food Action is preparing to distribute Thanksgiving packages to over 3,000 Bergen County families in need and can definitely use any and all help.  Food donations, including grocery store gift cards, may be placed in the food collection bin inside the Hackensack Bank branch lobby at 9 Polifly Road.  For more information on the Center for Food Action and the vital work they do helping to combat hunger and homelessness, please visit their website.

Please make a donation of food for those less fortunate.  Donations will be collected through Wednesday, November 20th.

Bank of Hackensack
9 Polifly Road 
Hackensack, NJ 07601 
(Corner of Essex St. and Polifly Road, across from the Arena Diner)
Hours: Mon - Fri 9am- 5pm 
Saturday 9am-12pm 

A list of food items in need: 

  • 12-15 Lb Frozen Turkey* 
  • Bag of Carrots* 
  • Juices – Apple or Cranberry 
  • Canned Fruit 
  • Parmalat Milk 
  • Canned Vegetables & Yams 
  • Coffee and Tea 
  • Canned Gravy 
  • Sugar, Flour, Baking Mix 
  • Cranberry Sauce 
  • Mayonnaise 
  • Salad Dressing 
  • Nuts, Trail Mix, Raisins 
  • Pumpkin Pie Filling & Ready Pie Crust Rice
  • Stuffing 
  • Bag of Potatoes 
  • Bag of Apples 
  • Bag of Onions 
 *Please present these perishable items to a bank representative to ensure proper storage

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hackensack holds Veterans Day Ceremony

Today, the City of Hackensack hosted a Veterans Day Ceremony at the Court House Green to honor and recognize all past, retired and current military personnel who so proudly and courageously fought for our freedom.  Ernest Keahey, American Legion Commander and Chairman of Veterans Affairs for the Elks, served as the master of ceremony.  Father Brian Laffler of St. Anthony's offered the invocation and benediction.

Wreaths were presented by the Hackensack University Medical Center, City of Hackensack, UNICO, Elks, Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, PBA, IAFF, and the American Legion.

The Hackensack Elks 
The Hackensack Rotary

The Hackensack Police Honor Guard

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Does Write Associates work for the City or the Citizens for Change?

I have written before on Thom "The Curmudgeon" Ammirato and his adept ability to win friends and influence people.  Actually, in his tenure he has been so friendly he has made his way into not one, not two, but three Scoops.  Well, we all know that Ammirato the Citizens for Change paid campaign strategist was hired as a political insider to serve as the city spokesman/public relations consultant.

The city put out a request for qualifications seeking a public relations consultant and received four replies.  You can review all four by clicking the links below.  Based on a review of these qualification statements, who would you have considered?  
Why should the city have even advertised or put out a request for qualification?  It doesn't look to me like the impressive, thorough, and go-getter qualification statement was what landed Ammirato the lucrative contract.  

Many cited possible conflicts of interest that could arise from Ammirato the "Citizens for Change Cheerleader" now serving as the city public relations consultant.  

It appears from the above screenshot of the Citizens for Change facebook page that Write Associates, based out of Caldwell, is managing the Citizens for Change POLITICAL ORGANIZATION facebook page.  Why has this page not been converted to the "Hackensack City Council" or "City of Hackensack" page?  

The election is over, it is time for the Citizens for Change to become the City Council and start working for all of the resident, tax payer, property owner, and business owners' interests.  But no, instead, the Citizens for Change continue to bash the former administration.  The last three posts by the Citizens for Change facebook page have been more focused on the Zisa's and the last administration than what the new council is doing!

Now I as a resident posted on the Citizens for Change facebook page asking why the page APPEARS to continue to be managed by Write Associates who is supposed to be representing the city and not a political slate of candidates' interests.  Rather than getting answers like other residents who asked questions, I was removed from the page and my write to post in the page has been revoked.  

We have already established that the Citizens for Change slate has not exactly turned out to be the end to back room deals and rewards to political insiders that we voted for, but are they First Amendment suppressers too?

Hackensack Elks take Boys and Girls Club to the Bronx Zoo

Thanks to the Elks National Foundation (ENF), funds are available for Elks to invest back into and build stronger communities.  Today, the Hackensack Elks hosted an educational trip to the Bronx Zoo for 25 youth from the Boys and Girls Club of Lodi in Hackensack.

The children not only spent the day at the zoo but also experienced a 90-minute guided tour of the "Congo Gorilla Rainforest." Five docents offering an interactive education experience to small groups led the tour. The children learned about the jungle habitat and got up close and personal with monkeys, okapis, red river hogs, Western lowland gorillas, and more.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hackensack Elks adopt the B Company of the 2-87, 3BCT, 10th Mountain Division

Thanks to the Elks National Foundation (ENF), funds are available for Elks to invest back into and build stronger communities.  With the support of ENF, the Hackensack Elks have adopted actively deployed servicemen in Afghanistan.

This evening Elks met and assembled care packages that will be shipped to Afghanistan tomorrow by the Adopt a Soldier Platoon (AASP).  The care packages will benefit the platoons of the B Company, 2-87, 3BCT, 10th MTN Division.  Some of the requested items by servicemen included Keurig Machines, Gillette Razors, snack foods, personal care products, and even cigars and chewing tobacco. 

The Hackensack Elks present their donation to the Troops to the Adopt a Soldier Platoon
AASP is a recognized 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to boosting the morale of our active servicemen, veterans, and their families. AASP makes several visits a year to deployed troops and provides individualized care packages. They currently support approximately 150 active units in Afghanistan and Kuwait. AASP boasts a 95.5% project expense ratio meaning that 95.5 cents of every $1 received goes directly to servicemen and women!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Do we have a City Council or is this the Kathy and Anthony show?!

I have written twice now criticizing the council hiring political allies and insiders to fill roles within the City.  If you have missed those stories, click here and here.

Well another contract has been awarded, and we are seeking another full time employee, let's take a look.

City Hires Municipal Auditor and Financial Advisor

At the October 22nd City Council meeting the council hired DiMaria and DiMaria at an estimated $100,000 cost.  

Well, I don't have to look too far to find a reason that DiMaria and DiMaria may have been the chosen candidate.  A $2,500 campaign donation can go far in terms of a return on investment.  Does anyone else know where they can find a 40 to 1 pay off? 

When was Anthony Rottino hired? 

I think we have all come to terms with the fact Anthony Rottino was hired as a political insider.   But, when exactly was he hired? According to the advertisement for the position, resumes were being accepted from August 7 through August 12.  At the August 20th meeting of the Council Rottino had not yet been hired, according to the city Mr. Rottino began work on August 26th.

Then why was Kathy Canestrino (Deputy Mayor) discussing redevelopment costs and working on spreadsheets with Mr. Rottino before the City even closed the job listing?  On August 10th Canestrino and Rottino were discussing estimated redevelopment costs!

On August 14th, Mr. Rottino was asking when the 210 Main Street potential developers wanted to have a meeting.  City Manager Stephen LoIacono has said at public meetings that the decision was made after the August 20th council meeting.  Did Rottino and Canestrino know that he was getting the position before the City Manager?  Why would Mr. Rottino be included in this 210 Main redevelopment meeting if he hadn't been hired as the Redevelopment Director?

But does Mr. Rottino's input go further than redevelopment?

The city advertised for the position of City Manager from July 29 to August 29.  There is no doubt that the council has interest in hiring a new City Manager, but why didn't they?  An email I received from an OPRA request which was redacted may possibly be the answer.  

After a challenge to the redaction of this entire email, City Attorney Scrivo sent me a "modified" redacted copy, see below. 

The Scoop has received reports from two sources indicating that at the time of the redacted email (which coincides with the job listing for City Manager) Anthony Rottino was acting as a conduit reaching out to Mahwah's Town Administrator Brian Campion (who had resigned, then later withdrew his resignation, from Mahwah) in an attempt to bring him to Hackensack to serve as City Manager.  Is that who was the favored candidate to replace LoIacono? Is this email why LoIacono is still serving as Hackensack's City Manager?  

The city council is also looking to hire a Chief Financial Officer.  See the job listing below. 

Resumes were not being accepted until the posting on September 13.  But did Mr. Rottino, in consultation with the new Municipal Auditor DiMaria and DiMaria, have the favored potential candidate before the new council was even sworn into office?  It would sure appear that way from emails received by the Hackensack Scoop! 

Who are these people you may ask.  In the above thread "Avides" or David Sireci sent his resume to Frank DiMaria of DiMaria and DiMaria and indicated that he "should get grade this Wednesday...."  What grade is that?  According to the attached resume, Mr. Sireci was awaiting his Municipal CFO certification, he had just sat for the exam! 

Now maybe it is just me, but I don't want the municipal auditor recommending the CFO, isn't that a little bit like the fox watching the hen house?

Is there a new queen in the making in Hackensack?

Now there is an old adage to "follow the money."  The money has shown the political favoritism in this new council's hiring, and it is Mrs. Canestrino who has told us all that she is the money girl. 

except from

It sure looks like Mrs. Canestrino and Anthony Rottino are the ones calling the shots in the City of Hackensack.  Can it be there is a new queen in the making in Hackensack?

Can it be?!?!

If my memory serves me, these are all the things that Mrs. Canestrino used to complain about--all the things she vowed to stop.  None of us liked it when the Zisa-Hurwitz regime were buttering their bread, does it make it better now that it is just a new group?  I don't think so.