Response to Leonard Kantor

To the Editor:
Leonard R. Kantor’s recent letter contains several inaccuracies.
Mr. Kantor claims that Mayor Smith is “ignoring” the City Council. Actually, Mayor Smith knows that the City Council has the authority to dispose of municipal budgets. That is why Mayor Smith made his budget speech at a council meeting. The municipal budget that was introduced last year was presented to the council before Mayor Smith took office. For several months, that introduced budget has been in the council’s hands to amend, pass, or defeat.
The letter suggests that Mayor Smith’s proposed audit of municipal jobs is “a joke.” It is not. In the interests of efficiency, Mayor Smith believes it would be useful to see if every official job description matches the reality of tasks performed.
Mayor Smith is serious about charging the Board of Education for using various facilities and services. The school board receives substantial funding from the state. The school system is not funded purely by local property taxes, so it may have funds available that would not come from local sources.
Mr. Kantor is correct that Mayor Smith did not propose taking over the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority (BLRA). However, Mayor Smith did propose serious cuts in the BLRA’s budget.
Mr. Kantor calls for eliminating “non-essential” personnel. Reasonable people can always disagree about who is or is not “essential.” Mr. Kantor believes me to be non-essential. It is his right to do so. However, his behavior suggests that he believes I serve a purpose. On numerous occasions, Mr. Kantor has come to me with questions and requests for service. I have helped him repeatedly. Indeed, when he came looking for leaf bags in the autumn, I gave him leaf bags that I had picked up for my home.
Mr. Kantor leaves readers with the false impression that my salary is $100,000 per year. I make a much lower salary. His letter implies that I am what he calls a “political appointed employee.” In reality, I was hired as a provisional municipal employee in 1996, and became a permanent civil servant after passing a civil service test in 1998.
Mr. Kantor is puzzled by my recent comment to the effect that the dollar figures in Mayor Smith’s budget speech are “financial goals.” Nothing was meant to be puzzling about it. Those dollar figures represent proposed savings that Mayor Smith hopes to accomplish. Many of the proposals would require City Council approval. That is why I called them “financial goals.” If they actually happen, then they would become real cuts.

JOSEPH E. RYAN
Public Information Director
City of Bayonne