Ex-fire chief gives ‘report card’ on Hoboken state monitor

In light of the Reporter’s story this weekend on the police chief candidates, and in light of the past performance of Hoboken’s state-appointed fiscal monitor, Judy Tripodi, former fire chief Richard Trimitiedi sent this “report card” on her performance so far. What do you think? Comment below!
Fiscal Monitor’s Report Card
Dear Editor,
The performance of Judy Tripodi, fiscal control officer, is of critical significance to the citizens of Hoboken.
Since her arrival she has informed that the administration has overspent the budget for the last six years, found a current deficit of over $10 million. Because of this, she had to set the current tax levy.
Additionally, she has enforced the employees operating manual, found improper purchasing procedures, ordered operational audits of all departments, stopped the retirement incentive program, and assisted the New Jersey Department of Personnel with developing a step by step guide to local government layoffs which includes creating special reemployment lists.
The operational audits of city departments and the DOP’s plan have yet to be completed or implemented and the free flow of factual information from Judy Tripodi is causing the concern of many including this writer. She has refused to attend city council meetings where the concerned public has experienced many unanswered inquiries. We have been informed to put suggestions in writing and don’t always get responses. We have also been told to obtain information from our elected representatives, who in most cases don’t possess the data that you are seeking.
I have written before that we have to give her a chance to do her job, but I still have many reservations. For example, she has hired a finance director before the Dept. of Finance has been established by ordinance. . His resume’ indicates rather little longevity with Ernst & Young and the Department of Community Affairs. He is receiving a salary of over $110K. She now wants to replace the tax collector with another high salaried person with a salary of over $110K. It has been reported that a former city consultant with the required tax collector credentials could have be employed at a $90,000 salary. I am told that Judy’s vast powers give her control over such personnel matters. In view of the current economic situation, why such a high starting pay scale?
In regard to the selection of the new Police Chief, it is the Dept. of Personnel’s regulation that the appointing authority makes promotions. There is still confusion in this area. Tim Carroll reporting in the Feb. 15 Edition of the Hoboken Reporter said that Mayor Roberts will make a decision on the promotion but Judy Tripodi will approve it. This is confusing since Public Safety Direct Bill Bergin was the appointing authority for the most recent Fire Captain promotions. Did Mayor Roberts now make himself the appointing authority? There is some question as to whether the Mayor can legally do this. How come the Public Safety Director will only be consulted with regarding this promotion?
The Chairman of the Public Safety Committee of the City Council stated at the Feb. 4 council meeting that it is up to Judy Tripodi. What is correct? I believe the employees and the public deserve to know real facts. We all are now well aware of how mismanagement hurts municipal employees and the taxpayer!
At this point in time, I cannot give our fiscal control monitor a good grade on employment practices, communication or interpersonal skills. Her total performance is still to be rated.
Richard Tremitiedi
Retired Fire Chief – 1995

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