City department audits should be publicly released

Dear Editor:
Dear Mayor Zimmer: One of the objectives of Hoboken Revolt is to drive a significant reduction in property taxes without compromising the safety and soundness of our town. Obtaining forensic and efficiency audits of city agencies and departments is an essential first step toward identifying cost savings, while ensuring that we continue to meet the needs of the community. Hoboken Revolt supports the City Council’s request for such audits. Revolt encourages your administration to expedite the process of conducting audits and then promptly making the reports available for review by members of the public. Any completed audit reports should be released immediately to facilitate meaningful public discussion at the upcoming budget hearings.
The Hoboken Revolt Steering Committee anticipated with great interest the release of the Public Safety audit report last winter. The report recommended workforce reductions in the Police and Fire Departments by mid-2009. You yourself, as candidate for mayor last March, called for release of this audit report and Ms. Judy Tripodi indicated that the final report would be available to the City Council by April 1st. Nine months later, to our knowledge, the Public Safety audit report has yet to be released to the public. Demotions occurred in the Fire Department, reportedly based upon the audit findings. An additional $800,000 in annualized savings was to be realized through the elimination of sixteen positions in the Police Department by the end of June. In his short tenure, then-mayor Cammarano delayed implementation of the Police Department reductions. The public has yet to hear of a new implementation plan.
Hoboken Revolt was informed that an audit of City Hall employees was conducted. We request that any such audit report be released. If no report is available, Hoboken Revolt requests a status report regarding any such audit. Hoboken Revolt applauds the initial steps by the current administration to rein in Hoboken property taxes and we encourage you to continue your vigilance in pursuing this critical goal. Release of the Public Safety audit report as well as all other audit reports to the public will provide Hoboken residents with an understanding of the basis for the recommended staff adjustments. Such understanding should provide strong support for their implementation and will go a long way to demonstrating your commitment to government transparency.
Hoboken Revolt urges you to 1) release the Public Safety audit report; 2) release any audit report regarding City Hall employees or provide a status report regarding such audit; 3) if any audit report is solely in the possession of the State Monitor, join us in demanding the public release of all available information, 4) report to the public what steps your administration is taking toward completion of forensic and efficiency audits of the city’s agencies and departments and 5) commit to releasing such reports to the public as they become available.


The Hoboken Revolt Steering Committee
cc: Members of the Hoboken City Council
Ms. Judy Tripodi
Ms. Susan Jacobucci

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