Grateful for chance to serve; nor sure why not reappointed

Dear Editor:
I was recently informed by Mayor Zimmer that after 12 years of service I will not be reappointed to Hoboken’s Planning Board. (Did the Reporter jinx me weeks ago when I was mistakenly referred to as “FORMER Planning Board member”?)
It has been my sincere pleasure to serve on this board and I am proud of the contributions I have been part of over the years, including chairing the Master Plan subcommittee and countless other efforts. My heartfelt thanks go to Nick DiTrizio, Tom Mooney and other commissioners past and present, Kathy DiPalma and the City Hall staff, Elizabeth Vandor, Eileen Banyra, Chas Holloway and the other board consultants past and present, as well as all the regular applicant attorneys and consultants. While it was not ALWAYS fun, the work was often enough rewarding and all these folks helped immensely in making it so.
There is an irony in this parting that I must also share. While I would question if there was much of an appointment “process” used by previous administrations, my appointments by mayors Anthony Russo and Dave Roberts were, I was told, based on my hard work, understanding of the issues, countless questions I would ask and general contribution to the board. I liked to think that my “civilian” involvement over the years on development issues, creating park space, community gardens, rent control, light rail and countless other subjects over 22 years always involved hard work and not being afraid to get my hands dirty, earned me my place on the board and my lack of political support for each of them never came into play.
Despite doing my best to make a case for reappointment and not take anything for granted, I was eventually informed that I was being replaced by one of the mayor’s campaign supporters so she could “take the board in a new direction”.
I have always cared deeply about Hoboken and my many thousands of community service hours were always in the spirit of contributing objectively and positively TOWARDS productive solutions rather than simply saying NO. While disappointed that the administration did not see it this way and preferred to play politics (while preaching transparency and an end to crony-ism), this is sometimes the outcome of taking the independent approach. I know it well.
In parting, the mayor mentioned that she hoped to have me be part of her “new citizen action initiatives” to which I responded that I remain happy to help the city in any way I can. I, for one, am tired of seeing the city’s great potential being outflanked by embarrassing news broadcasts on never ending scandals, mismanagement and squandered opportunities. The new administration will need all the help they can get (with or without me). I wish them the best and remain ready to help.

Best regards,
Hank Forrest

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