John Hallanan, an attorney working for Jersey City and a longtime conservationist, is Mayor Steven Fulop’s nominee to fill the vacated seat of Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal as Ward B councilman.
A former president of the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy, Hallanan was hired as a city attorney shortly after Fulop became mayor in 2013. He makes $61,500 annually.
He would have to leave the position working for the city if he joined the council.
Hallanan, 35, has sometimes served as temporary replacement for corporation counsel Jeremy Farrell. He is perceived as a key player in the Fulop administration and would, if approved by the council, help retain Fulop’s 7-2 majority on the council.
The vote will likely be held at a meeting in two weeks.
Councilman Richard Boggiano, who is seen as one of the two opposition members of the council, said the governing body still has final say over who will fill the position.
“It is up to the council and the council should interview all those interested,” he said. “We should have received the resumes, not Fulop.”
“We wanted to make sure that whoever fills the spot can hit the ground running.” Mayor Steven Fulop
Fulop said 14 people applied for the position.
“We interviewed four,” Fulop said. “We looked for a person that has civic involvement and at the same time familiarity with development. There are many major investments that are happening in Ward B and we wanted to make sure that whoever fills the spot can hit the ground running.”
Ramchal, a former running mate of Fulop’s, pleaded guilty on May 12 to driving a city vehicle while intoxicated and other charges related to an accident that occurred in March 2015. He gave up his council seat as part of a deal to avoid jail time.
Experienced in government and real estate law
Hallanan, who is known for his environmental conservatism, lives on Gifford Avenue on the west side of Jersey City.
A graduate of St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, Hallanan received his law degree from Rutgers School of Law.
His municipal responsibilities often involve working with the city corporation counsel and business administrator, key people involved with presenting resolutions to the city council. He has previously worked in the law department in City of Elizabeth, as well in the office of Bergen County Superior Court Judge John J. Langan and a private practices in Englewood.
His personal legal practice focuses on a number issues relevant to Jersey City such as real estate and landlord and tenant disputes.
Freeholder Bill O’Dea, for whom Ramchal served as legislative aide before becoming councilman, has positive things to say about Hallanan
“I have known his family for over 30 years and known him since he was a kid,” O’Dea said. “He is a long time vested in community and very active in St. Al’s. He is hardworking and very respectful. I believe he’s also been a Democratic committee member for B-16 for a few years. I can’t think of one bad thing to say about him, which as you know for me is rare.”
Hallanan has from time to time filled in as legal counsel during City Council caucuses and meetings, and was often involved in helping develop the agenda.
Always well-dressed, Hallanan once joked about being mistaken as one of the deputy mayors when he filled in as corporation counsel during one council meeting.
“I like to think I have what it takes to serve there,” he said.
In two weeks, the City Council will decide if they agree.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.