According to a joint statement from City Council President Jen Giattino and Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, the two were at Hoboken City Hall (94 Washington Street) yesterday addressing a constituent’s possible eviction. As they finished, the two councilwomen were approached by City Hall security who said they were instructed by the administration to escort the two councilwomen out of the building because “they had no business in City Hall”.
“It is alarming that the administration ordered our removal from City Hall while we were helping a Hoboken resident at risk of losing his home,” said the two elected city officials, in a joint statement.
“As duly elected representatives and active members of the city’s government, we will continue to be a presence in City Hall and we will not tolerate nor be intimidated by this attempt to prevent us from doing the job we were elected to do—representing and advocating for the residents of Hoboken. This level of bullying has no place in our city let alone from within City Hall and everyone should be concerned by this misuse of power exhibited by the mayor’s office.”
This move comes days after Hoboken City Council voted 8-1 to approve an amended municipal budget that trimmed $836,000 from the administration’s proposed budget. Of that, $115,000 will come directly from the Mayor’s spending budget—impacting salaries of administration personnel.
As of press time, the City has not responded to hMAG‘s request for comment.
***UPDATE (9:47 a.m.): hMAG has received the following statement from Hoboken City Spokesperson Vijay Chauduri:
Unfortunately, Councilmember Fisher hours later verbally berated and cursed at the Business Administrator in public during his lunch break. She owes the BA an apology for her utter lack of professionalism and meltdown.
***UPDATE TO THE UPDATE (10:20 a.m.): Councilwoman Fisher has issued a follow-up to the City’s statement:
“It is not surprising at all that the mayor’s office via the communications director Vijay Chaudhuri chooses to be dishonest to the public and continue their bullying tactics to cover their transgressions. When Director Marks happened to walk by me at lunch at Madison yesterday, where I was sitting outside with a friend, I said hello and then asked him about the removal order and he told me he was just following directions. We then continued our perfectly constructive conversation, as usual, and discussed other city business including the planned upgrades for the intersection of 14th and Shipyard Lane. The only meltdown happening is Vijay’s.”
***UPDATE TO THE UPDATE TO THE UPDATE (10:33 a.m.): Councilman Michael DeFusco has offered the following statement:
“It’s disturbing that the administration would forcibly remove any Hoboken resident from City Hall, much less two women elected by their constituents to represent their best interests. Council members Fisher and Giattino are both dedicated public servants who have worked hard for years to improve our city, and they deserve much better than to be thrown out of a building we all pay for as taxpayers. It’s also very troubling for the Mayor’s taxpayer-funded spokesman to accuse Councilwoman Fisher having a ‘meltdown,’ because this kind of tone smacks of the type of misogyny many women in leadership positions receive all too often. This City Council stands ready to work with Mayor Bhalla on important issues, and recent shared accomplishments like the Suez contract and the city budget speak to that fact. However, we won’t allow him to bully us into submission and we will continue to speak truth to power and hold the Mayor accountable, because that’s the job Hoboken elected us to do.”
***UPDATE TO THE UPDATE TO THE UPDATE TO THE UPDATE (10:54 a.m.): Chaudhuri responds to DeFusco’s comments:
Mike DeFusco has no business lecturing anyone – as observers of Council meetings see firsthand, his constant belittling and mansplaining of Councilwoman Jabbour displays his frequent lack of respect for women.
***UPDATE TO THE UPDATE TO THE UPDATE TO THE UPDATE TO THE UPDATE (1:51 p.m.): We have EXCLUSIVE confirmation that Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher had the “Buffalo Chicken Tacos” for lunch at The Madison, which are reportedly “So incredibly delicious.” Our sources tell us that the meal was part of Tuesday’s lunch specials menu:
(EDITOR’S NOTE: We can do this all day, apparently…)