Letter to the Editor: Eduardo Gonzalez Responds to Jake Stuiver

Hoboken Housing Authority Commissioner Eduardo Gonzalez defends his position, calls for leadership that builds consensus.

Dear Editor,

Yesterday, Patch posted an open letter from Chairman Jake Stuiver, which among other things attacked my service on the Housing Authority. 

To set the record straight, I have been a member of the Housing Authority for four years.  Mayor Zimmer, Councilman Cunningham, Councilman Bhalla, Councilman Mello and Councilwoman Mason appointed me. Over the past 4 years, I have justified the support of the Mayor and the Council by working with the other Housing Authority Commissioners, as well as the Authority's staff, to implement innovative programs and much needed reforms. Our accomplishments include resurfacing Mama Johnson Field, increasing the police presence in the Authority, and thus reducing crime. These changes have benefited not just the residents of the Housing Authority, but all residents of Hoboken. 

Recently, however, this progress has come to a grinding halt and under the Chairman’s leadership a once dynamic board is now dysfunctional. As the Chairman writes in his letter, discourse among a governing body is healthy. Our work does require an intellectually honest approach; unfortunately, his actions differ from his written words.

At our meeting in January, I stated that the Board majority was an extension of the City's politics, not policies. I am not opposed to an auditor or legal counsel; I oppose the time it has taken to choose one. I object to the lack of leadership that is stifling the momentum that had been occurring prior to his appointment as Chairman. If the Board majority had competent leadership it would not take over five months to select legal counsel nor over four months to appoint an auditor, costing the Housing Authority and City taxpayers thousands of dollars.  As the Chairman of the Board, Commissioner Stuiver is responsible for building consensus and moving the Authority forward. The delay in choosing an auditor was his doing. Chairman Stuiver lacks the leadership skill set to fulfill the duties of a Board Chair. His incompetent leadership has paralyzed the Board, alienated residents of the Authority, and has directly jeopardized the financial security of the Authority by delaying the appointment of an auditor. 

I encourage cooperation and reform, as my record as a Commissioner reflects.  Chairman Stuiver says that the Authority is changing. And indeed it is. Unfortunately, it is changing from a dynamic, cooperative Authority where individuals are hired based on merit to an Authority where political friends are rewarded, ideas are dismissed not because of their merits but because they came from the  "wrong" person. Ironically, Chairman Stuiver’s lack of leadership is prohibiting the continuation of the reforms that were making the Authority more efficient and a better place not just for the residents of the Authority but also for the entire city. I remain committed to the Authority, its residents, and the people of Hoboken and hope that the Chairman learns that leadership is more than using a bully pulpit to be a bully. It is about vision and building consensus. When Chairman Stuiver puts people before politics, I will be the first to work with him. Until then, I will continue to fight against cronyism and the Chairman’s "us v. them" politics and for the residents of the Authority and the taxpayers. 



Commissioner Eduardo Gonzalez

Ojo Rojo January 18, 2013 at 02:45 PM
You are arguing a legal definition. I am expressing an opinion as to what I consider to be a waste of taxpayer resources. And just so you know, people like me consider settling cases just to reduce legal bills a complete waste of money if the expected legal bills to fight the case are smaller than the cost of the settlement. The concept of the all-in cost of something might not mean much to people like you who work for someone who spends money like it is going out of fashion but it does to those of us who watch how much we spend and who care about the all in cost of dealing w/ things.
Ojo Rojo January 18, 2013 at 02:51 PM
You need to go look up what "dismissed without prejudice" means. It does not at all mean the city lost. A dismissal with prejudice would mean the city lost and that did not happen at all.
XJS January 18, 2013 at 03:41 PM
I looked it up. Dismissed without prejudice means it can be refiled or brought back. It's not the end of the line.
puzzledone January 18, 2013 at 03:54 PM
A city council member explained everything very clearly (much better than this rambling legal "theory" complete with allegations), including why the dismissal occurred on another board.
demosthenes January 18, 2013 at 04:35 PM
David I can see that googling unimportant information is one of the attributes that caused you to be "overqualified" for the job you are bitter about not getting that you applied for even though you had no interest in getting it. I mispoke when I said Zimmer had no role - I should have said she had no role as mayor only as a councilperson. My point was that Mr. Gonzalez was appointed with reform support despite a known track record as a mason operative, in what with hindsight appears to have been a naive and misguided attempt by reform to broaden their coalition. This is hardly indicative of an "us" vs. them" mentality on the part of reform. I refer to the attempt as naive and misguided because Mr. Gonzalez's vote against pay to play for the HHA made clear that he lacks both the ethical compass and the judgment to be able to make sound policy choices untainted by his own political ambitions which remain tied to his long time patrons.


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