Mayor David Roberts (2001-2009)

Mayor David Roberts

Political Profile

Party: Democrate

Term:  June 30, 2005 thru July 1, 2009.  There continues to be persistant rumors that Mayor Roberts intends to step down before his term expires.

Potential Successor:
  Civil war on the City Council for appointment if he vacates his seat. 

Campaign Contributions: See extensive N.J. State ELEC reports.

Positive Accomplishments:

Political Mis-steps:

Administrative Record on the Issues:
Open Space:
Quality of Life:
Pay to Play:

City Budget Analysis:
FY 2001:
FY 2002:
FY 2003:
FY 2004:
FY 2005:
FY 2006:
FY 2007:
FY 2008:

Layoffs loom, parking meter increase could return

DECISIONS, DECISIONS – Mayor David Roberts is trying to avoid massive layoffs by creating as many new revenue ideas as possible. Last week he criticized the City Council for tabling many of the proposals.  
Mayor David Roberts is taking the necessary steps to ready the city for layoffs, demotions, or other reductions in force, he said last week.

The City Council may have to make serious decisions at their meeting this Wednesday.

The city has an $11.7 million deficit to make up, due to a financial hole that widened in last year's budget.

Before any city workers lose their jobs, Roberts says he will ask the City Council to consider the few revenue-increasing options he has proposed.

Some city-proposed revenue ideas were put on hold by the City Council at their last meeting to further examine their feasibility or necessity.

Among them are controversial matters designed to increase revenue, including forcing local businesses to pay recycling fees - a measure the city attorney has said is very hard to legally implement.

Since it is uncertain whether the city will save money in other ways, the layoff plan is already in motion, according to Roberts.

Roberts met with the city's unions last week to discuss other ways to save money, as well as the effects of layoffs.

He said layoff notices will likely be sent to municipal employees in October.

City Attorney Joseph Pojanowski, who was sitting in last week for Steve Kleinman while he was on vacation, said that once notices are sent out, the city has 45 days to act, by law.

Mayor Roberts' 2009 spending plan

Selling the automated garage, laying off municipal workers, more parking meters -- Hoboken Mayor Dave Roberts introduced his plan to patch up Hoboken's broken budget today.

Roberts said he will introduce his Spending Plan for Fiscal Year '09 at tonight's City Council meeting. He'll need the state of New Jersey's approval before passing anything.

"Anything that I'm presenting needs the state of New Jersey's approval and needs the municipal council's approval as well," said Roberts. "We're not arrogantly ignoring the fact that the state is involved. We understand that all of this will have to be ordained by the state of New Jersey but there's no harm in rolling up our sleeves and creating some new ideas."

What are some aspects of Roberts' three-part spending plan?

FY2008 Budget Report: Efficiency, Economic and Quality of Life Recommendations

Richard Tremitiedi's report on the FY2008 City Budget

To:  Honorable Mayor David Roberts   Report
From:  Richard Tremitiedi, Special Advisor

Date:  March 17, 2008

Subject:  Efficiency, Economic and Quality of Life Recommendations

Relative to my role as a special consultant to the mayor and after attending council meetings, budget workshops, and select discussions with professionals, administrative and elected officials, please be advised as follows:

Oh What A Tangled Web They Weave, When Politicians Practice to Deceive.

Hoboken Mayor David Roberts promises a "fair and impartial" investigation. But the Mayor, Hoboken's Chief Executive, was also present at Kenner. Is he investigating himself?

The Jersey Journal quoted Hoboken Mayor David Roberts as saying "that he would be "extraordinarily careful" in picking a replacement" for outgoing Police Chief Carmen LaBruno and that problems for LaBruno began after the now disbanded SWAT team's post-Hurricane Katrina trip to Kenner, La., in September 2005 and a subsequent visit to New Orleans for Mardi Gras the following year. 

Roberts is also quoted as saying that “he knew that there'd be criticism that there was "going to be a whitewash" and moved to ensure that the city was fair and impartial.“

Wait a second, weren’t there “other” City Officials on the “humanitarian” trips to Kenner, La?   How about Mayor David Roberts and Councilman Michael Russo?

In the quest for a scapegoat, it appears that one important mitigating circumstance may have been overlooked, the CHAIN OF COMMAND and a LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY TO ACT.

‘Open Sesame’ Just Won’t Do: Hoboken Tries to Unlock Its Cave

HOBOKEN, N.J., June 21 — The Cave of the Sibyl, where Virgil’s prophetess received Aeneas before leading him to the underworld, was a vast cavern in southern Italy with a hundred mouths. When the Sibyl spoke, her words came in a hundred voices.

A cave today in Hoboken has a similar name, but lacks some of the grandeur. The prophetess is spelled “Sybil,” and the cave’s lone mouth was sealed shut this month with loose dirt.

Nearby, teenage skaters show off in a riverside park, and cars dash by on Sinatra Drive, mostly unaware that this 20-foot-deep cave has its own enthralling history, and possibly historical treasure waiting to be found. It was a 19th-century retreat for wealthy New Yorkers who drank from the fresh spring inside the cave, paying a penny a glass for water that was thought to be medicinal.

In 1841, the bloodied body of Mary Cecilia Rogers drifted to shore near the mouth of Sybil’s Cave, and into legend, the subject of a thriller by Edgar Allan Poe. By the late 1950s, the cave and its magnificent facade had disappeared into the rock and shrubbery.

Let's hear how mayor spins it

Let's hear how mayor spins it

December 22, 2006 JJ
Letters to the Editor
My last letter raised a number of important questions.

1) How long have the apartments owned by Mayor Roberts on First and Monroe streets been vacant rather than be offered to needy families?

2) After all the grandstanding, how many dollars of the mayor's salary have actually been paid to homeless Hobokenites?

3) Exactly how much does Mayor Roberts get annually as his pension? And oh yeah, how much would that pension be if the less than five years he served as a firefighter weren't counted in his municipal service?

These are questions the city's public information officer should be answering.

Mr. Bill Campbell shouldn't be spending his time making legitimate questions about the mayor's finances into political sport. And while he's getting answers to those important questions, let me ask one more: Why does Mr. Campbell, who waxes poetic how wonderful it is to live in Hoboken, choose himself to live in Union City, in direct violation of Hoboken's residency requirement for city employees?


Soares acting like Grinch

In this holiday season of peace on earth and good will to man, it is disappointing that Tony Soares would choose to write a scathing personal and public attack on Hoboken Mayor David Roberts.

He can afford to skip salary

Recently, Mayor Roberts made two stunning announcements. The first, that he will no longer accept his $124,000 mayor's salary - Hudson County's highest.

One thing Roberts left out was that he recently started collecting a very large pension from his time served as a firefighter. If my memory serves me correctly those years total about four years tops, the rest served as leaves of absence while he was 6th Ward councilman. But the public pension systems being what they are in New Jersey, Mayor Roberts can now cash out as 16 years served as a councilman. Nice spin.

MHA: City Council: You know its wrong to buy a hospital

When the mayor decided to save St. Mary Hospital, he didn't suggest a referendum in which the citizens would decide whether or not to foot the bill. Instead, the issue is now in the hands of our elected representatives on the city council.

So let me directly address the city council members:

In your hearts, you know this is wrong.  You know that you are getting us, the taxpayers of Hoboken, in too deep.  You know that you don't know enough about hospital funding, Medicare reimbursements, insurance schemes, or the future of the medical industry to make a sound decision. Admit it, you have a hard time deciphering your own health-care plan. You are buying a failing hospital and hoping and wishing and praying that the people you hire don't run it into the ground like the folks at UMDNJ did to that hospital.

Mayor should support schools, parents' choices

In a recent column in a local newspaper, Mayor Roberts has indicated that he wants to change the process of selecting School Board members from an elected to -appointed Board. The reasoning given in the column is that the Mayor feels that the District is not responsive to the community. Apparently the Mayor thinks the public is incapable of making decisions facing our children. This is another not so veiled attempt by the Mayor to grab power for political gain.

Roberts seeks to reduce size of city council

HOBOKEN Mayor David Roberts is looking to slash the number of City Council members, saying it would make government more efficient and take some of the politicking out of the process.

Although the mayor said he wants to open up the idea for public debate, any change would likely be timed for the next mayoral election, in 2009.

"The amount of politics that goes on in Hoboken becomes unmanageable," said Roberts. "There should be less."

Construction of Hoboken's Permanent Floating Swimming Pool Completed But Destined for NYC

The March 7, 2004 newspaper headline said it all.... 'Our pool has floated to Brooklyn'   'Pols point fingers as free pool possibility passes'

October 17, 2006, pool construction has been completed and the "floating pool" embarks upon a 10 day voyage from Louisiana to its new home in NYC.

October 27, 2006, the barge is scheduled to arrive in New York Harbor for a "welcome party."

Questions about movie theater project

The Hoboken City Council has to decide if it’s worth giving a development company permission to build 100 units of market-rate housing so that they can also build a movie theater. The theater would not have to have any parking.  

Get out a tub of buttery popcorn, Gummi bears, and a large soda, because some drama is unfolding regarding the city's proposal to rezone a block of northern Hoboken to build a new movie theater.

Hoboken Parking Utility: Dispite Public Outcry, Mayor Roberts Increases Monthly Parking Garage Rates 20%

Despite a $ 4 Million surplus in the Hoboken Parking Authority operating budget, the Roberts Administration faction of the Hoboken City Council voted 6-3 in favor of a 20% increase in monthly parking garage rates.

Interesting enough, Hoboken Parking Director JOHN COREA while defending the need for the increase stated that the revenue was needed to maintain the garage facilities.    When asked about the $4 Million in surplus funds, COREA admitted that the "PROFITS" garnered from parking meters, garage space rentals, parking violation summonses, and booting/towing vehicles are transferred into the Hoboken GENERAL TREASURY. 

At one time, the purpose of the Hoboken Parking Authority was to create parking within the City.  Four years ago, Mayor Roberts dissolved the autonomous Hoboken Parking Authority and created the city controlled Hoboken Parking Utility.  It is now apparent that the sole purpose of the Hoboken Parking Utility is to operate as a public “for profit” business enterprise with the “surplus funds” used to fund Hoboken City government.

The resolution to increase monthly garage parking rates was sponsored by Councilwoman-at-Large Terry LaBruno and approved by Fourth Ward Council Christopher Campos, Fifth Ward Councilman Michael T. Cricco, Sixth Ward Councilman Nino Giacchi, Councilman-at-Large Ruben Ramos Jr., and Councilman-at-Large Peter Cammarano.

First Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castallano, Second Ward Councilman Richard Del Boccio and Third Ward Councilman Michael Russo voted against the increase.

Adding 3 stories a no-go Residents applaud vote

To cheers from the audience, the City Council voted 5-4 narrowly voted down introduction of an ordinance that would have added three stories to the proposed building at the municipal garage site on Observer Highway.

The original plan for the 1-acre site called for a 240-unit building with a "step-down" design ranging from seven to nine stories, while the latest design called for a building ranging from nine to 12 stories.

Mayor Roberts has his facts wrong

Mayor Roberts, last week, in a published advertisement stated "we have identified seven acres of land in the southwest section of Hoboken as the next park site." As usual, the Mayor appears to be getting his facts wrong.

Proud to be a Hoboken resident

Hoboken is a unique urban environment, featuring the best of the "old world" and the invigorating spirit of a new generation. Our streets are abundant with residents of all ages and we continue to embrace the traditions of our founding over 150 years ago.

Mayor Roberts mistakes 'promises' for 'achievements'

Last week, the Hoboken Reporter published an advertisement from Mayor Roberts in which he pats himself on the back for all he has achieved. Unfortunately, the Mayor seems to mistake promises for achievements. Not one of his "achievements" has, as yet, actually been achieved. The Mayor will earn the credit he seeks only if, and when, his "achievements" become real.

Surprise! by Richard Kamber

Hoboken Reporter

Dear Editor:

This week's mess at the Garden Street automated garage at 916 Garden should come as no surprise. In 2002, after 33 years of providing parking structures across Hoboken, the old Hoboken Parking Authority was closed. Despite repeated promises "not to raid the piggybank" the $8 million surplus it had saved was used to close a gap in the city's budget. (This practice of liquidating Hoboken's assets to cover structural deficits in the municipal budget has continued ever since.)

At the urging of Carol Marsh and Tony Soares, Hoboken then hired Leonard Bier, an independent parking consultant, to interview candidates to head the newly formed Hoboken Parking Utility. Four finalists were selected, but none was hired. Instead the job went to John Corea, a defeated candidate for city council. What were his credentials? According to the Hoboken Reporter (February 1, 2004), Corea had no professional experience in parking. He had been a member of the New York Stock Exchange before being found guilty of improper trading and banned for life from trading on the exchange.

Since taking the helm of the Parking Utility, Corea has not been able to prevent a string of operational failures. Now, according to the Hoboken Reporter, he is quarrelling with the operators of the Garden Street garage, Robotic Parking Systems. Robotic Parking has said--in the most graphic terms - they can no longer work with him.

One of the keys to good city government is to make sure that managerial positions are filled with experienced, conscientious, and honest professionals. The cost of doing otherwise is waste and a breakdown of important services. It now appears likely that the Garden Street garage will be shut down by August 1st and 314 cars turned out on to our crowded streets. Even if the immediate crisis is avoided, the prospects for dramatic improvements in management are dim.

What to do? The first step is to transfer responsibility for running the Parking Utility to an interim director. Leonard Bier, who was on the right track three years ago, might be a good choice. The second step is to run an honest search for the best possible candidate and hire that person. The third step is to do the same throughout Hoboken city government.

Richard Kamber 

Council meeting goes to 1 a.m. Southwest redevelopment area established; mayor's open space pledges meets skepticism

The goals for the southwest corner of Hoboken are easy enough to express. It's a traffic-clogged, flood-prone, park-starved area that has century-old sewers. It could use traffic planning, new open space, and major infrastructure improvements.

Those needs are largely uncontested, but there is controversy over how to make them happen.

A packed council chamber More than 150 people looked on as the Hoboken City Council debated until 1 a.m. Wednesday night. They finally voted 5-4 to create a Southwest "Industrial Transition" District Redevelopment Area.

Hoboken's Finest snubbed by Mayor

By nature of our work and routine 24-hour vehicle patrol schedule, police officers are first to arrive on scene, especially on reports of working fires. The immediate duties of police officers on fire scene are to quickly assess the situation; immediately evacuate all people who might be at serious risk from within the burning building and those surrounding it; maintain traffic and crowd control. This allows for responding firefighters to focus attention on extinguishing the fire while utilizing their training, skills, equipment and advanced breathing apparatus to enter the burning structure to rescue those who may be trapped within.

$73.2M city budget; $51M school budget

Hoboken residents will be able to speak at Wednesday's City Council meeting on the proposed $73.2 million Hoboken city budget, and they will be able to vote on April 18 on the recently approved $51.2 million school budget.

Both budgets figure into residents' property tax payments, along with the county budget to be struck in June.

Hoboken's 2% tax hike spurs vow of cost cuts

The party's over for property owners in the Mile Square City. Property owners received their first-quarter estimated tax bills in the mail last week and saw a 2-percent municipal tax increase - the first hike in more than 10 years.

Hoboken Mayor announces plans to dig up Sybil's Cave. A hidden part of Hoboken's history will soon be uncovered, says mayor

Edger Allen Poe based a detective story on events that happened there, wealthy Manhattanites used to enjoy their recreation outside of it, health seekers drank its spring water for the supposed medicinal effects, and now Hoboken Mayor David Roberts wants to uncover this lost and nearly forgotten Hoboken treasure.

Sybil's Cave, at the foot of Castle Point, which is now hidden behind tangled bushes, layers of dirt and serpentine boulders might be given a new life. Roberts announced his plans Tuesday to dig up the cave, restore it, and open it to the public. While Roberts says he will pay for the renovation out of his own pocket, he plans on partnering with Stevens Institute of Technology, which owns the property, and the Board of Education, which can use the unearthing as a history and literary lesson. "This is going to be a really fun project to undertake," said the almost giddy Roberts Tuesday. He is particularly excited about the fact that Hoboken students will be able to watch as the excavation takes place and can study about Hoboken's history, the geology of caves and natural freshwater springs and read the literature of Edgar Allen Poe.

City Budget: Open letter to the Honorable David Roberts

Dear Mayor Roberts:

The purpose of this letter is to summarize the consensus of the Advisory Committee that you convened to discuss with you the fiscal alternatives that the City of Hoboken is currently considering. The Advisory Committee represents a cross section of large and small business owners as well as policy-makers.

City Budget: New bond proposal will provide a win-win situation for our city

Dear Editor:

Soon, I will formally present a rough draft of my 2004 municipal budget to the City Council through a series of workshops. This is the earliest in years that our City Council will have the opportunity to review our spending plan and provide their recommendations.

While I would like to hold off on specifics until I meet with each council member individually, I would like to share some highlights that I strongly believe will be beneficial to our community. As I previously announced, the budget will be significantly lower than last year's and will maintain a stabilized tax rate.

City Budget: Has David washed his hands like Pontius "Pilot" Payments In Lieu of Taxes

Dear Editor:

It is rare these days I agree with anything Mayor David Roberts does. His recent reversal of his position on Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILOTS), places us in agreement on how to lower property taxes, lower rents determined by property taxes and increase ratables in Hoboken. Increased ratables have always been a sound method of holding the line on property tax increases. The greater the ratables the larger amount of taxes paid by developers and large projects instead of individual homeowners or those with a small number of apartments to rent.

City Budget: OK, let's look at what Roberts has done - and hasn't

In his letter in the Oct. 27 issue, Hoboken's Chief Financial Officer Michael Lenz asks that the we judge the Roberts administration "on what we do". I agree. Let's look at their fiscal record.

Councilman Roberts used to rail against high spending at the Board of Education. Yet in the last election, Mayor Roberts took no position on the budget? How should we view his silence?

City to investigate 916 Garden. Mayor to launch fact-finding task force to probe delayed garage

INQUEST – Mayor David Roberts has formed a task force uncover the current status of the 324-car automated garage. 
Frustrated with the lack of progress at the 324-car garage at 916 Garden St., Mayor David Roberts announced that he will be launching a independent investigation into the garage. According to city officials, Police Chief Carmen LaBruno and Professor Constantin Chassapis, director of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, will lead the fact-finding mission on the 916 garage.

The investigation will begin immediately, and the mayor expects an initial report of findings and recommendations to be completed within the next two weeks.