Former Gov. James McGreevey to head Jersey City’s Employment & Training Commission
Mayor Steven Fulop on July 12 announced the appointment of former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey to serve as the executive director of the Jersey City Employment and Training Commission.
The commission is charged with the responsibility of overseeing workforce training in the city, linking training with job creation, and identifying job opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed. McGreevey will also be responsible for working with the business community, local colleges and universities, labor unions, and non-profits to identify potential job opportunities and skilled training.
“Gov. McGreevey has worked hands-on with the inmate population and with re-entry programs and will be a valuable asset to us as we develop a re-entry program for Jersey City,” said Mayor Fulop. “We are fortunate to have such a distinguished and knowledgeable individual to lead what is one of the most critical positions.”
In addition, McGreevey will work to design and implement a Jersey City Reintegration Program for ex-offenders being released from New Jersey State Prisons and the Hudson County Correctional Center. Working closely with the Hudson County jail, County Re-Integration Services, and the Hudson County Re-Integration Task Force, Jersey City will develop a case management system to work with ex-offenders toward identifying work, housing and social services.
City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said late Friday McGreevey will begin his new post on September 9 and will earn $110,000.
“Having a former governor with 10 years’ experience in this field that he is an expert in is a unique and exciting opportunity for Jersey City,” Fulop stated in a release Friday. “With Gov. McGreevey’s background and portfolio, we can leverage private investment and develop a prisoner re-entry program that becomes a national model.”
Currently, McGreevey works with the women of the Hudson County Integrity Program with Director Oscar Aviles of the Hudson County Correctional Center and Integrity House, and will continue to volunteer with the women. Having pursued seminary education and training, he served with formerly incarcerated women and men in Harlem, New York. He also works with the women upon discharge to secure mentoring, a continued commitment to principles of recovery, and reintegration into the Hudson County workforce. The Hudson County program has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice Second Chance Program. It is one of two re-entry programs in the nation to be funded through 2015.
“It is a privilege to work for and with Mayor Fulop in addressing a critical need,” said McGreevey. “Having been born in the Hague [hospital in Jersey City] and baptized at St. Patrick’s, it is wonderful to be coming ‘home’ to the place where my grandparents and parents raised a family. It is an honor to serve people who need a second chance, something I’ve valued in my life.”
Previously there had been reports that Fulop was interested in hiring McGreevey to be the city’s business administrator, but had to find another post for his mentor after the state would not give McGreevey a waiver to be business administrator without the required professional license.
4th Annual ARTfest to highlight local talent in Jersey City
Meet local business owners and artisans while enjoying an eclectic line-up of poets and musicians at the fourth annual celebration of ARTfest on Thursday, July 18. Musical performances will include Brianne Ford, Kadian Quartet, and DJ Iris. Artfest is an annual celebration of local entrepreneurs hosted by Rising Tide Capital. This year’s event is organized in partnership with Sustainable Jersey City, Pro Arts, and the Culinary Conference Center at Hudson County Community College.
ARTfest will take place at the Culinary Conference Center at 161 Newkirk Street. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. For further information contact Shantia Smith at (201) 432-4316, ext. 111 or e-mail her at Tia@risingtidecapital.org.
American Cancer Society looking for teams for Oct. walk in Jersey City
The American Cancer Society is looking for people to participate in its annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Jersey City. The walk will take place in Lincoln Park on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 8 a.m.
Each year, nearly 300 communities across the country, including Jersey City, participate in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks. According to the American Cancer Society, which is celebrating its centennial year, Making Strides is the largest network of events to benefit breast cancer research in the nation. These walks unite thousands of cancer survivors, caregivers, the friends and family members of women who have battled the disease, and others whose lives have been touched by this disease.
In addition to team participants, the American Cancer Society is also looking for volunteers and sponsors for the October Making Strides event in Jersey City.
For more information on Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Jersey City, visit http://makingstrideswalk.org/jerseycity or e-mail JerseyCity.Strides@cancer.org.
Online petition calls for Fulop to make art maven Brauser culture ‘ambassador’; move could be political push to oust Kelleher
Current government workers, ex-politicians, and regular Jersey City residents have been lobbying for jobs ever since Steve Fulop was elected mayor. Most people are doing their lobbying quietly behind the scenes. But at least one lobbying effort has gone very public.
Last week, Jersey City artist and Creative Grove founder Uta Brauser circulated an e-mail that contained a link to an online petition that asks Mayor Fulop to make her an “ambassador of art and culture.” Brauser, who recently closed her Fish with Braids art gallery because the building in which it was housed is being redeveloped for residential housing, is said to be interested in a senior post with the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs.
“My friend started a petition for me in regards to a city appointment in the sector of art and culture with [the] new administration,” Brauser wrote to friends and associates on July 3. “This is the link: http://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-steven-fulop-we-ask-to-appoint-uta-brauser-as-the-ambassador-of-art-and-culture.”
The succinct petition notes Brauser’s “vision and strategic outreach in the community, and her activities need to get incorporated into city policies. Jersey City is in need of improvements, in particular within the sectors of culture and economic development. The cultural scene reflects economy in as much as it attracts business. It would be wonderful if our new mayor could bestow an official capacity onto Ms. Brauser so that she may continue to create and expand the work she has begun.”
The petition continues with “Mayor Steven Fulop: We ask to appoint Uta Brauser as the ambassador of art and culture.”
At present, no such position as “ambassador” exists within the Division of Cultural Affairs. It is unclear whether the petition is an attempt to get Fulop to create such a position or is an attempt to get him to hire Brauser as the director of Cultural Affairs.
The current director of Cultural Affairs is Maryanne Kelleher.
Brauser is a longtime Fulop supporter. Kelleher was allied with former Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, but has said in that past that she has a good working relationship with Fulop. Kelleher was among the key staff who helped organize Fulop’s July 1 inauguration.
As of press time on July 12, the online petition had 61 signatures. Thirty-nine additional supporters were still needed.
Barclays announces ‘Tickets Fore Charity’ fundraising opportunity
The Barclays, an event on the 2013 PGA Tour, announced this week that it is offering various charities around New York and New Jersey the chance to sell tickets to the PGA golf tournament held at Liberty National in Jersey City from Aug. 20 through Aug. 25. The goal of the program, called Tickets Fore Charity, is aimed at improving the quality of life in the communities where PGA events are held.
Through the program, The Barclays is providing 501(c)(3) organizations with the opportunity to promote tournament tickets to benefit their organization. 100 percent of the net proceeds from the ticket sales (net proceeds exclude tax or processing fees) will go to charity – 75 percent to the charity promoting the tickets; and 25 percent to The First Tee of Metropolitan New York.
The First Tee is an initiative of the World Golf Foundation aimed at positively impacting the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf.
There are two types of tickets available through the program – a weekly grounds ticket for $125 and a good-any-one-day grounds ticket for $55. The weekly grounds ticket is valid for each day of the tournament from Tuesday, Aug. 20, through Sunday, Aug. 25. Tickets can be purchased at www.buytfc.com.
Two Jersey City municipal workers arrested within two weeks; Mayor Fulop vows to install GPS in all city vehicles
On July 10, a Jersey City Department of Public Works (DPW) manager was arrested for allegedly soliciting prostitution while allegedly driving a municipal vehicle he was not authorized to use after work hours, according to Mayor Steven Fulop. That employee, George Reyes, 47, of North Arlington, is now facing termination for the alleged incident.
According to the mayor’s office, Jersey City police observed Reyes allegedly soliciting sex from an alleged prostitute on Danforth and Ocean avenues just after 6 p.m. while in a marked DPW car. Reyes has been charged with prowling for the purpose of engaging in prostitution and unlawful taking of means of conveyance.
This incident came just days after Jersey City Police Detective William Kallert was charged by local police with DWI. Kallert was immediately suspended without pay after he was found allegedly intoxicated in an unmarked police vehicle he was not authorized to use after hours.
Referring to the Reyes incident, Fulop said in a press release Thursday, “This is the second time in just one week that a city employee has [allegedly] committed a crime while using a city vehicle without authorization, which speaks to the pervasive culture of abuse that has been allowed to exist in Jersey City. This is unacceptable and we are going to root out this type of behavior and put an end to it. We will not tolerate this…My expectation is that all city employees will be role models both on and off duty and clearly this was not the case tonight. We will deal with this incident both aggressively and fairly.”
To help address the alleged misuse of municipal vehicles after work hours, Fulop said he plans to add GPS devices to all city cars. The mayor has already announced plans to end the use of take-home city vehicles for nonemergency workers. This plan goes into effect on Aug. 1.
NJ Supreme Court rebuffs governor's elimination of affordable housing body
The New Jersey Supreme Court on ruled on July 10 that Gov. Christopher Christie cannot eliminate the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH). The court found that Christie does not have the authority to abolish COAF, which is an independent agency.
COAH was established in 1985 in response to the Fair Housing Act of that year and a series of New Jersey Supreme Court rulings known as the Mount Laurel decisions which mandated that municipalities provide low/moderate income housing.
Developers are supposed to include a certain percentage of affordable housing in their projects, or give municipalities money so they can build affordable housing on their own.
Housing advocates welcomed the ruling, arguing that New Jersey has a dearth of affordable housing and needs an independent agency to assist in remedying the problem.
This case dates back two years, when the legislature passed a Democrat-sponsored housing measure that included the council’s elimination. The governor vetoed the bill, calling it insufficient, and instead submitted a plan that abolished the council and transferred its duties to a state department.
That prompted a suit, and last year a lower court ruled against Christie. The governor appealed to the state’s highest court, but on Wednesday it upheld the lower court decision.
A lawyer for the Fair Share Housing Center said the court’s decision is important, because it provides for greater transparency when decisions are made about where affordable housing actually gets built.
County: Fulop can’t stop Jersey City property reval
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop does not have the authority to halt the citywide property revaluation ordered by his predecessor, Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, according to Hudson County Tax Administrator Donald J. Kenny.
In a report to the Hudson County Freeholders, Kenny said the Fulop administration and Jersey City Council can request that the reval be delayed, as Healy and the council did last year, but it is up to the tax assessor and the county Board of Taxation to recommend a delay to the state.
Kenny added that Fulop can choose to withhold municipal funds from paying for the revaluation process, but this would likely result in action by the state Attorney General to force the revaluation to continue.
Fulop ordered a halt to the revaluation process after taking office on July 1.
Have you heard about Jersey City Free Books?
Jersey City Free Books is a community book exchange that offers people literature to read, completely free of charge, without obligation or registration. Jersey City Free Books serves seniors, students, the unemployed, and working families. Thousands of books are available through the exchange. Everyone is welcome to take any number of books for his or her personal use and enjoyment.
The exchange can also offer books to large institutions, such as hospitals, shelters, homes for the elderly, and prisons. The only requirement is that the individuals picking up the books bring their own boxes for packing.
Finally, Jersey City Free Books is looking for book donations so the exchange can continue its work. The exchange is located at 297 Griffith St. For more information, visit http://JerseyCityFreeBooks.com.
Dance Fest 2013 to showcase Kennedy Dancers
The city’s Division of Cultural Affairs last week kicked off Dance Fest, a series of free dance concerts that will be performed each Thursday at Owen Grundy Pier (near Exchange Place) through Aug. 8. Performances begin at 6:30 p.m. The concert series will feature the work of the Kennedy Dancers, a Jersey City-based dance company.
Against the New York skyline, the company will perform Meadowlands Serenade and Force of Circumstance and segments from La Dolce Vita and In the Heights.
Two other dance companies, the Rogue Dancers and Ballet Inc., will also perform as part of Dance Fest on Thursday, July 11 and Thursday, July 18, respectively.