Parking director, city employee arrested after altercation
On Thursday morning, Parking and Transportation Director Ian Sacs was in an altercation with a city employee, Bill Laney, and the two were arrested. Laney was charged with simple assault, and Sacs was charged with harassment and theft of property, according to police. Laney was suspended with pay. Sacs was not disciplined.
On Thursday, Mayor Dawn Zimmer defended Sacs and said he was a victim of “workplace violence.” City Hall released a statement giving their version of the incident: “On his way to work, Director Sacs came across one of the Hop buses left idling, unattended, unlocked, without passengers, and parked illegally on the side of the street. After looking around for the driver unsuccessfully, he returned the unoccupied bus to the city garage as is his responsibility and obligation to the City. Director Sacs then proceeded to bring the keys to the bus back to City Hall.” At some point, Sacs and Laney had an altercation in City Hall.
Council President Beth Mason, a frequent critic of Zimmer’s administration, said in a statement on Friday: “The actions taken yesterday by Mayor Dawn Zimmer and the city administration in response to an altercation between a city employee and City Parking Authority Director Ian Sacs are very troubling. The mayor’s decision to suspend the employee without pay, while keeping her friend, Mr. Sacs, on the payroll with free legal advice from the corporation counsel, goes beyond any reasonable bounds of fairness."
On Friday, Zimmer released a new statement. She said: “After yesterday’s incident occurred, my administration immediately began an investigation. Given that this is a personnel matter, it was absolutely essential that the city determine the facts so that we could take appropriate action. All disciplinary decisions were based on direct eye witness accounts provided to the corporation counsel’s office.”
Another council member, Tim Occhipinti, released a statement on Friday as well: “I am … concerned that only one of the individuals involved in the alleged altercation was suspended. The director, who was also arrested and faces criminal charges, was not suspended. It is equally disturbing to hear from witnesses that the city director was allowed to meet with city attorneys, while the employee received no such legal advice.”
Zimmer has said a third party investigation will take place to look into the incident. Mason wasn't satisfied.
“The mayor has called for a ‘third-party investigation’ into this matter,” Mason said. “Before she spends any more tax dollars to defend Mr. Sacs, she should let the Hoboken police conduct a thorough and objective investigation and let our courts decide where to affix responsibility for this ugly incident.”
Zimmer defended her decisions on Friday: “As with every personnel matter, our Office of Corporation Counsel conducts a fact-finding investigation before filing administrative charges against an employee…we have brought in an outside independent party to conduct an investigation of the matter. Michael D’Anton from the law offices of Chasan, Leyner & Lamparello has already begun his investigation, which we expect will conclude in the near future. This firm had previously been approved by the City Council.”
HoLa to host ‘Fiesta de Libros’ on March 27
The Hoboken Dual Language Charter School (HoLa) will host a “Fiesta de Libros” event on Sunday, March 27 from 2:30 - 5:30 p.m., at HoLa, located at 123 Jefferson St.
The Fiesta will include a book fair with Spanish and English Scholastic titles for elementary children., The event will also include special guest readers from the Hoboken community, guest authors and illustrators, crafts, and a bake sale.
The guest speakers include: Maria Acosta, Director of HoLa, Darren Farrell, author/illustrator, Carmelo G. Garcia, Executive Director of the Hoboken Housing Authority and Hoboken Board of Education Trustee, Jan Huling, author, Phil Huling, illustrator, Patricia Keeler and Francis McCall, authors, Joe Pineiro, a Hoboken Firefighter and Assemblyman Ruben J. Ramos, Jr.
For questions, contact the HoLa Parent Teacher Organization at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ambulance Corp. hosting blood drive in HUMC Assumption Hall
On Friday, April 8, the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corp will sponsor a blood drive in conjunction with The Blood Center of New Jersey from 3:30 - 7:30 p.m. in Assumption Hall at Hoboken University Medical Center, 308 Willow Ave.
“The drive is being held in an effort to meet the urgency of the community’s increasing need for blood,” according to a press release.
Sixteen years olds can now donate blood in the state of New Jersey with parental/guardian consent. The consent forms will be available at the blood drive, and a parent or guardian must accompany the donor.
Those wishing to donate can just show up for the drive. For more information, call 973-676-4700, ext. 145.
Hoboken Spring Arts & Music Festival scheduled for May 1
On May 1, the Hoboken Spring Arts and Musical Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Washington Street between Observer Highway and Seventh Street. Admission is free.
The event will feature over 300 artists, sculptors, photographers and craftspeople, as well as rides, games, face painting, restaurants, local businesses and food vendors.
The event will also feature three stages of live music with performances from bands such as Ian Hunter and the Rant Band, the Baseball Project, The Fuzzy Lemons, and many more.
A children’s stage will also feature a special section with fine artists located between Second and Third streets, ethnic foods, rides, games, a magic show, and face painting.
Vendor applications are currently available by calling (201) 420-2207 or emailing email@example.com.
The event is sponsored by The Hudson Reporter, Optimum, NY Waterway Ferry, Sheraton Suites, Capital One Bank, and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Two groups to hold school board forum
All eight candidates for the April 27 Hoboken school board election have been invited to participate in an open forum at 6:45 p.m. on April 4 at Kidde Hall at the Stevens Institute of Technology. The hall is on the Sixth Street entrance to the campus.
The forum is sponsored by the Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition and the Hoboken Family Alliance.
Three seats are up for grabs in the April 27 election.