HOBOKEN -- Tonight (Wednesday night), the City Council may consider applications for a seat on the city's seven-member board that oversees the federally funded low income housing. While the seats are unpaid, they are seen as a way to raise one's visibility during election time in a heavily populated part of town. They are also a way to have a chance to improve conditions for the city's poorest residents, along with seniors and those who are disabled.
A resolution to appoint a new commissioner is on the council agenda tonight and may spark as much controversy as last month, when a seat also opened up and one candidate criticized the process.
The seat is opening because Commissioner Marianne Camporeale apparently did not finish her required training courses in the alotted 18-month period. After the discovery, both Camporeale and HHA Director Carmelo Garcia maintained last week that Camporeale is "still a commissioner."
Read more here. However, today, Council President Ravi Bhalla said that the council has received information from the state Department of Community Affairs, the governing authority of the HHA, that Camporeale has indeed been vacated from the board.
A letter obtained by the Reporter this afternoon from the DCA states that it cannot give Camoreale an extension as requested. It states that she finished three out of five courses and can reapply for a seat after she finishes the other two, at her own expense. It says she is deemed to have vacated the slot as of Jan. 21.
Bhalla said that the applicants are Joseph Branco (a local businessman), Gregory Lincoln (a former council candidate), Michael Lenz (a former councilman), and Jeremy Deluca. The application process was questioned during a May council meeting which ultimately saw the appointment of councilman David Mello to the HHA. During the meeting, Branco said he felt "slighted" and asked if his application was ever considered.
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