After numerous rumors of Katia Stack's leaving her position as director of Revenue and Finance for the city of Hoboken, Stack officially resigned on Aug. 29 to take over the Union City Day Care program.
Stack, who is the wife of Union City Mayor Brian Stack, was appointed to the executive director's position with the Union City Day Care Program, Inc., during a special meeting of the day care Board of Directors this past Thursday. Tatiana Martin, who is the wife of City Commissioner Luis Martin, will remain as the day care's assistant director.
Michael Leggiero, the president of the day care's Board of Directors and a commissioner in Union City, said that the board's Personnel Committee voted unanimously to appoint Stack.
"We were all impressed with the fact that Stack was raised and educated in Union City," said Leggiero. "Stack possesses an understanding of the needs in our community and is well aware of the issues that impact families and their children."
The day care program is an autonomous agency that receives only a small "donor share" from the city. In the daycare's $4.5 million budget, the City of Union City provides a donor share of only $232,777.
The majority of the day care's funding is provided by the state Department of Human Services, which funds the day care's wrap around services, and the Union City Board of Education, which contributes $2 million to fund the cost of the students enrolled in the district.
Although Stack's contract has not yet been finalized, Leggiero said she will probably be receiving close to $90,000 a year in salary. Her appointment will be effective as of Sept. 1.
The nine-member day care Board of Directors consists of the city's five commissioners, two members of the Board of Education and two Union City residents. However, to remove any conflicts, Brian Stack resigned from the board at the Aug. 29 meeting.
Katia Stack's resignation from her Hoboken position will be effective after she receives her accrued vacation and sick leave.
However, the night before she resigned, Stack was at Hoboken City Hall until midnight.
"I am leaving the city in good hands," said Stack, who has completed the city's budget and financial reports. "I don't like to leave any loose ends."
The best qualified
Stack was one of 14 applicants for the day care job. According to Leggiero, six of the applicants were selected for an interview, but only two applicants attended the interviews set up for Aug. 7.
The Personnel Committee that performed the interviews consisted of Stanley Sanger, a member of the board who acts as its liaison with the city's Board of Education, Tony Perez, also a member of the Board of Education, Leggiero, and Maria Almeida, the board's treasurer.
Leggiero said that Stack, who is currently pursuing a dual master's degree from St. Peter's College in Jersey City in Education and Administration, was the most qualified person for the job.
"Stack has a background in business which will enable the Union City Day Care Program to maintain financial growth and stability in dealing with federal, state, local, and private funding sources," said Leggiero. "She also has excellent knowledge and experience in fiscal procedures."
Last year, Stack helped the day care program overcome great financial troubles.
"We found that the day care was on the brink of bankruptcy," said Stack, who volunteered to help bring it back to secure fiscal standing.
Leggiero said that Stack was responsible for organizing the first day care fundraiser last year.
"She understands the importance of generating alternative funding sources," said Leggiero.
However, Stack's knowledge of the community set her above the other applicants.
"Stack seems to have strong values as far as educating our young kids," said Perez. "We also have to acknowledge her leadership qualities in the community."
"I know the parents, I know a good majority of the students, and I know the people who work here," said Stack.
"Stack is the quality candidate and the quality choice," said Sanger.
The first wives club
Brian Stack, who was not a member of the board's Personnel Committee and did not vote to appoint his wife in the position, resigned from his duty as a member of the Board of Directors at the Aug. 20 meeting. The letter of resignation was hand-delivered by his wife. He was not present at the meeting.
"I wanted to avoid the appearance of conflict," said Stack. "It wouldn't be right for me to sit on the board with my wife as the director."
However, he does not feel that his wife was awarded the position because of their relationship. "Kathy has started on the bottom in life," said Stack. "She has earned her right to pursue the career of her choice."
Stack said that because he is the mayor, he feels that he has held his wife back in many ways.
"I think my wife will do a tremendous job," said Stack. "She has always done an excellent job, no matter what her job was."
Kathy Stack said that she does not want preferential treatment for being the mayor's spouse. "Don't look at me as the mayor's wife," she said. "I am just an applicant here."
Stack's new position will allow her to join the team currently led by Tatiana Martin.
Martin was appointed to the position of acting executive director in January and was performing the position's duties since July when Adriana Birne, the former executive director, left her position. Birne resigned on July 1 to resume her position with the Board of Education.
Birne, who was only serving as the facilities director during her one-year sabbatical from the Board of Education, announced her resignation at the Union City Day Care Board of Commissioners meeting on June 26.
Birne will return to the Board of Education as the district's new principal of Early Childhood Education on July 1.
According to Stack, the board's attorneys are looking at the possible conflict of interest posed by Luis Martin continuing on the board of directors.
Stack said that his vacant position will leave another spot open for a parent to be involved. "I think that there should be more parent representation on the board," said Stack.