Hoboken has tapped Nora Martinez DeBenedetto to become the coordinator of the newly reinstated Office of Constituent Services, as well as Hudson County Commissioner Anthony Romano to serve as a part time Public Safety Advisor for the city.
The announcement was made just a day before Mayor Ravi Bhalla was sworn in for a second term.
DeBenedetto will earn a salary of $82,500 and will begin her job on Feb. 1, while Romano will gain a salary of $50,000 and has started his job on New Year’s Day.
New head of Constituent Services
DeBenedetto is a lifelong Hoboken resident, whose past experience includes coordinating the city’s annual Art in the Park program since 2008 and served on the executive board of the Hoboken Democratic Committee since 2018.
“Nora has a long history of problem solving and volunteerism that makes her a perfect fit to work with residents across the city as the new head of the Office of Constituent Services,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla in a statement. “I can think of no better person to join my administration and I know she will do an outstanding job serving our residents.”
The office was reinstated by the City Council last month, where it was shut down by the council in 2020 due to budget cuts because of the pandemic. The reopening of the office was a major campaign promise by Bhalla and his city council slate in the city elections last year.
“As the new head of Constituent Services, [Benedetto] will coordinate inquiries and requests with city departments and agencies on behalf of residents on topics including the handling of counseling and referrals for social services, tenant assistance, and education, housing and employment inquiries, various quality-of-life issues, violations of City codes, and general questions regarding available City services,” read a press release describing her role.
The office was previously headed by Caroline Caulfield, who was the Chief of Constituent Affairs.
Romano tapped as Public Safety Advisor
Romano joins the city’s administration alongside his current elected role on the Hudson County Board of Commissioner as Vice Chairperson. He has represented District 5, which encompasses all of Hoboken, since 2009.
“Anthony’s experience both as a former police captain at the Hoboken Police Department and as a dedicated public servant will be crucial to increasing community and public safety relations in Hoboken,” said Bhalla. “He has institutional knowledge of both the Police and Fire Departments that is invaluable to the City and he will help us build upon the strength of our Police and Fire Departments in the new year.”
As an advisor, Romano will assist the administration on a number of public safety matters, including “EMS Services, community public safety relations, personnel matters, identify cost-savings measures, and more,” according to a press release.
Prior to becoming a commissioner, Romano was with the Hoboken Police Department for over three decades.