Hoboken residents launch government watchdog group

A number of Hoboken residents are starting up a government watchdog group in the city. Photo by Mark Koosau.

A number of Hoboken residents are launching a government watchdog group in the city, which plans to “ensure that Hoboken’s elected officials put our community first, govern out in the open and not behind closed doors, and make every decision with our best interests in mind.”

The group called Hoboken Watchdog aims “to shed light on the workings of government in our mile square in an effort to restore the trust that has been eroded,” said Sheila Brennan in a statement.

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“It’s a truly post-partisan coalition of people who understand we don’t have to agree on every issue in order to advocate for open and transparent local government that is honest with residents,” she continued.

The group is organizing as a non-profit and is being co-chaired by Brennan, a former City Council candidate; tenant advocate Cheryl Fallick; former Board of Education Trustee Rose Marie Markle, and former Hudson County Young Republican chairman Joshua Sotomayor-Einstein.

Joshua Sotomayor-Einstein is one of the co-chairs of the new group. Photo by Mark Koosau.

The idea of Hoboken Watchdog was discussed by several of its founders a month and a half ago, according to a press release, but they decided to announce it on Tuesday after the Hoboken high school referendum ended.

A few of the group’s members are regular critics of the current administration in Hoboken. Brennan and Fallick had unsuccessfully run on a slate in last year’s City Council elections against Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s slate, and have been critical about their exclusion from the rent control board nominations in what Brennan said is political retaliation by the mayor.

Sotomayor-Einstein has also been a vocal critic of the city Board of Education after the recent high school referendum, which was voted down by residents on Jan. 25.

“Everyone that wants good government and wants to keep an eye on what the elected officials are doing with our tax dollars, and what shady games that they’re playing can come together and work together and just stay abreast of all the shadiness that’s going on and work to expose the legal and illegal corruption,” he told the Hudson Reporter at the school board’s meeting on Feb. 8.

The group plans to have their inaugural meeting at Willie McBride’s on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m..

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Mark Koosau can be reached at mkoosau@hudsonreporter.com or his Twitter @snivyTsutarja.