The Jersey InsiderOpen for BusinessJanuary 23, 2009
Vol. X, Issue 1. Friday, January 1, 2014
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Open for Business

Published:

January 23, 2009

By:

Nicholas J. Veliky

City Manager Albert Greco and DPW Superintendent Vincent Cahill were singled out with a vote of “no confidence” at a recent Action Clifton committee meeting. The vote came about as a result of a lengthy discussion of winter storm snow removal. The meeting of the Action Clifton group was facilitated by Clifton Councilman Matt Ward who allowed the Action committee to take action, a vote of no confidence, after hearing their complaints. Members of the committee as well as residents in attendance were invited to take part in the vote. This was a violation of the Action Clifton rules which state that only neighborhood representatives are allowed to vote. Alternates can cast a vote only if one of the representatives is absent. As a result of Ward and Councilman Frank Fusco being present at the time of the vote, the action can also be interpreted as a direct violation of the City Manager Government Act, where performance of an employee is not to be discussed in public by city officials unless the individuals being discussed (in this case Greco and Cahill) are there to address the allegations. This could be a violation of employees’ rights. Action Clifton is a group of volunteer citizens appointed for two year terms to represent the various sections of the city where they reside. Each section of the city is represented by two Captains and one alternate. The 16 neighborhoods are: Albion, Allwood, Athenia, Botany/East Clifton, Clifton Center/ Middle Village, Delawanna, Dutch Hill, Greglawn, Hazel, Knollwood, Lakeview, Maple Valley, Montclair Heights, Oakridge, Richfield and Rosemawr. Action Clifton was originally formed to improve communication channels between the city and its neighborhoods. In this particular instance the group was certainly communicating their displeasure with city services and those who administer them. The message that was expressed by Action Clifton, like it or not, needs to be brought back to the city council, perhaps the problem here is the leadership of Action Clifton. The facilitator or “Chairman” of the committee, the one who runs the meetings, should be a member of the public and not an elected official. Council participation is essential to Action Clifton’s effectiveness but in this instance not in a facilitator roll. The city is facing many daunting days in its future and this will probably not be the last time city leadership and management is questioned by Action Clifton.

The Rosemawar section of the city is once again the center of a controversial land use issue. First Lateri Park and now the proposed construction of a synagogue and mikvah consisting of 18,000 square feet in 3 floors including the basement located in a residential zone on Virginia Avenue at Dwasline Road. There are over 15 Variances required to build the project including one for relief from the 190 required parking spaces where only 35 are provided. Interesting too, is the fact that the attorney representing the applicant Congregation Shomrei Torah is Frank Carlet, the same attorney who appeared before the Board of Adjustment in opposition to the House of Fire Christian Church located in a residential zone on Grove Street.

Wanted! A few good civic minded men or women to run in the Clifton Board of Education election this April. While there is much talk about town that we need new representation on the board there are few that are willing to step up and run for the coveted three year post.

We are running out of cash to complete 290 Brighton Road! Considering the fact that there is no such thing as deficit spending and the cash reserve stands at about $13,000, where will the money come from? Do we see another referendum in the voters future? That is besides the one that will most likely be forthcoming for the desks and furnishings for the High School Annex.

Talk about a day late and a dollar short. . . the Pope John Paul II School, formally Paul VI High School located on Valley Road, the much sought after school property owned by the Diocese of Paterson, is on the market and available. This facility was thought by many to be the key to the overcrowding issues at Clifton High School and at Clifton’s two middle schools. However with the construction of the High School walkways and High School annex at 290 Brighton Road the fact that this building is available may be a moot point. Let’s look at the facts; what the Board of Education has done is a patched together plan which involves 290 as a partial solution to the overcrowding problem in Clifton’s Schools. We have already spent millions yet the need for space is far from satisfied. Even though financial times are tough and the budget tight, how can we allow a 103,000 square foot school sitting on 10.34 acres complete with athletic field and plenty of parking, slip through our fingers? The deal on the table now is a 15 year triple net lease which will costs in excess of 26 million dollars.

It’s beginning to sound more and more that life in Clifton is like living in the wild Wes, not a sedate piece of suburbia. In recent weeks we have heard about two bank robberies, one in Botany Village at the Banco Popular and a second at the American Bank of New Jersey on Clifton Avenue. We have also heard reports of the high school being evacuated as a result of a smoke bomb being ignited in a crowded hallway by immature students and lastly the shooting and robbery at the Exxon Gas Station located on Route 46, where the Exxon station attendant was shot in the face. This certainly isn’t your grandfathers Clifton and I don’t think he would approve.

The sudden closing of the Belvedere Restaurant, one of Clifton’s more upscale restaurants, located on Piaget Avenue caught everyone off guard. The Clifton Rotary Club, who have a standing reservation at the eatery for their weekly lunch meetings, were most surprised when they arrived for their weekly gathering only to find the restaurant dark and the doors locked tight. When they called the restaurant to see what was going on, they found the number had been disconnected. To make matters worse the Rotary Club’s flag, banner, and other essentials needed to run a club meeting were locked inside and as of this writing are still held captive in the shuttered restaurant. The Clifton Rotary Club is not the only victim of the restaurants sudden demise. We have it on good authority that there were many unsuspecting fans of the Belvedere who purchased large dollar amounts of gift certificates to give as holiday gifts. You guessed it, the restaurant owners took the cash and now the gift certificates for the pricy meals aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. As the saying goes caveat emptor or let the buyer beware. The real question is what ever happened to honesty and honor in business? Obviously there was none here.

Mr. Cupcake is making plans for the Super Bowl by offering special limited edition football cupcakes that they bake only at Super Bowl Time. Quantities are limited so be sure to place your order early because no one bakes’em better than Johnny!

In a previous edition I wished good wishes to the Genchi family on the birth of a new grandchild. Anthony and Marianne Genchi welcomed their second grandchild Chase Patrick on November 30. He is the son of Kristan and Patrick Kehoe. Chase joins Anthony Jonathan who was born on June 5 the son of Marissa and Jonathan Papamarkos. Congratulations to all!
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