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Mixing It Up: Council Meeting 9/12/12

PERTH AMBOY — Local resident Ron Mascenik addressed the Council in regards to the Perth Amboy redevelopment agency minutes not appearing on the City website. He was concerned because all other Perth Amboy Municipal Board meetings were there. Council President Kenneth Balut said, “The server had been hacked on Monday.”

After Mascenik spoke, resident John Siberry addressed Councilman Joel Pabon in regards to what Siberry referred to as a legal junkyard on Kearny Avenue. Siberry was referring to a resident, Maria Garcia who is the Chair of the Planning Board. He said, “There are many cars in that resident’s backyard,” and he believes that there has been an illegal business being conducted there for the past five years.

The reason that Siberry brought this to Pabon’s attention is because he lives about four houses down from the residence in question.

Councilman Pabon said, “I personally don’t go into anybody’s backyard. Her neighbor’s are okay with her backyard.”

Joel Pabon stated that the situation on Kearny Avenue was looked into by Code Enforcement.

Maria Garcia has appeared at Council Meetings in the past to address this issue. She said that she was in compliance with the City ordinances.

Local resident Stanley Sierakowski and Mayoral Candidate Billy Delgado also voiced their concerns about the situation. Stanley agreed with Sibbery about the amount of cars in Garcia’s backyard and Delgado said that there is a possibility that she is “skirting the law.”

Fernando Gonzalez interjected that, “It is illegal to create a parking space in front of your house such as parking on the sidewalk and we were not enforcing codes across the board. I was looking through our ordinances for anything pertaining to junkyards and we have none. Residents are selectively being picked on when it comes to enforcing ordinances.”

Council President Balut said, “I’ve turned numerous photos and reports to Code Enforcement and to Attorney General showing properties with code violations. I’ve even taken the Attorney General in person to show him some of these properties.”

Councilman Kenneth Gonzalez remembered when people have come before the Council to complain that the fines were too high for code violations.

Another lengthy discussion occured when Tommy Hudanish questioned the salaries of the Business Administrator and City Attorney. “Why are we paying such high salaries to people who are not City residents. Council President Kenneth Balut said he has no problem defending Businesses Administrator Fehrenbach and said, “He is worth every cent. Fehrenbach has saved our town millions of dollars. The outsiders that did the City harm were people like Insurance Broker Francis Gartland who stole more than two million dollars from the City.”

Hudanish stated that he could understand outsiders being hired in some cases, “But that is not always the best case.” He was referring to three B.A.’s that were hired in a short time frame. Greg Fehrenach who was then replaced by Jane Feigenbaum, Assemblyman Craig Coughlin and then Fehrenbach who was hired back permanently.

Balut said to Hudanish, “The auditor that the PBA hired recommended Fehrenbach, and Tommy, you were on the PBA then weren’t you?”

Hudanish replied, “Yes.”

Balut also said, “I see Straw Donors taking pictures with politicians.”

Another resident said that Fehrenbach was the highest paid Business Administrator in the State.

Resident Alan Silber said, “That is not true and he probably puts in a lot of hours.” Silber also said that the former Business Administrator under Joe Vas was very sick at the end of his career.

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