(ABOVE: Ravi Bhalla signs his first order as Mayor of Hoboken—photo via facebook)
In a story we broke last Friday night, the Mayor of Hoboken has taken on an “Of Counsel” role with Lavery, Selvaggi, Abromitis & Cohen, P.C.—a New Jersey-based law firm that practices in Zoning, Planning & Land Use and Real Estate.
A week later, Mayor Bhalla has chosen to disclose the terms of that position.
“In keeping with my commitment to open government and transparency, today I am publicly providing my ‘of counsel agreement’ with Lavery, Selvaggi, Abromitis & Cohen, P.C, a small Hackettstown-based law firm serving clients in Sussex, Warren and Morris Counties,” said Bhalla, in a statement. “While there is no requirement that I release this contract, I believe it is important to go the extra mile and provide robust public disclosure.”
The move was scrutinized by many over the past week, citing his November interview with hMAG, where he states, “ if I am elected Mayor, I will be working full-time for the people of Hoboken.”
“As the agreement outlines and as I announced last week, I will serve in a limited ‘of counsel’ advisory role. I will not be practicing law, but rather will serve as a resource to other attorneys at the firm, providing advice from time to time. I particularly look forward to being a mentor to young lawyers at the firm,” says Bhalla. “The arrangement will be periodically reviewed by corporation counsel to ensure that no conflicts emerge. This is similar to my recent decision to continue my term as a Trustee of the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey.”
As for compensation, Bhalla will receive $60,000 for the “Of Counsel” position. He currently makes $116,000 as Mayor of Hoboken.
In addition, Mayor Bhalla will receive “additional compensation” for delivering clients to the firm. His compensation will range from 20% for any clients between $60,000 and $750,000; and 15% for any clients over $750,000.
“These limited engagements in no way interfere with my full-time commitment to the City of Hoboken. I am often the first one to arrive in the office and the last one to leave. I assure you that will not change. I know it takes a full time Mayor to secure $1 million of state funding for transportation projects—a significant upgrade over previous years,” says Bhalla, in his statement. “It takes a full time Mayor to upgrade Madison St. Park and successfully crack down on those bars that flout our laws and harm our quality of life. It takes a full time Mayor to ensure that the City garnered a AA+ bond rating. And it takes a full time Mayor to win the battle against the Christie Administration on Union Dry Dock. These are just some of the accomplishments of my first 6 weeks in office.”
Bhalla was inaugurated on January 1st. In the recent, rather contentious election, Bhalla defeated five other candidates by securing 32.75% of the vote.
“While I am proud of what we have accomplished in 6 short weeks, we could get so much more done with a Council that worked cooperatively with me to move Hoboken forward. It is now more than 3 months since the November election. It is time to put it behind us and work for the best interests of the City we all love. I know if we do so, Hoboken’s best days are yet to come.”