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Dems question hiring of Ceberio firm


Last Thursday, North Arlington Borough Council made it official: By a 4-2 vote, they voted on a resolution to hire RCM Ceberio LLC as a redevelopment and public relations consultant at $2,500 a month, including all expenses and travel, from March 1 to Dec. 31, 2015.

The council’s two Democrats – Al Granell and Tom Zammatore – said they voted against it because the hiring procedure was “flawed” and lacked “sufficient transparency.”

The contract awarded the Wayne firm, headed by former N.J. Meadowlands Commission executive director Robert Ceberio, calls for RCM Ceberio to implement a three-pronged plan:

• “Prepare an economic development inventory of potential sites in the borough,

• Monitor commercial uses and commercial tax ratables,

• Take necessary initiatives to attract businesses, which will make a major contribution to the economy of North Arlington.”

The firm’s contract says that the real estate inventory “will include vacant or underutilized properties and commercial properties, categorized according to their adaptability to various types of business, professional and industrial enterprises.”

Additionally, the firm is charged with working with borough elected and appointed officials to devise “land use and redevelopment opportunities” and prepare formal solicitations to prosective developers.

As part of that effort, the firm is to get public input on potential projects, work with state and federal agencies to promote local development prospects, assist developers in preparing the submitting applications to expedite relevant approvals, aid the borough in preparing economic development grants and document all potential real estate development opportunities.

Meanwhile, Granell griped that the borough circumvented “normal governmental procedure” by failing to have circulated a Request For Proposal for a redevelopment consultant.

“This is not an emergency hire. So why is the council being pressured into hiring this firm at this time?” Granell said.

Zammatore said that, “there was no advance notice given” of a presentation that Ceberio made to the council in a closed session held Feb. 26, “nor prior disclosure of the role of [former borough Mayor Len] Kaiser in the Ceberio firm.

“We had no time to prepare or evaluate [Ceberio’s] credentials or to define his duties. … I felt the process should be opened to other applicants and the most qualified candidate selected for the job.”

Granell questioned Ceberio’s capability “to boost small town development” and suggested that the firm’s hiring was premature since the proposed borough redevelopment board has yet to be formed. “The borough … should allow [the board] to meet and begin to lay out goals for redevelopment and a strategy,” he said.

Mayor Joseph Bianchi has said he plans to appoint Ceberio chairman of the redevelopment board whose eight members will be a combination of council members and the public.

As for the firm’s public relations responsibilities, Zammatore noted that RCM Ceberio failed to submit a Request For Qualifications – as two other firms did – that the borough had requested in December. (No action was taken by the borough after the Dec. 18 submission deadline.)

“The mayor and council majority are doing an end run around the proper hiring processes … and they want to force the hiring of a company to do public relations that has no documented experience in that area,” he added.

Ceberio has said that he has performed public relations work for the mayor’s office in Secaucus while employed there.

Smile & Implant Center welcomes Dr. Mendia


The Smile and Implant Center in Kearny announces that Dr. Jonathan Mendia, dental anesthesiologist, has joined the practice, offering IV sedation and general anesthesia to pediatric, special needs, anxious and dental-phobic patients. Mendia aims to minimize patients’ dental fears, ensuring that anxious children and adults are comfortable during their dental care.

Mendia obtained his doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. He then completed a two-year residency in dental anesthesiology at the school and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The Smile and Implant Center is a full-service dental office with a board certified periodontist and oral surgeon on staff. To learn more about dental anesthesia and the sophisticated dental services offered by the center, call Alexis at 201-991-1055 or email alexis@ thesmileandimplantcenter.com for a free consultation. For more information, visit www.TheSmileandImplant- Center.com and www.SedationNJ.com.

Feds say Kearny doc sought to torch his offices

2015-03-17 09_31_19-Greenshot

By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent


A Kearny doctor has been indicted in Pennsylvania for allegedly attempting to hire a Philadelphia man to burn down the Kearny Ave. building housing his medical practice.

The motive, authorities said, was to destroy his patient files.

The doctor is also accused of illegally dispensing prescription painkillers. The indictment was handed up last week in Philadelphia against Dr. Mudassar Sharif, 40, who owned Garden State Primary Care at 711 Kearny Ave., it was announced by Zane David Memeger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Read more »


‘Heightened’ prep


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


It’s only his second time on stage at Kearny High School, but senior Alex Vazquez is rising to the task of tackling a lead.

So says Michele Samoski, who is directing Alex and a cast of 33 in the high school’s spring musical, “In the Heights,” opening March 19.

The show, which focuses on a low-income neighborhood in the Washington Heights section of New York City whose residents rally round each other, features as many as 25 songs – mostly ensemble-based – and six big dance numbers, all done to rap and hip hop stylings. Read more »

Monitor will stay for now

harrison town hall

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 


The Town of Harrison, which has received special state aid for the past five years – and, with it, the special attention of a state fiscal monitor – recently tried to disengage itself from that arrangement.

Sorry, not yet, was the state’s answer, according to Mayor James Fife.

“We asked to have our transitional aid shifted to our regular state aid,” Fife told The Observer last week, and, in so doing, have the state end its role of financial overseer. Read more »

OK to build but be careful driving


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent


Carlstadt builder Ed Russo can expand his residential project at Bergen and Schuyler Aves. now that the Kearny Planning Board has signed off on the proposal.

The board, on March 4, voted – despite some reservations about traffic flow – to greenlight the project’s expansion to 311-337 Bergen Ave. with the demolition of several commercial properties and construction of two 3-story buildings with a total of 70 apartments plus 106 parking spaces.

During the board’s hearing on the application filed by Wal Park Associates/Schuyler Crossing Urban Renewal LLC, several board members and a member of the public, Lawrence Handlin, voiced concerns about traffic going in and out of the development. Read more »

Scammers at work: NPD


A phony utility representative tried to get cash from a Washington Ave. business but was thwarted, according to Nutley PD.

The incident was reported to police March 2 by the business’s office manager, who said they’d received a call from someone claiming to be from PSE&G and advising them they had an outstanding balance of more than $1,000.

To avoid a power shutoff, the caller advised, the manager should pay cash immediately at a nearby location that the manager would be provided with. Read more »

KPD: What day is it? What day IS it?


Hump Day became Booking Day for a 62-year-old man after he allegedly stabbed a co-worker in the arm during a dispute at a Kearny manufacturing company last Wednesday, authorities reported.

At 11 a.m., March 4, patrol units, under the direction of Sgt. Paul Bershefski, responded to the business on the 900 block of the Belleville Pike on the report of an argument-turned- attack.

Officers Cesar Negron, T.J. Hernandez, Dave Rakowski and Stephen Hroncich arrived to find a 31-year-old male employee bleeding profusely from a knife wound in the upper right arm, police said. Medical assistance was summoned for the victim, a Belleville resident. Read more »

Woman struck by ‘flying’ sign: LPD


A Lyndhurst resident was injured in a freak accident Saturday, March 7, police said.

Det. Capt. John Valente said the resident, a 47-year-old woman, was walking south on Ridge Road, shortly before 10 a.m., as the driver of a 2007 Ford pickup was traveling south on Ridge, approaching Lake Ave.

Valente said the driver, 42, of Wallington, apparently was taking an aspirin and began choking, causing him to lose control of the vehicle and swerve into a snow bank at the intersection. In the process, Valente said, the vehicle plowed into a pedestrian crossing sign which was dislodged from its support and thrown into the air, striking the pedestrian on the left side of her head. Read more »