No one codified it, but it was always tacitly understood that assembly people in Hudson County served at the pleasure of the mayors.
If Union City Mayor Brian P. Stack, for example, or Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, wanted to hit the eject button on someone in the assembly, he did so, with impunity.
Assembly people were not people, so much as chess pieces.
Now, the leaders of Hudson appear to be putting that unwritten Hudson rule to the test, specifically in that unglamorous blue collar burgh otherwise known as Bayonne.
Word is that Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis wants to go in another direction from sitting Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-31).
He doesn’t feel he needs to give a reason.
He’s the mayor.
If Stack can do it, and Sacco can do it, dammit, he can do it.
Well, it’s complicated.
For one, Chiaravalloti served as state director for powerful U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Hudson remains the muscular senator’s favorite political jungle gym.
Davis would have to gut-check the impact to Menendez before giving the Bayonne-based assemblyman the heave ho.
There’s another angle, too, which might rankle Menendez allies.
Davis is said to be closer to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop than most other Hudson mayors, and Fulop and Menendez don’t like each other, so a boomerang hurled at Chiravalloti with even the suggestion of Fulop fingerprints on it obviously touches off more than just dock front bad blood.
Though Davis has consistently demonstrated strong local connections, the former cop also can’t forget that Menendez helped install him as mayor, when former Mayor Mark Smith ran afoul of the boss by backing Nia Gill for congress instead of the senator’s preference, Donald Payne.
Is Davis trying to bend bars that are too big for him, with the specter of Fulop hanging over the town?
Today, as Hudson planned a huddle-up of the main players involved, there were murmurs about Chiraravalloti going into bunker-buster mode, even as he found himself bird dogging Sacco’s corruption bill in the assembly with an express order to land 41 votes.
Fulop wasn’t the only one hanging over unfolding political events.
Word was that Sacco and Menendez planned to sit with Davis to tell him to cut the crap. Maybe all the mayor needs is a blood oath by Chiravalloti that the assemblyman won’t run against him in 2022. But Sacco might have to be careful, too, as a limit on another mayor’s power could haunt him.
It was volatile.