Jersey City Councilwoman Willie Flood will be stepping down in the coming weeks due to health reasons, and Jersey City players are trying to line up her replacement on the board.
Two at the top of the list are Kalima Ahmad and Clayton Dabney, both of whom have strong ties at the Jersey City Incinerator Authority (JCIA).
Mayor Jerremiah Healy is pitching a plan to move the city’s DPW into the JCIA, but it has stalled due to serious concerns about moving a city-operated department – especially one that responds directly to resident requests and needs – under a semi-autonomous agency. The state Division of Local Government Services rejected the plan in December, but sources said state Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-Jersey City) is working on ways to address the merger from a Trenton legislative perspective.
Cunningham and sidekick Hudson County Freeholder Jeff Dublin have strong connections to a number of employees at the JCIA and since Cunningham poses a real threat to challenge Healy for mayor in 2013, he was bought in to support the plan.
Flood’s health has been deteriorating, according to sources, and even she had a tough time voting for the JCIA measure – but not because of its merits, but because of a potential conflict.
Her husband, Phil Flood, is the chairman of the JCIA board, but the city attorney allowed her to cast her vote in December to move the DPW from under the city’s direct authority and into the JCIA.
When the plan resurfaces, Flood won’t be on the board to cast her aye, which is why both Ahmad and Dabney are being considered.
Ahmad is chief of staff to Dublin and Dabney is brother to JCIA CEO Oren Dabney; both would constitute absolute locks to approve the measure.