PASSAIC — Mayor Alex D. Blanco fired Jane Grubin, director of human services, late last week, in the biggest personnel move since he named a new business administration in June. And there may be more changes soon.
Sources with firsthand knowledge said Monday that the next employee on the chopping block is Planning Director Glenn Carter, who declined comment.
Grubin, who was appointed by former Mayor Sammy Rivera in 2001, was let go Friday. Business Administrator Anthony Iacono said Monday that there could be more restructuring. “Like all administrations, there are changes and that is our prerogative,” he said. “This is one of a few moves and other personnel moves are coming.” He declined to elaborate.
Attempts to reach Blanco were unsuccessful.
Iacono said that Grubin’s dismissal was not a political decision, even though Grubin’s husband, Simon Grubin, supported Blanco’s opponent, Vincent Capuana, in May’s mayoral election. Jane Grubin said she was proud of her work and both she and Iacono said her termination was unrelated to her performance.
“I serve at the pleasure of the mayor or at the whim of this mayor,” Grubin said. “It is their prerogative, that’s all. It wasn’t because I did a poor job. It had nothing to do with my job performance. I just hope they have someone from Passaic to fill that position and someone who cares about the people of Passaic.”
Grubin, who grew up in one of the city’s most prominent families, the Gurtmans, said her eight years in the job offered her a chance to give back to the community.
Her grandfather, Max Gurtman, owned a sheet company in Passaic, Max Gurtman and Son. He and the rest of the family contributed to local families and charities. Her father, Nathan, an architect, designed some of the city’s buildings, including the former Ginsburg’s Department Store on Madison and Lexington avenues, and the Ahavas Israel synagogue on Van Houten Avenue.
“Anything I can do is very important, because I have been blessed and this was the perfect way to give back to the community,” Grubin said. “These things are important. It wasn’t a job. I loved going to work every day.”
The Human Services Department is the fourth largest department in the city and oversees a wide range of programs that help city residents, from free HIV testing and food programs for children to running a health clinic.
Grubin, who made $77,000 this year, said one initiative of which she’s particularly proud was rehabilitating the city’s animal shelter, which was slated for closure by the state in 2003.
“I was able to get money to redo the shelter to become a state model for animal shelters,” she said.
Grubin thanked her staff, which numbers 55, for their work. She specifically cited those health professionals who developed a pandemic flu plan, after which the state modeled its program.
Grubin said she will remain active in the community, remaining as board chairwoman of the Mental Health Clinic of Passaicand continuing her work on the Jewish Family Service Board.
P.C.J.N would like to thank Jane Grubin for all she has done for our City and especially the Jewish community. We wish her all the best.
(News Source: NorthJersey.com/PCJN)