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Jersey City Pinoys Promoted to Top Positions

The Filipino American Government Employee Association (PAGEA) of Jersey City toasted a double entry Celebration, as two of their own became full Cabinet-level heads of separate Jersey City departments. Serafina was recently appointed as the Finance Director of Jersey City, the second largest city in New Jersey.

“The glass ceiling was broken twice.”

Eduardo Tolozo also received unanimous confirmation by the City Council (9-0) as the Tax Assessor. Jersey City is at the crossroads of becoming a great city again partly thanks to Filipino-American contributions.

Serafina (Pining) is responsible for the city's financial statements, considered the most political report by most analysts and what defines a local government. Government programs are only as strong as the funds attached on the policy. Jersey City's current mayor, Glenn Cunningham realized the city needed Serarfina's fiscal background and the solution to its ongoing fiscal woes. She is well known for her tough managerial skills but her uncompromising financial approach with objectivity - the excellent prescription for the struggling crisis that the city now faces. I had the opportunity of working for her for several years and I might be biased or just awed by her management style but she is a highly intelligent individual. She graduated from the famous Accounting school, the University of the East. She moved to the United States after working for a banking institution in Manila. She joined Jersey City's government as an Auditor where she was immediately promoted to the City Controller position in the early 80s. She successfully converted the antiquated manual and cumbersome procedure into the computerized accounting system.

Ed Toloza started as principal clerk in the City's tax division and lately as the Assistant Assessor. During his employment the city complied with the State of New Jersey's mandated property revaluation. The citywide of property revaluation done by private company in the 1980 has cost city in tax collection. The court required tax refund to lawsuit court decisions due to disparity of the assessed value.





Operating deficit continued as the various administrations try to balance tax abatement and secure funding for the faulty revaluation. It is against this backdrop that the current mayor recognized Ed's experience as assessor that his peers in the county already knew. Confident that Ed could manage a paramount distribution of tax based on an assessment that is as fair as his appointment.

The integration by computer and linking of the various divisions from tax to payroll would soon be her permanent signature. She left briefly for a short stint with the Internal Revenue Service. She returned as the Chief Auditor just in time to evaluate the controversial Bulk lien sale that temporarily gave relief to city fiscal crisis. The funding innovation was so new that Wall Street and local government were caught off guard. Jersey City therefore pioneered the accounting procedure in the nation. She was appointed as the Chief Financial Officer in the late 1990s. It is her ability to teach accounting principles to all level of employees that left enduring respect among the subordinates. Her eternal vigilance in safeguarding various funds has at times exposed old bad accounting process that some city employees refuse to give up. She is relentless and sure minded that she never succumbs to political pressure in her performance.

Mayor Cunningham correctly stated his longtime observation of emerging minority group working for the city. He said that it is not enough to be number 2 in your chosen department or field and cited the historical parallel when he was the council president before the Mayor. The glass ceiling was broken twice

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