Mayor Jeffery Jones on Friday morning said he is scrapping plans to appoint himself to the Passaic Valley Water Commission.
“It’s not happening anymore,” said Jones when asked whether his self-appointment was ethical or even legal.
The appointment first came to light yesterday when the Paterson Press reported the mayor had appointed himself as a member of the commission.
After news broke, governor Chris Christie’s office pressured Jones, which eventually led the mayor to changing his mind. The governor’s office told the mayor an ethics investigation is sure to follow if he did not take back his appointment.
Tripartite ownership over the commission allows Passaic and Clifton to appoint two members each, while Paterson gets to appoint three.
Jones would have served as successor of Robert Vannoy, who was appointed by mayor Jose “Joey” Torres in 2007. Vannoy’s term ended in 2011, and he remained as a holdover. Jones’ term would have ended in December 2015.
The commission which provides drinking water to the city, Clifton, and Passaic is one of the largest water utility companies in the country.
Jones said paperwork for the appointment went out of city hall before the legal department had a chance to review the appointment.
Jones would have received a $7,000 salary and full healthcare coverage as a member of the commission. In yesterday’s report in the press, Joseph Bella, head of the commission, said the mayor appointing himself was unprecedented and no other mayor had made such a move.
The mayor currently makes $112,280, according to city’s payroll data. When asked what he plans to do after his term ends this month, Jones said he will relax and take it easy. When asked if rumors were true that he plans to go back to teaching at William Paterson University, Jones said those were just rumors.
Updated: 2:30 p.m.