Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres took 11 days off from work this year so far, according to his attendance records provided by the city.
Torres has been under heavy criticism for his trips to Las Vegas and Colombia this year. Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward councilman, called Torres an “absentee mayor.”
The councilman wasn’t alone in criticizing the mayor residents protesting high tax bills in the past months have also called out the mayor for his many out-of-state trips. Torres took a five-day “emergency” leave from October 1st through October 5th, 2015.
Sayegh said Torres had promised a group of Colombians at a flag raising he intended to visit Cartagena in October. Torres took three personal days for that trip, according to city records. He did not confirm whether he visited Colombia for that week.
The mayor also attended the New Jersey Policemen’s Benevolent Association convention in Las Vegas, Nevada which ran from September 19th to 25th, 2015. He took four vacation days in September to do so.
Torres has said he visited the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam during his September sojourn at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas.
No taxpayer money was spent on either of the trips, the mayor has said.
Torres also took two vacation days in June and two more in July, according to his 2015 attendance controller’s report.
In mid-October of this year Torres and his cabinet held a retreat at the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. Torres did not take any days off for that trip, according to city records which were provided on October 27th, 2015.
The mayor took 11 days off in 2015 so far.
In 2014, Torres took one personal day in November, according to records. He took a half-day in July, according to records. That year – 2014 – Torres also attended the New Jersey Policemen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) convention this time in Disney World in September.
That convention started on Friday, September 19th and ran through Monday, September 22nd, 2014, according to the state PBA’s flyer for the event. Torres at the time said he paid for the trip out of pocket and used personal days to cover Friday and Monday.
Torres did not take any personal or vacation days in September 2014, according to his attendance controller’s report. He could not be reached to explain the apparent discrepancy.
Torres did not return repeated calls for comment.