The city council confirmed mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’ new finance director Margaret Cherone. Her appointment was confirmed without opposition on Tuesday night.
Cherone, who has worked as budget officer for the past eight months at an $84,000 salary, will now earn $140,000, according to city officials. She will fill both finance director and budget officer roles for now.
She is replacing former finance director Fabiana Mello. Mello was earning $120,000. She was hired as the finance director of Lincoln Park in Morris County.
With the city forgoing the hiring of a new budget officer, the city looks to save $64,000 for now. Cherone’s appointment was confirmed in an 8-0 midnight vote. Councilman Andre Sayegh was not present during the vote.
“She has demonstrated she has the competency to do the job,” said Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large, chairman of the finance committee. He was opposed to her appointment two years ago when she was attempting to make a move from West New York to Paterson.
Cherone is not new to the Silk City. She served as the finance director of the city from 1989-1997 and then again from 2002-2004. In her post as budget officer for the past eight months she had to interact with council members earning their confidence.
“I never take anything for granted,” Cherone said after the council confirmed her appointment without opposition.
Business administrator Nellie Pou said the new finance director has a good handle of municipal finances. “We want to maintain the continuity,” she said.
Morris said the city conducted an extensive search prior to promoting Cherone to the finance director post. The city has an ordinance that requires top director posts to be filled by residents. In this case, the city could not find qualified candidates within its borders for the position.
Cherone lives in neighboring Clifton. She has an accounting degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a municipal finance officer certification from Rutgers University.