The city has hired Jessica Diaz as its new public information officer, mayor Andre Sayegh announced on Monday afternoon.
Diaz, who lives in Paterson, has previously worked in the public affairs division at the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. She responded to media inquiries, developed and researched public relations plans for the Get Covered NJ campaign, crafted and disseminated news releases, and developed press polices for the office.
Sayegh said he is “thrilled” to have Diaz on his team at City Hall.
“She brings with her experience in public affairs from numerous positions as well as a self-starter attitude that will fit in perfectly with my team,” said Sayegh. “Jessica will help us expand our outreach to the Spanish-speaking community, as well as plan more public forums and events to increase our engagement with all residents and business owners in our great city.”
Before joining the state, Diaz held positions at the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office and the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office. She interned at congressman Bill Pascrell’s office. She has political science degree from Montclair State University.
Diaz’s first day will be Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Her salary is $60,000.
Sayegh’s announcement follows criticism from council members that the mayor is expanding payroll at a time property owners are being squeezed with three tax increases — municipal, school, and sewer.
Some council members said the public information officer position is not needed.
“We have to be mindful of our fiscal situation,” said councilman Flavio Rivera on Friday.
Sayegh is filling the post of retired receptionist Alana Onorato. “This position replaces that retirement with no change to the salary budget,” said the mayor’s chief of staff Kathleen Long last week.
“It’s not a good example of being fiscally prudent. Not every dollar that comes into your hand, you should be spending,” said councilman William McKoy.
Four people applied for the public information officer job. It was posted from Apr. 16 through 26, 2019.
Diaz is the daughter of prominent city resident Miguel Diaz, who had campaigned and backed Sayegh for mayor in last year’s mayoral race.