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Acrimonious battle fought over hiring aides at Paterson city council meeting | Paterson Times

Acrimonious battle fought over hiring aides at Paterson city council meeting

city-hall

Four council members could get legislative aides after an acrimonious battle at the City Council on Tuesday night that included exchanges of personal attacks.

In a 5-4 vote council members opted to keep $60,000 in the introduced budget to fund the hiring of aides for Al Abdelaziz, Shahin Khalique, Maritza Davila, and Flavio Rivera.

“My constituent base isn’t in approval of me having aides, but that doesn’t mean some of the other council people aren’t entitled,” said Michael Jackson, 1st Ward councilman, in casting the key vote in keeping funds to hire part-time aides for $25,000 each.

Funds cover the salary of four aides for eight months, according to the business administrator. Before the vote, council members engaged in a bitter discussion that included personal insults and attacks.

“I’m not feeling proud of our conduct and our behavior tonight,” said William McKoy, 3rd Ward councilman.

The first flashpoint involved Lilisa Mimms and Abdelaziz.

Mimms, councilwoman at-large, moved to remove the aides funding from mayor Andre Sayegh’s introduced budget.

“I don’t want an aide. If the aides are not removed from this budget, I am voting this budget down. It is not something we need. It doesn’t matter if it’s one or four,” said Mimms.

Abdelaziz said Mimms is showing how fiscally responsible she is by spending time discussing a tiny piece of the $253 million budget. He accused her of “grandstanding” on the issue. He told her to not to take an aide if she doesn’t need one.

“Watch yourself, councilman. Don’t you disrespect me. I have not disrespected you, do not do it to me,” retorted Mimms.

Council members spent more than 2 hours – a third of the six-hour meeting – discussing the aides.

Abdelaziz and other council members in favor of hiring aides argued it will save money. Currently, the city assigns secretaries to council members. The salary of one secretary could fund two aides, they argued. Council members who hire aides will lose their secretaries. These secretaries would then be moved elsewhere.

Then came another acrimonious exchange, this time, between Rivera and William McKoy, 3rd Ward councilman.

Rivera mentioned McKoy, the longest serving member of the council, receives health benefits and longevity raises.

“Councilman, are you sure you want to go there?” remarked McKoy.

“Yes. I want to go there. 100-percent,” replied Rivera. He said McKoy makes twice as much as other council members in pay and benefits.

McKoy said he was elected when council members received health insurance and longevity pay, both of which were later eliminated by the state. He was elected in 2000, successfully won election five times, including against Rivera, he said.

“To raise that issue as if there’s skullduggery going, some mystery going on is beneath you,” said McKoy.

After the chaotic discussion, which often included audience members shouting and hurling insults, council members put up competing motions and counter motions on the floor. Ultimately, the council voted to keep funding for the four aides and the introduced budget vote was postponed to the Oct. 8 meeting.

Abdelaziz, Jackson, Khalique, Rivera, and Davila voted in favor. Cotton, Mimms, McKoy, and Velez voted against.

The aides funding could jeopardize the mayor’s introduced budget. Some council members indicated if aides funding remains in the budget, they will vote it down. Six council members are up for re-election next year – some of them may vote against the budget for having a 2-percent tax increase.

Email: jay@patersontimes.com

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  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/350862588637007/ Ibbs John

    Councilwoman Mimms is a joke . She Doesn’t want an aide because apparently she’s super woman . Fake ass doctor . Three weeks ago she said she works more than all of us around the clock . If that were true she’d be dying for an aide . She wants to make a big stink over everything and take councils time so she can complain about all that’s wrong with the city . She’s probably gonna run for mayor . She’s campaigning already . She’s got no education , lacks respect from her peers and even the black community was looking for her when the unfortunate death of jameek Lowery happened . So tired of this woman . Last week it was hinchcliff now it’s this . Next week it’s gonna be about her stupid “light it up” project . Not to mention , does she even have a job . I mean Velez doesn’t have one but he’s done way more in the 5th ward over the years . Buying lunches for DPW and giving out fake out awards isn’t helping Paterson . YOU SOAKING UP THE SPOTLIGHT DOESN'T HELP EITHER . You wanna help Paterson “Dr. Mimms “ , you can start by stop being selfish .

  • John Brown

    hire the aides and get rid of all these assholes!
    they'll probably get more done!

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/YXNpZADpBWEY2Qm0zTkVhRW1ENjFEOVVlNGlQVGVFMGlJRkRNVjY1YjR3UGNqQ1BsSlFWaHI5bE1pLTQ3QWNCdE1ieUY5UDgwck1PbTBvRVFISTR4WncwMFJaOWlwTUVidWp5SW5YbkpfQXQ1T2dSYwZDZD/ Samuel Torres

    From the beginning I have taken a position against hiring an aide. Councilman Rivera has indicated that there will be no additional cost in the budget. The Council secretary will be reduced. I don't believe there are 9 secretary one for each councilperson. I also think that there will be a problem switching secretary. Some may take it as a demotion. I believe it will be a demotion and less prestigious. Not to say that veteran secretary are of much assistance to a new councilperson. The aid will come and go. However I like to commend Councilman Rivera for bringing to light that Councilman McKoy receives benefit that the State has said should stop. The councilman should give up these benefit that only he has. Next election if these councilperson are not reelected then the battle will continue. Secretary vs Aide

    • Victor Frierson

      Both yours and councilman Rivera's comments about McKoy are disingenuous to say the least Sam Torres. Furthermore, the charade and embarrassment of a legislative body to beat a dead horse for over 2-1/2 hours before handling the peoples business is unreal. You council members do realize you were live streamed around the world, right? Its unreal how you let political differences play out on Tuesday night on local tv so the 10-20 people supporting you can feel you are doing a fine job.

      I'm not here to speak fo d about Mckoy, I'm here to say I thought Councilman Flavio Rivera was better than what he displayed at that meeting. He knows good and well there are 2 tier pay systems playing out throughout public safety and within the private sector negotiated in good faith contractually. If he claims to not know, he should step down. In fact those systems are playing out right under his nose within the Fire and police departments right here in Paterson.

      To somehow suggest (and leave open for public interpretation) councilman Mckoy is doing something wrong is exactly the reason Paterson is in the dire straits we are in now. The elected officials should just do their jobs and pass legislation, nothing more.

      I would like to see if councilman Rivera, his full-time job, is a champion of a brand new employee walking in on their first day of their employment, should assume the status, benefits and pay that he himself makes after 15-20 years, I dont think so. Councilman, stop misleading and manipulating the people of Paterson's psyche, you know better. Hash out your political differences in private when it does not meet or measure up to the scope of work you were elected to take on. Do not take this as post as a defense for Mckoy, he handled his business, I'm just sick of the pettiness when you have serious issues to deal with. It's not pretty, if you think so, you'll be surprised next election. You should all be embarrassed the city is on state welfare and try working towards self sufficiency, if not, step down and let someone more competent have a go at it.

      Vic Frierson

  • Victor Frierson

    Both yours and councilman Rivera's comments about McKoy are disingenuous to say the least Sam Torres. Furthermore, the charade and embarrassment of a legislative body to beat a dead horse for over 2-1/2 hours before handling the peoples business is unreal. You council members do realize you were live streamed around the world, right? Its unreal how you let political differences play out on Tuesday night on local tv so the 10-20 people supporting you can feel you are doing a fine job.

    I'm not here to speak for and about Mckoy, I'm here to say I thought Councilman Flavio Rivera was better than what he displayed at that meeting. He knows good and well there are 2 tier pay systems playing out throughout public employment and within the private sector negotiated in good faith contractually. If he claims to not know, he should step down. In fact those systems are playing out right under his nose within the city civilian employees and the Fire and police departments right here in Paterson.

    To somehow suggest (and leave open for public interpretation) councilman Mckoy is doing something wrong is exactly the reason Paterson is in the dire straits we are in now. The elected officials should just do their jobs and pass legislation, nothing more.

    I would like to see if councilman Rivera, in his full-time job, is a champion of a brand new employee walking in on the first day of their employment, should assume the status, benefits and pay that he himself makes after 15-20 years, I dont think so. Councilman, stop misleading and manipulating the people of Paterson's psyche, you know better. Hash out your political differences in private, this does not meet or measure up to the scope of work you were elected to take on. Do not take this post as a defense for Mckoy, he handled his business, I'm just sick of the pettiness when you have serious issues to deal with. It's not pretty, if you think so, you'll be surprised next election. You should all be embarrassed the city is on state welfare and try working towards self sufficiency, if not, step down and let someone more competent have a go at it.

    Vic Frierson

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