Members of the governing body on Tuesday afternoon elected Julio Tavarez of the 5th Ward to the city council presidency over William McKoy of the 3rd Ward.
Four council members vote in favor of Tavarez while three backed McKoy. Council members: Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman, 2nd Ward; Maritza Davila, at-large; Alex Mendez, at-large; and Andre Sayegh opted for Tavarez.
Anthony Davis, 1st Ward; Ruby Cotton, 4th Ward; and Kenneth Morris, voted in favor of McKoy. Tavarez casted the last and deciding vote making him the first Dominican-American council president in Paterson’s history.
The new council president reflected on his journey from grinding poverty in the Dominican Republic to the city. “I grew up in extreme poverty,” said Tavarez. “[I] came here, my parents came here, worked hard, and — to be able to represent the council members of the city of Paterson in this capacity is something I never dreamed of.”
I don’t think I even dreamed of graduating high school, remarked Tavarez. “I didn’t even think that was possible,” said Tavarez. “I’ve been blessed.”
Jose “Joey” Torres, the city’s new mayor, congratulated Tavarez in his new appointment.
Tavarez said he is setting aside personal animosities to move the city forward. “I’m ready to move the city forward,” said Tavarez. “It’s not about taking it personal. It’s not about saying ‘you voted against me and I got you.”
Cotton was unanimously vote in by all nine council members to the vice president of the council.
Tavarez said he is willing to work with the mayor to get some of the projects done that the new mayor has highlighted. “I’m ready and willing and able to work with the mayor,” said Tavarez. “He put forward lots of plans. I’m ready to examine those plans with the mayor. Everything you do has a cost. We have to make sure it’s something achievable.”
In a conciliatory note, Tavarez said: I’m ready to work with the council members who voted for me and those who voted against me.