Council members who voted to bring in 5th Ward councilman Julio Tavarez to the council presidency were rewarded with important committee chair positions this week.
Most notably, freshman councilman at-large Domingo “Alex” Mendez received assignment to head the public works committee, vice-chair the education committee, and be second council member in the finance committee; and novice councilwoman at-large Maritza Davila is to head the human services committee, the planning board committee, and vice-chair the economic development committee, and the public works committee.
Tavarez further appointed Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman, 2nd Ward councilman, to head the public safety committee. The council president also appointed his friend and ally 6th Ward councilman Andre Sayegh to head the economic development committee, the Paterson restoration corporation committee, and vice-chair the public safety committee.
Others who voted against the new council president during the reorganization meeting received less interesting committee assignments. William McKoy, 3rd Ward councilman, who was the other contender for the presidency, received an assignment to head the statuary agencies committee and not a single vice-chairmanship.
The longest serving councilman McKoy, an auditor by trade and a tough questioner, was excluded entirely from the finance committee.
Anthony Davis, 1st Ward councilman, who voted against Tavarez, received an assignment to the youth services committee with no vice-chairmanships.
Ruby Cotton, 4th Ward councilwoman, who was appointed as vice-president of the council during its reorganization meeting, is assigned to head the education committee, and serve as vice-chair of the community development committee.
Councilman at-large Kenneth Morris, who opposed Tavarez’s rise to the presidency, managed to keep his hold on the finance committee. Morris, linchpin of municipal finance, was probably too difficult to replace owing to the complexity of the city’s finances.
Morris is also assigned as the chairman of the now less important community development committee.
The council has a total of 11 committees one of which lacks a vice-chairman: the finance committee. Three council members are in the finance committee, Morris, the chairman, and two members Mendez and Davila.
It is common for the council president to reward loyalists with council committee positions. Committees often vet and review resolutions and ordinances before they are brought to workshop meetings for public discussions.