Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’ daughter Clarissa Torres was hired as an assistant personnel technician at the Passaic Valley Water Commission on Wednesday. Clarissa Torres was hired at an annual salary of $52,000, according to commission records.
“I had no influence,” said Torres, when asked whether he played a role in securing his daughter a position at the commission. He said the daughter graduated from Rutgers University two years ago and pursued a career in human resources.
“She saw an opening, she applied amongst others, and she was selected,” said Torres. Few years ago, Clarissa Torres spent a summer working for the commission’s law department, said Torres.
Salary range for the position was $32,00 to $67,000, according to records.
To stress his point the mayor said out of the three commissioners appointed by the city’s mayor none of them were placed there by him. “They have their own board, they have their own commissioners, and out of the three commissioners that represent Paterson none of them were appointed by me, none of them,” said Torres.
The three owner cities of the commission Paterson, Clifton, and Passaic each appoint commissioners to the board.
Paterson appoints three; Clifton and Passaic each appoint two. School board member Chrystal Cleaves, restaurant owner Russell Grady, and Jeffrey Levine represent the city on the commission’s board. Cleaves and Grady were appointed by former mayor Jeffery Jones; Levine was first appointed by Torres, but re-appointed by Jones, according to city officials.
James Gallagher, former Passaic County Freeholder, who did the hiring, is married to the daughter of former mayor Lawrence “Pat” Kramer, who endorsed Torres during his mayoral run for a third nonconsecutive term.
Gallagher could not be reached for comments.
“It was competitive and I’m very proud of my daughter,” said Torres. “She’s a young adult. She’s very talented. She’s very smart. And I think her to be an asset anywhere she is gainfully employed.”