Fire at Paterson’s public works office under investigation | Paterson Times Paterson Times

Fire at Paterson’s public works office under investigation

By Jayed Rahman
Published: August 26, 2016


The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating a fire that occurred at the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW) offices at Eastside Park this week, according to city officials.

Fire officials said the fire is under investigation. An official said he could not provide details about the fire.

Paul DeGroot, chief assistant prosecutor at the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, said the fire is under investigation.

Councilman Andre Sayegh said the fire happened on Monday allegedly inside the office of public works supervisor Joseph Mania.

“There are several sources that confirm there was a fire in his office,” said Sayegh. The councilman said Mania allegedly left the stove on at his office and fell asleep.

Mania did not respond to a call for comment for this story.

The supervisor has had a rough week. On Tuesday, a news report stated he was facing disciplinary charges for making inflammatory remarks against other employees on his social media page.

Mania allegedly aimed a disparaging and vulgar British slang at recycling coordinator Diane Polifronio.

The city’s fire department was called into 800 Broadway on Wednesday afternoon. It’s not clear whether the fire department was called to the scene when the fire occurred.

Mania is one of several public works employees accused of billing the city overtime for private work done for mayor Jose “Joey” Torres.

The mayor and the supervisor have fallen out with each other, according to several sources.

Mania has been one of the big overtime earners over the years. He received $63,998 in overtime in fiscal year 2014. The next year, he got $70,593 in overtime. In fiscal year 2016, he made $45,950 in overtime.

Mania’s base salary is $74,073.

The big drop in fiscal year 2016 resulted from Sayegh and former councilman Julio Tavarez’s constant badgering of the Torres administration to cut down on overtime expenditures. Torres touted reducing overtime expenditures by more than 34-percent in fiscal year 2016 at his state of the city address late last month.

Public works director Manny Ojeda is on vacation. Deputy public works director Steve Howe did not return repeated calls for comments.

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