Mayor Andre Sayegh is keeping his predecessor’s re-instituted Office of Constituent Services, a hotline for residents to lodge complaints 24 hours a day. He appointed Javier Fernandez, a leader in the city’s Colombian community, to run the hotline on Thursday afternoon.
Fernandez is tasked with receiving complaints through phone, email, and the internet to speedily relay the issues to proper municipal departments for rectification.
“We in City Hall are public servants and our focus should be on improving the quality of life for all Patersonians,” said Sayegh. “The office of Constituent Services is the vehicle for residents from every ward to express their concerns and complaints, and the path for us to address them.”
The hotline receives a variety of complaints from residents related to things like potholes, illegal apartments, fallen tree branches, street sweeping, and snow removal.
“Mayor Sayegh has placed a special emphasis on open communication with all residents of the city and I pledge to make that vision a reality,” said Fernandez. “I’m grateful to the mayor for this chance to help get results for the people of Paterson.”
Fernandez is replacing Horatio McKoy, who has been moved to the Economic Development Department. McKoy made $39,000 in the role, according to payroll records. Fernandez’s salary is $55,000, he previously made $45,000 working at the Passaic County government.
Sayegh wanted someone who spoke Spanish. Hispanics make up 60-percent of the city’s population.
Fernandez, who is a Paterson resident, worked at the Passaic County Clerk’s Office for the past 14 years. He also worked at the New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) conducting outreach at the Great Falls Teen Center and the afterschool program at the Community Charter School of Paterson.
Fernandez graduated from St. John’s Cathedral School and Paterson Catholic High School. He has attended the Passaic County Community College and St. Peter’s College for pharmacy technician courses.
He serves on the board of Hijos y Amigos de Colombia (Sons and Friends of Colombia), a group with a mission to strengthen the city’s Colombian community through philanthropic and cultural activities.
The group conducts annual toy drives for the Three Kings Day for local churches. It was responsible for the Colombia Corridor street naming and founded the Pan-American Park on Market Street.
Former mayor Jose “Joey” Torres re-instituted the Office of Constituent Services in 2014. It was disbanded after he was voted out of office in 2010.
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Updated 12:49 p.m.