Imagine that you apply for a job, interview for the position, successfully convince everyone in the room that you are a superstar candidate, well able to accomplish great things if given the chance. Imagine that everyone present is so impressed with your pitch the boss says the magic words, “You’re hired”.
Now imagine a few months into the gig you tell your new employer that actually you don’t have time to deliver the results you promised because of other outside commitments which get in the way and you really need additional assistance (at extra cost to your employer) so you can do exactly the same job that your predecessor managed to on his or her own.
You’d probably be shown the door; unless of course you happen to be a member of the Paterson City Council, whose members recently indicated they need help to perform the job they were elected to do, and posted job vacancies for aides with a salary of $25,000 per person. When you include benefits and ancillary costs, office space, computers, phones etc. the true cost edges towards $40k
One Council member (name withheld to avoid embarrassing the person) actually told me he/she felt it was unfair to their day job employer to be conducting city business during working hours and that he/she has to use their lunchtime to do Council work. He/she argued that having an aide would improve service to constituents. Really?
So, let’s review. Elected officials who campaigned on making improvements and bringing about change now claim that the only way for them to fulfill these promises is to hire unelected aides to help them do the job which they promised to do (and still get paid $41,000 a year for the privilege) while they carry on with their paid day jobs. Oh, and they’ll pass along the costs to the taxpayer. Am I missing something?
There are many other departments desperately in need of help such as Fire, Police and DPW. The City also badly needs to hire more code enforcement inspectors, especially on the weekends.
If Council members feel they cannot handle the job they were elected to do because work commitments get in the way, then, frankly maybe they shouldn’t be on the Council in the first place.
Written by Michael Symonds, a prominent resident and homeowner in the historic Eastside Park section of Paterson.