Five members of the City Council secured funding to hire legislative aides following a controversial vote late last year. Three have hired aides as of mid-February, according to public documents.
Council members Maritza Davila, Shahin Khalique, and Al Abdelaziz have already hired their aides. Councilmen Flavio Rivera and Michael Jackson have yet to hire theirs. Jackson has said he is looking to hire a young lawyer to help his constituents with housing problems such as unlawful evictions.
Davila hired Hector L. Nieves, Jr., a Prospect Park class I special police officer, in late November.
Khalique hired Jeyss Abreu, who unsuccessfully ran for a school board seat in November, in early December. Abreu also ran for the 6th Ward seat in 2018. He works as a gate operator technician at the Chamberlain Group in Whippany.
Abdelaziz hired school board member Joel D. Ramirez in early December. Ramirez works as an academic advisor at Berkeley College.
Nieves, Abreu, and Ramirez are all city residents, according to municipal documents. Records show all three men submitted their applications for the legislative aide positions in early August, two months before funding was allocated for the positions.
Council members approved funding for aides in early October following an intense debate on the issue. Some council members viewed hiring aides as a waste of taxpayer money while others saw it as a way to better assist their constituents, particularly during weekends and after City Hall closes for business.
Council members receiving aides decided to give up their secretaries. Proponents of hiring aides argued the secretaries cost more money than aides.
In October, four council members secured funding for aides. Jackson, who had said late last year he did not need an aide, secured funding for one last month.
Legislative aides work part-time without benefits. Each receives a salary of $25,000, according to public records. It costs $125,000 per year for five council members to have aides.
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