Councilman Luis Velez’s wife was hired at the Passaic Valley Water Commission late last year, according to public records.
Velez’s wife, Ramona Sanchez, who is known to local leaders as “Evelyn Sanchez,” was hired as a “keyboarding clerk” for $38,000 in September 2020. She was assigned to the lab, according to public records.
Sanchez’s resume shows she previously — from 2018 to 2020 — worked as a home school community liaison at the Paterson school district. Her name appears on the district’s payroll records, but lists a salary of “0” for that period.
“She applied and she went through the process,” said Velez.
Before his wife was hired at the Passaic Valley Water Commission, Velez had been publicly complaining about not having health insurance. Velez would be able to obtain coverage through his wife’s employer, according to sources.
Velez was also aggressively criticizing mayor Andre Sayegh. Sources said Sayegh, through councilwoman Ruby Cotton, whom the mayor appointed to the commission’s board last year, facilitated the hiring of Velez’s wife.
“I had nothing to do with it,” said Cotton.
Sayegh did not respond to call for comment for this story.
Velez was one of the mayor’s strongest defenders last week when the City Council debated a no-confidence measure against Sayegh for his numerous failures.
Some council members privately attributed Velez’s defense of the mayor to the hiring of his wife at the water commission.
“One thing has nothing to do with the other,” said Velez when asked if the hiring is influencing his position on the mayor. “They are thinking like that because they have weak minds.”
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Updated 8:20 p.m.