Mayor Andre Sayegh’s administration has hired a new assistant personnel director for $80,000, according to public records.
Stephanie Pabon was hired in August.
Some have raised questions about Pabon’s hiring. A job posting advertised by the city listed a bachelor’s degree as a requirement for the assistant personnel director position. It also listed as a requirement three years of supervisory personnel experience.
Pabon, who is also known as Stephanie Valdiviezo-Bosques, does not have a bachelor’s degree. Her resume states she is enrolled in Kean University for a bachelor’s in communications. She has a certificate in human resource management from Essex County Community College, according to the resume.
Business administrator Kathleen Long cited the New Jersey Civil Service job description for the assistant personnel director title which allows a candidate to substitute work experience for college credits. She said Pabon has earned three years of college credits and is just a year from graduation.
“Her work in various human resources roles since 2014, but especially her work over the last 4 years in Old Bridge, provided enough equal experience for this one year of credit,” said Long.
Pabon worked as an office clerk at the Perth Amboy division of personnel from 2014 to 2017. She worked as a human resources and payroll coordinator for Old Bridge Township from 2017 to 2020. She most recently worked as a human resource generalist at the Jersey City Housing Authority, according to her resume.
“I take the usual stance against the illegal hiring of people from outside of the city. This woman does not have a fraction of the credentials of the former personnel director, who they obviously forced out,” said councilman Michael Jackson.
Jackson is referring to former personnel director Debra Hannibal, who resigned in August.
Pabon is a resident of Perth Amboy. Paterson has an ordinance that requires employees to be residents of the city with some exceptions.
One exception is if the person has a “special talent or expertise” that is not available among Paterson residents.
“I believe the city of Paterson has individuals that have the skills and meet the requirements,” said councilman Luis Velez. “I would be interested in knowing how many applications came in from residents of Paterson.”
“We posted for this position twice, had 8 applicants overall, and only 1 was a Paterson resident. That individual did not have the experience required for the position,” said Long. She said the administration notified the City Council’s Personnel Committee prior to hiring Pabon.
Pabon is serving as the de facto personnel director after the departure of Hannibal. She is at the helm of a division, many of whose past directors have been mired in scandals or came under fire.
Betty Taylor was fired in 2015 for allegedly misrepresenting her income to secure a home improvement loan through a city program.
Abby Levenson came under fire in early 2018 for working from home. She later resigned to take on another job elsewhere.
Michele Ralph-Rawls was hired by Sayegh in 2018 as personnel director. She sought a questionable 6 percent pay increase just weeks after starting the job. She resigned in 2020.
Pabon could not be reached for comments for this story on Monday.
“Ms. Pabon has been a welcome addition to the Department of Administration’s Division of Personnel and brings a positive and inclusive leadership style to her work, along with her about 7 years of broad experience in multiple municipalities handling payroll and human resources challenges,” said Long.