Indicted councilman picked to serve as president of City Council in Paterson | Paterson Times

Indicted councilman picked to serve as president of City Council in Paterson


Councilman Alex Mendez, who is under indictment for election and voter fraud charges, has been picked to serve as president of the City Council in Paterson.

Mendez was nominated by councilwoman Maritza Davila during the reorganization meeting on Saturday.

Mendez was picked in a 5-3 vote. Council members Al Abdelaziz, Davila, Shahin Khalique, Luis Velez, and Mendez himself voted in favor while Ruby Cotton, Lilisa Mimms, and Forid Uddin voted against.

Councilman Michael Jackson, who is also under indictment for voter fraud charges, was absent.

“It’s time for us to unite this council. It’s time for us to move our city forward,” said Mendez after becoming president of the City Council. “There’s a lot of work to be done in the city of Paterson.”

The president receives a slightly higher wage, presides over meetings, and sets the agenda.

Mimms was nominated for the presidency by Uddin, but she failed to secure enough votes to win.

Velez was picked to serve as vice president. Both Mendez and Velez will serve as president and vice president for the next 12 months.

Mendez takes the reign from Khalique, who served as president for the past 12 months. Khalique struggled to run and maintain order in meetings.

“Some of the people came here on purpose in this council chamber to attack certain council member and derail the course of council meetings. I tried my best to serve the people and serve the city of Paterson,” said Khalique in between jeers and laughter from the audience.

A day earlier, the New Jersey Attorney General announced new charges against Khalique’s two brothers, Jwel and Shelim. Both are accused of putting children at risk by using unqualified school bus drivers.

Council members called on Mendez to ensure decorum and order in future meetings of the governing body. He said the swearing in the chambers has to cease and he will work to bring decorum to the meetings.

“Today is supposed to be a new day,” said Velez.

Velez pointed out this is the first time in seven years the mayor was absent from the reorganization meeting.

Mayor Andre Sayegh was not present in the reorganization meeting. He and Mendez have been rivals for years. Sayegh has often called Mendez a “criminal” because of the unresolved charges against the new council president. Mendez said he will try to work with the Sayegh administration.

Mendez has a court hearing later this month.

“It’s a new era in the City Council,” said Mendez.

Related posts

  • Leo Sanchez

    I’m like Latino working like one big family

  • Marcelo

    Puerto Ricans,Dominicans and now,a Peruvian are the povertician of Paterson.God help us.Please?