Former Mayor’s Job at SID Comes Under Fire
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 • 6:37am
PATERSON, NJ – The City Council on Tuesday night approved the 2013 budget for the Bunker Hill Special Improvement District, despite criticism of former mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’ role as its $36,000 part-time executive director.
“I’m tired of seeing Paterson as a cash cow,’’ said Councilman Rigo Rodriguez, criticizing the fact that Torres has the Bunker Hill position in addition to his $135,000 job as business administrator in Jackson Township. Rodriguez argued that the Bunker Hill jobs should have been given to someone else, especially with so many people out of work: “How greedy can you be? How much do you want to make?’’
During the public hearing on the Bunker Hill district’s $201,000 budget, former councilman Aslon Goow also targeted Torres’ position. He said he doubted Torres had time to do much work for the business district because he had a long commute to Ocean County for his full-time job.
“You know what it is? It’s double-dipping,’’ said Goow. “It’s a no-show job.’’
But several council members said the Bunker Hill district was being well-run. They also said they believed that the board of the improvement district conducted a fair and thorough search when it hired Torres more than two years ago.
Members of the business district pay an extra tax on their property to pay for improvements within its boundaries.
“It’s their money,’’ said Councilwoman Ruby Cotton, who represents the 4th Ward where Bunker Hill is located. “It’s up to them to decide who their director is.’’
Council President Anthony Davis said the council had no control over who the district hired as its executive director.
But Councilman Julio Tavarez questioned that statement, asserting that because the council had to vote on the budget it had some say over the way the money gets spent. Nevertheless, Tavarez said he thought the Bunker Hill board was doing a good job.
Eight council members voted in favor of the budget. Only Rodriguez voted against it.