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Paterson, New Jersey

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Budget
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Meetings
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Elected Officials
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Administrative Officials
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Permits, zoning N
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Audits N
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Contracts N
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Lobbying N
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Public Records N
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Local Taxes N
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Transparency grading process
Paterson is a town in New Jersey. As of 2010, the population is 146,199[1]

Website evaluation

The good

  • Budgets are posted.[2]
  • Meeting agendas, minutes, and notices are posted.[3]
  • Contact information for elected and administrative officials is available.[4][5]

The bad

  • Information on building permits and zoning not available.
  • Lobbying information not posted.
  • There is a site for audits, but none are posted.[6]
  • Revenues are posted in the budget documents, but tax information is not available.[7]
  • Public records are not available.

Budget

The 2011 budget is $225,107,309.20.[8] In 2011, Paterson received $28.3 million in transitional aid from the state, imposed a property tax increase of 29%, and cut 20% of the workforce including 125 police offers . Christie's 2012 budget could leave Paterson at a $20 million deficit from loss of state aid.[9] The budget problems has likely cause the relocation of cancellation of the regional ethnic parades. Mayor Jones has required organizers to put up as much as $100,000 to pay for police and cleanup for the events. Some event organizers call this a violation of freedom of speech and plan to challenge the decision.[10]

Public Employees

Elected Officials

The city operates under a Mayor-Council government. The Municipal Council consists of six members representing city wards and three members elected at-large. The Council acts as the legislative body while the Mayor acts as the executive.[11] The current mayor is Jeffery Jones whose term ends in 2014. The Mayor serves a four year term.[12]

In 2007, Paterson Councilwoman Vera Ames-Garnes was found guilty of obstructing the administration of the law, obstructing highways and other passages and disorderly conduct. She was only required to pay fine and was allowed to keep her office.[13]

Former Councilman Rigo Rodriguez along with his wife and campaign manager were arrested and charged with witness tampering and voter fraud concerning his narrow re-election win in 2010. His opponent, Keith McDaniel, was originally declared the victor until 49 uncounted absentee ballots were uncovered. McDaniel challenged these ballots are fakes or ballots that had been illegally tampered with.[14]

First Last Position Ward Term Expiration
Aslong Goow Sr. Council President Second 2012
Anthony Davis Vice-President First 2012
William McKoy Member Third 2012
Vera Ames Member Fourth 2012
Julio Tavarez Member Fifth 2014
Andre Sayegh Member Sixth 2014
Rigo Rodriguez Member At-Large 2014
Ken Morris Jr. Member At-Large 2014
Benie Wimberly Member At-Large 2014

Mayor

First elected in 2010, the Mayor of Paterson is Jeffery Jones. Jones' Chief of Staff, Charles Pettiford, is seven weeks late on his property taxes worth a total of $1,856.73. His home is valued at $296,100.[15]

Salaries

See also: New Jersey state government salary

The city spent $84 million on salaries and wages in 2011.[16] In response to the budget problems cause by the financial crisis, Councilman Benjie Wimberly has proposed cutting council members' salaries by 15% which is roughly back to 2004 levels. Mayor Jones has been in a battle with some council members that seek to reduce his salary along with some of his cabinet members. He recently vetoed a bill that would have reduced his salary by $24,000 along with various amounts from some department heads. The ordinance would also eliminate longevity pay for council members making pay for members uniform regardless of experience on the board.[17]

The Mayor Currently earns $119,000 a year and would make $95,000 if Wimberly's ordinance is passed. Council Members currently earn $41,000.

Pensions

See also: New Jersey public pensions

Pension information is not available.

Emergency personnel

The combined salaries of police and fire personnel is $72 million.[18] The Guardian Angels came to patrol the streets after 125 police officers had been laid off because of budget problems.[19]

In 2010 the Mayor was trying to replace Police Chief James Wittig by offering him a severance package. The council voted against the package because of the extravagant cost and uncertainty of whether or not the new Chief would be any different than Wittig. It is estimated that Wittig would have received an annual pension of $109,190.[20]

Lobbying

See also: New Jersey government sector lobbying

The City of Paterson has acquired the lobbying services of Millennium Strategies in 2008, 2009, and 2010 but the exact numbers are not reported because they were under the $20,000 reporting threshold.[21]

Year Gov\'t Issue
2010 House of Representatives Fed Budget and Appropriations
2009 House and Senate Fed Budget and Appropriations, Transportation, and Urban Development
2008 None None

Transparency & public records

The Open Public Records Act (OPRA) was passed by the NJ State Legislature in 2001 and guarantees citizen access to a wide variety of government documents. For more information on OPRA and public records see OPRA Central.

Public records requests are not available on the website.

Taxes

The revenue projects in the 2011 budget are[22]:

Revenue Source Amount
Local $19,048,700
State $61,706,511
Amount to be Raised by Taxes $131,116,070

External links

References