Perth Amboy, N.J. (October 9, 2020) – Incompetent leadership in City Hall has cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Public records have revealed the Diaz administration has needed to settle numerous lawsuits with victims of law enforcement misconduct including police brutality and wrongful death actions, according to Mayoral candidate Joseph B. Vas.
"Mayor Wilda Diaz is the Police Director in Perth Amboy and the City Council members have consistently voted to confirm her in this role," said Vas. "Mayor Wilda Diaz and Diaz Team Councilmen Joel Pabon, Helmin Caba and Fernando Irizarry all share lawful responsibility for the Police Department, which has been badly mismanaged as numerous news reports show."
Vas provided links to reports about excessive force, false arrests, a city officer accused of lying at a trial, the shooting of a mentally ill man, as well as Mayor Wilda Diaz abusing her authority as Police Director by commanding a sergeant to drive her to a social event in Brooklyn.
"There is significant independent confirmation that things are terribly amiss in the Police Department and it all comes down to mismanagement, dishonesty and incompetence in the city's leadership," said Vas "The Mayor and City Council are entirely responsible for this situation. They made it happen, they knew what was going on and they did nothing to stop it."
Promotions within the Police Department are governed by civil service guidelines, Paul Cannamela does not qualify for the position, and there are 3 qualified police officers who continue to wait on the promotional list. Yet, Mayor Wilda Diaz appointed the son of a former city Councilman, as her campaign manager at the same time she designated him as an “acting captain” in the police department even though he does not appear on the list of eligible candidates for promotion to the rank of Captain.
"Not only is a city employee doing political work that benefits the Mayor, but she has special influence over him, and he is receiving undue monetary rewards for his political service," said Vas. "The situation is entirely unfair to the police who are in line for appointments to captain but have been held back so someone with political connections is collecting their paycheck," Vas stated.
Acting Captain Paul Cannamela is now supervising at least three other qualified superior officers who successfully completed the required civil service examination for the post and are required to be promoted. The Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P), through their attorney, have objected to the unlawful promotion. Published reports also show that Cannamela allegedly conspired to intervene in a domestic violence call on behalf of a subordinate.
Vas noted that Diaz recently compelled the current Police Chief to appear in a video in which he falsely asserted that Perth Amboy is among the state's safest cities despite evidence that the FBI and State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Bureau say Perth Amboy is in the top ten percent (10%) of New Jersey's most dangerous localities.
“There are several clear examples of unethical conduct involving Diaz’s abuse of power over the Perth Amboy Police Department while violent crimes are a daily occurrence and remain unsolved. Sadly, a recent video of Diaz and Chief McKeon advised residents that the recent surge in crime is due to the upcoming election” commented Vas.
Vas has repeatedly requested that the City Council call for an Emergency Meeting requiring the Police Director Mayor Diaz and Chief address questions from the Councilmembers and the public about the surge of violent crime within the City. Published reports indicate more than a half dozen active gun shootings, the most recent expelling over 30 bullet casings on
Jefferson Street and Madison Avenue, a homicide on Hall Avenue and High Street less than 2 months ago, and multiple stabbings this past week.
Shockingly, Council President Petrick has refused to conduct the special meeting, choosing rather to further suppress information and deny any public input.
“The lack of qualified leadership and pervasive mismanagement within the Police Department has a created a ticking bomb that threatens the health and safety of every resident. In addition, the residents of Perth Amboy need to understand the full magnitude of the financial liabilities that have and will continue to result. We’re talking about millions of taxpayer dollars every year!”