Dear Mr. Ruben Gomez,

On behalf of the long suffering and badly screwed taxpayers and residents of this great city, I warmly welcome you to Paterson and what should be a vital and challenging and hopefully rewarding position as our Economic Development Director.  I wish you well because we NEED and WANT you to succeed and I know everyone in this city will work with you.  

Next Tuesday you will become the biggest flag waver and champion for the City of Paterson. Much will be expected of you, from the ordinary people who live and work here and the administration which you have bravely elected to hitch your wagon to.

With a $13.5M budget deficit for FY2012, no coherent economic development plan for the past two years to speak of (despite Brian Sweeney's heroic efforts) and up until now a neutered economic development team, you have your work cut out for you with zero margin for error.  

There will be no honeymoon period, there's no time for that.  You have until April/May 2014, to bring in significant results. Speaking as one of thousands forced to fork out an additional 32% in property taxes since 2010 with the strong likelihood that we will be fleeced again for FY2012, here are some points for your consideration and general comments on what we expect from you in return for the estimated pro-rated $183,000 we will be paying you until June 30th 2014.

  • Please, please, please be squeaky clean. I can't stress this enough.
  • You are NOT eligible for overtime.
  • Keep EVERYTHING above board. No back room deals with former employers. No jobs for the boys. No sweetheart deals with developers.
  • This is an historic city, the birthplace of American Industry. Be mindful of preservation of our buildings and become familiar with the mantra "Adaptive Re-use".
  • Remember, as of September 4th you don't work for Mayor Jones, you work for everyone who lives in Paterson. Our interests take priority over anyone else's.
  • I don't know what you have been told by the current administration but it seems to me that one of the keys to your success has to be your ability to not allow interference by other cabinet members, including your boss.
  • Make sure to attend every Economic Development Committee meeting.
  • Make sure to forge a good relationship with City Council. Its vital.
  • Meet with our Historic Preservation Commission as soon as possible.
  • Let's see you present to the Council a monthly report detailing the following:
  • Jobs created in the prior month.
  • Jobs lost in the prior month.
  • Net loss/gain of jobs.
  • Cumulative jobs lost or gained  for the year to date.
  • New ratables for the prior month.
  • Ratables lost for the prior month.
  • Net loss/gain of ratables
  • Cumulative ratables lost or gained for the year to date.
  • Meet with Economic Development Specialist Brian Sweeney as soon as possible and include him in your plans. Restore his pay. Don't screw him. This guy has gone through hell. The money you are being paid has in a sense and in part been taken away from him.You need to work together.
  • Be prepared for an unprecedented level of scrutiny by activists including but not limited to OPRA requests for every piece of correspondence you generate, including expense reports, monthly reports, deal memos, agreements, etc.  
  • Results, results, results.
With homeowners hanging on by thread, people out of work, the city in a fiscal mess, the general consensus that City Hall has betrayed the public trust and can't find its backside with both hands, we need to know that you are on our side. We are definitely on yours. However, to paraphrase President Reagan, we will trust you but boy are we going to verify.
I wish you well and stand ready to help.
Good luck and God speed.
Kind regards,

Michael Symonds
Resident and Taxpayer
Paterson, New Jersey