Paterson Top Stories

City Council Members' Health Benefits in Danger


PATERSON, NJ - City Council members may lose their municipal health benefits as one of the requirements for the state to give Paterson $21 million in transitional aid.

The health benefits provision is a new condition that's been added to the 2012 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) requires all municipalities receiving transitional aid to sign.

It reads, "The Municipality acknowledges that the State does not provide Transitional Aid for the purpose of providing health benefits to part-time elected or appointed officials and shall eliminate such benefits for all officials and employees not contractually entitled to them.''

Sign Up for E-News

Paterson council members are not happy about the provision. They had been scheduled to approve a resolution on Tuesday saying they accepted the terms of the MOU, but decided to put off that vote until a special meeting on Wed., Feb. 1.

"I think the state is getting a little bit ridiculous,'' said Councilman Aslon Goow.

"If someone gets elected and they get sick, they need to be taken care of,'' said Council President Anthony Davis.

Some council members have other health insurance. Others rely on the municipal coverage.

The health benefits requirement was included in MOUs sent to all transitional aid cities, not just Paterson, according to DCA spokeswoman Lisa Ryan. The only part of the MOU that's unique to Paterson is a provision requiring the city to increase its sewer fees, she said.


Paterson council members acknowledge they are paying closer attention to the details of the MOU after they felt blindsided by the state's recent pronouncement that it would penalize transitional aid municipalities for travel expenses that did not get prior approval from the DCA. City officials said they were not aware of the need to get approval to stay overnight at the League of Municipalities convention in Atlantic City.

During next week's special meeting, council members said they would examine the proposed MOU in detail. "The DCA will hold us to the letter of the law and we want to make sure we have a clear understanding of it,'' said Councilman William McKoy.

Council Finance Chairman Kenneth Morris said the city has very little say in establishing the terms of the MOU. "It shouldn't be presented as a negotiated agreement,'' Morris said. "It's not a negotiated agreement. It's an edict.''

"Rejecting the MOU is like rejecting the transitional aid,'' Morris said. Without the $21 million from the state, Paterson would be facing a fiscal crisis as bad as the one the city endured last year. Even with the state aid, Paterson's best case scenario this years seems to be a five-percent tax increase.

Goow said he believes city officials ought to put increased pressure on the state instead of simply accepting the DCA's proposed terms.

The MOU requires the city to get state approval before hiring anyone, giving non-contractual pay raises, entering new union contracts, and retaining consultants. Among the other conditions of the MOU are:

  • The preparation of a plan by June 30 showing how Paterson intends "to eliminate its reliance" on transitional aid within three years.
  • The elimination of longevity pay for elected officials and other city employees not covered by labor contracts.
  • No overtime for management employees unless it's required by state or federal law.
  • No expansion of city services unless approved by the DCA.

Goow criticized the state's desire to discontinue Paterson's transitional aid within three years. "It's impossible,'' he said. "It's absolutely impossible. It's not going to happen.'''

Morris also questioned the fiscal impact of eliminating health benefits for council member because Paterson uses a self-insurance fund under which the city pays for employees' medical care on an as-needed basis. "It's not like we're going to get a lower premium,'' Morris said. The savings, he said, would be minimal and staggered.

Morris also argued that there was "some ambiguity" in the provision on eliminating health benefits because council members sign a certification that outlines their "terms of service,'' including benefits. "What constitutes a contractual agreement?"

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Mon, May 28, 1:00 PM

Roberto Clemente Park, Paterson

Memorial Day Celebration

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, June 2, 8:30 AM

LaNeves Restaurant, Haledon

2018 Parent Conference & Breakfast


Clara Maass Medical Center offers Life-Saving Narcan Training Sessions

May 25, 2018

Belleville, NJ – In response to a national call from the Surgeon General of the United States emphasizing the importance of Narcan, a life-saving medication that can stop or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, the Center of Excellence for Latino Health at Clara Maass Medical Center will host training sessions in May and June to educate the community on the use of Opioids. The ...

Free Archery Classes

Archery is one of the world's oldest sports, and you can enjoy free classes hosted by the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Rutgers 4-H Cooperative Extension of Passaic County. From 2pm-4pm on June 2nd, June 16th, July 7th, and July 21st, people of all ages are welcome to take free archery classes at the Great Meadow in Garret Mountain Reservation, located at 8 Mountain Ave ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.


Q. When did you join

I joined in September, ...

Who Let the Dogs Out? Passaic County K-9 Unit Wows Children and Seniors

May 24, 2018

TOTOWA, NJ- With schoolchildren, senior citizens, and law enforcement all in one room any politician would have been thrilled to take part in Thursday’s cross generational event in Totowa that featured a reading of children’s book “Roscoe the K-9 Cop,” authored by Kristen Sondej, and several members of the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 ...

Vehicular Homicide Charges for Driver of Paramus School Bus

May 24, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The driver of a school bus involved in a crash on Route 80 last week that killed two people faces two counts of second-degree vehicular homicide/death by auto, it was announced today.

The driver, Hudy Muldrow, 77, of Woodland Park, attempted to make an illegal U-Turn on the highway in an attempt to find his way to Waterloo Village, the planned destination of the bus that was ...

Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver Testimony on Proposal to Divert Affordable Housing Funds

PATERSON, NJ- TAPinto Paterson earlier reported on the response of local community leaders and activists on a proposal by Governor Phil Murphy to divert $46 million from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) which they wrote in a letter signed by representatives of over 100 groups statewide is “legally dedicated to the creation of affordable homes for lower income ...

The Elections are Over, Now it's Time to Collaborate!

May 21, 2018

For much of the past six months Paterson’s focus has been on the races for mayor and council, and rightly so. The elected officials that serve the nearly 150,000 residents of our city have an enormous responsibility, their actions dictating not just success of our community, but the way our City is perceived.

The election is now behind us, and we congratulate all who took part in the ...