Paterson Top Stories

City Drops Welfare Recipients From its Neighborhood Assistance Staff

91478d168b7cc3e3961e_nao.jpg
Grier, on left, with people at the Neighborhood Assistance Office about  a year ago.
91478d168b7cc3e3961e_nao.jpg

 

PATERSON, NJ – Last year’s massive layoffs had no impact on the staff at the city’s Neighborhood Assistance Office, the place where struggling Patersonians go to file welfare applications, seek job referrals or look for an affordable place to live.

That’s because the Neighborhood office pretty much relied on the free labor performed by people enrolled in a state-run welfare-reform program known as Community Work Experience Program (CWEP). Sometimes, as many as 17 people were performing their CWEP service time at Paterson’s Neighborhood office.

Sign Up for E-News

Now there are none. Last week, the city decided to stop using people from the CWEP program at its Neighborhood office, officials said. The office’s director, Nancy Grier, said that leaves just her and two volunteers to handle a massive workload.

“We’re not going to be able to serve as many people as we used to,’’ said Grier, a city employee for more than 25 years. “Everything is going to take more time because I’m only one person.’’

Councilman Kenneth Morris called the city administration “short-sighted’’ for turning away free labor and making it more difficult for Patersonians in the CWEP program to perform their requisite community service. Morris said the CWEP enrollees were well-suited to help other city residents in trouble.

“These are people from the community who know the community,’’ said Morris. “What better folks to do this?’’

Lanisha Makle, the community development director who oversees the Neighborhood office, did not respond to a message seeking her comments. Neither did her boss, business administrator Charles Thomas.

Last summer, when talk of curtailing the program first arose, Makle said Neighborhood Assistance had too many CWEP people at its office. Makle also said at that time that some CWEP staffers came to the office dressed in a non-professional way. That was a problem, she said, because the Ellison Street offices were used for other municipal purposes, and the CWEP workers were hurting Paterson’s image with such people as developers who were considering doing business with the city.

Since last summer, the number of CWEP workers at the Neighborhood office had already been trimmed down to four, Grier said.The elimination of the rest of them comes as part of a broader change at the agency.

Grier said Makle told her that the Neighborhood Assistance office was being combined with the office on Special Events as part of the recommendations of a consultant’s study.

“I asked for a copy of the study and still haven’t gotten it,’’ said Grier.

Morris, who oversees community development, said he was not aware of any consultant's report about reorganizing the department.

The controversy pits two women against each other who seemed to be political allies 18 months ago. Grier had worked on Mayor Jeffrey Jones mayoral campaign, helping him get votes in the 4th Ward. Makle, meanwhile, was among Jones’ Cabinet appointees, one of the department heads who is widely seen as part of his inner circle.

Grier now believes her city government career may be coming to an end. “It looks more and more like they’re doing this to get rid of me,’’ she said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Paterson

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_3f27a97645e7103f9868_flyer__courthouse_plaza_programs_2018-page-001

Tue, July 24, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza

Carousel_image_efec3d39ddc6008dd11e_4a256201-8c0a-450c-b62e-8a761d6f5b83

Thu, July 26, 6:00 PM

Vreeland Ave. Park, Paterson

Occupy Vreeland Ave. Park

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar

Carousel_image_3f27a97645e7103f9868_flyer__courthouse_plaza_programs_2018-page-001

Tue, July 31, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza

Readers Says Let Developer Bring Paterson Back

July 13, 2018

Dear Editor: 

It is no secret that Paterson is in dire need of revitalizing, restructuring, rebuilding, and, quite frankly, rebranding. As a city, we have struggled to pay our municipal debt, to reduce crime substantially, to create sustainable employment opportunities for our youth and to provide assistance for our city’s most vulnerable residents. 

Today, we face an uphill ...

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

July 19, 2018

Eliminates Prior Approval for Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Medications; Counseling Options to be Expanded

July 16, 2018

(TRENTON) – The Murphy administration on Monday announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death ...

Pascrell, Renacci, Senators Celebrate House Approval of Congressional Gold Medal to Baseball Pioneer Larry Doby

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Jim Renacci (R-OH-16) hailed the passage in the House of Representatives of H.R. 1861, the Larry Doby Congressional Gold Medal Act. The legislation awards the Congressional Gold Medal to the late baseball star, Larry Doby, who broke the American League’s color barrier in 1947.

“A proud ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

July 12, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

Big Plans for Small Park in Newark’s North Ward

NEWARK, NJ- An under-utilized pocket park on Mt. Prospect Avenue in Newark’s North Ward has become a symbol of what can be accomplished in neighborhoods throughout the city through effective public-private partnerships. 

The park’s supporters have big plans for the public space, located directly across the street from the busy North Ward Center, located in an historic ...

I'm Sorry Mr. Jackson... I Am For Real

July 8, 2018

Hello again, Paterson. 

So much has changed since the last time I’ve written… as I’d hoped, Andre Sayegh is our new mayor and it seems an exciting new dawn is upon us. I think when any change comes, especially one as major as this, there is an opportunity for reflection as well as for hope. This election taught me quite a bit, seeing some of the best and worst sides of ...

RU Ready for Rutgers Football? Tickets on Sale

July 18, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - There's a lot of promotions planned this fall as part of the Rutgers football season.

Single game tickets go on sale Thursday, July 12, with seven home games. There's matchups against Big Ten East opponents Michigan and Penn State, and a first-time cross divisional meeting with Northwestern.

If football is not your thing, there's plenty ...

Westfield to Hold 3-Day ‘AddamsFest’ Celebrating Charles Addams and His Creations This Fall

WESTFIELD, NJ — It’s creepy. It’s kooky. And it’s taking over Westfield from Oct 26 to 28. AddamsFest, a town-wide celebration honoring Westfield native Charles Addams and his most famous creations, The Addams Family, will be a destination event this fall with family-friendly activities, lectures, exhibits and film screenings, the town announced Thursday.

Watch the ...

Belmar Parasail: Soar Into Summer with a High-Flying Adventure Along the Beachfront

BELMAR, NJ — As Belmar finally basks in picture-perfect weather, it may be time to check off a summer activity on your bucket list. And for many, parasailing is one of those “must-do” experiences.

At Belmar Parasail, the season is in full swing, offering boat trips from the Belmar Manutti Marina to the beachfront where passengers are lifted 500 feet above the Atlantic Ocean ...