Paterson Top Stories

Former Councilman Rooney Takes Aim at Mayor Jones

61ea8e9ee14576a17dc5_jonesheadshot.jpg
Mayor Jeffrey Jones
61ea8e9ee14576a17dc5_jonesheadshot.jpg

 

PATERSON, NJ – In the years since his retirement from the City Council, Thomas Rooney often has returned to City Hall to chastise current municipal officials.  Most of the time, Rooney’s targets are the property tax assessments and the city’s fiscal practices.

But last week, the man who spent 28 years as a Paterson and about 18 months as mayor aimed his criticism at a person rather than a policy. Speaking at the televised December 26 council meeting, Rooney urged Patersonians not to return Mayor Jeffery Jones to office.

Sign Up for E-News

“If he’s elected to another four years, I totally believe before that four years is up that the state will have to take over the government of Paterson,’’ said Rooney, who served more years as a Paterson election official than anyone else alive.

“If he’s so sure about that, then take me out of office now, because he says so,’’ said Jones, dismissing Rooney’s comments as “politics” and “theatrics”.

During the 2010 mayoral campaign, Rooney supported then-incumbent Jose “Joey” Torres in his race against Jones. But after Jones prevailed in what political pundits deemed a stunning upset, Rooney generally has refrained from any attacks on the new mayor. Until last week, that is.

Upset about drug dealing and a massage parlor in his 6th Ward neighborhood, Rooney accused Jones of doing little to address the problems that he previously complained about. “If all this were going on over at his house,’’ Rooney said, “it would be over in an hour.’’ Rooney argued that the fact that the problems have persisted in South Paterson “means he (Jones) wants it to continue.’’

Jones was not present at the council meeting. The mayor’s business administrator, Charles Thomas, tried to offer Rooney an explanation, but the former councilman refused to listen to him. “I don’t want to talk to you,’’ Rooney told Thomas. “Tell the mayor to do what he’s paid to do.’’

Thomas did address the City Council about Rooney’s comments. He said that drug dealing is prevalent throughout Paterson and that the location that Rooney complained about is no different from other areas where the city police department tries to enforce the law.

In a subsequent interview, Jones said Rooney seemed to be asking for a special favor. “By what authority or what urgency does he get to demand preferential service?’’ the mayor asked. “Because he’s Tom Rooney? I thought it was about serving the public. It sounds to be that what he’s saying is, ‘What about me?’’’

Jones questioned why the City Council often allows Rooney more time to speak at its meetings than it affords other members of the public, saying they were providing him with a “bully pulpit.’’ Jones also asserted that Rooney sometimes gets his facts wrong, particularly regarding the technology at the city tax assessor’s office.

“He says what he wants,’’ Jones said. “Politics can be a strange thing. He campaigns for people in a different way.’’

Rooney, in a subsequent interview, said his criticisms were not motivated by politics. “I’m not out to get Jeffrey or anything,’’ Rooney said. “Personally, I think Jeffery is a very nice guy. But what I see is what I see. What’s going on in this city is unprecedented.’’

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Paterson

City Council Candidate to Voters: Let Your Voice Be Heard

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

It is very important for the citizens of Paterson to participate in local city-wide elections because elected officials can help determine the economic, educational and social well-being of entire communities. For example, two very important tasks of city council members include making laws and allocating money.

Elected officials are the gatekeepers for millions of dollars in ...

Dreams for Service Dog for Autistic Montville Resident Become Reality

February 22, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ - Faith Stanley, a Towaco resident and a single mother of four boys, sought help for her youngest son, Joey, who is almost three years old and diagnosed with autism. Amazingly enough, Faith found the help she needed!

Due to the generosity and help of so many people, Faith has managed to reach her goal of raising ...

Paterson Hosts Statewide Event as National El Sistema Leader

February 22, 2018

PATERSON—On March 10, nearly 300 students from seven New Jersey immersive ensemble music learning programs will converge in Paterson for the 4th annual Fiddlefest and Falala Festival. A day of music making and a celebration of culture and community for both the students and their families, the festival features the Paterson-based program Paterson Music Project (PMP), in addition to the New ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...