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

‘We Must Not Be Enemies’

May 9, 2018

Dear Editor

I want to take opportunity to congratulate Mayor Elect Andre Sayegh on his awesome election night victory and for running a campaign to unite all Patersonians. His message of “One Paterson” resonated with the electorate. I believe that Paterson's best days are ahead. He will govern the city the same way he campaigned, always putting Paterson and ...

Coughlin Appoints Wimberly New Assembly Housing Committee Chair

May 21, 2018

TRENTON, NJ – Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin has named Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly as the new Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee chairman.

Wimberly will oversee the key committee responsible for addressing statewide concerns including affordable housing, residential construction and various legislation improving New Jersey communities.

He will assume chairmanship of ...

Adopt A Pet

This little cutie is the last “good” reminder of a bitter winter. The family, mom included, were rescued during a nasty blizzard. They adapted quickly to being safe inside and are now ready to find their new homes and their new families. Hailey is quite the player and is all about kitten energy. Born in late February of 2018, this beautiful grey and white girl enjoys wrestling with ...

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 TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

Passaic County CASA Recognizes Volunteer Child Advocates at Annual Event

May 11, 2018

WAYNE, NJ- More than 50 staff members, volunteers, and board members from Passaic County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) celebrated the impact of CASA volunteers at the organization's Volunteer Appreciation Brunch on April 28, 2018, at Laurelwood Arboretum in Wayne. This annual event recognizes Passaic County CASA volunteer advocates and the difference they make in the lives of ...

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

May 21, 2018

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 ...

Local Advocates Join Statewide Call for Restoration of Affordable Housing Funds

PATERSON, NJ- The leaders of several local organizations including Paterson Habitat for Humanity, Saint Paul’s Community Development Corporation, the Paterson Housing Authority, and the City of Paterson’s Neighborhood Assistance Office lent their signatures to a letter urging Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature to preserve a fund dedicated to creation of affordable ...

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 ...