PATERSON, NJ - A proposal that will reduce the ability of two longtime members of the Paterson City Council to make key appointments is expected to advance when the body next meets.
Sponsored by Second Ward Councilman Shahin Khalique, the resolution discussed Tuesday “endeavors to ensure that all wards are equally represented on all established Boards and Commissions in the City.
More specifically, as proposed, the six ward council members will have the ability to make four appointments each to boards and commissions including the Board of Adjustment, Parking Authority, Rent Leveling Board, Paterson Task Force, and the Housing Authority. The three At-Large seats will maintain their current three appointments each.
At the outset of the discussion Council President Maritza Davila explained that as currently prescribed members representing the Third and Fourth Wards have authority over five appointments while the Second and Fifth Ward representatives have only two.
Appointments to Boards and Commissions are meaningful as they help shape city policy beyond the actions of the legislative body.
Khalique interjected several times during the discussion when various members referred to the ability to make an appointment as a “benefit.”
“This isn’t about benefit,” Khalique repeated, “it’s about fairness.
While not objecting to the issue of fairness, Third Ward Councilman Bill McKoy said that he was “unsatisfied with the approach” that was taken in bringing the change forward.
“Because we can count to five,” McKoy suggested, indicating the number of votes it takes to pass both matters, “there is no conversation.”
“I feel set upon,” the body’s longest serving member continued. “No one had the decency to talk to me.”
Clarifying again that he had no issue with the “allocation or distribution” of the appointments McKoy concluded that “all we had to do was have a conversation.”
That conversation, finally happening in a public forum, along with some trading of appointments between the various members, was enough to bring the issue to an amicable conclusion and one that is set for adoption without further discussion on Tuesday, February 25.
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