PATERSON, N.J.- On Thursday night the Paterson City Council addressed residents about Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’s indictment and Council President Bill McKoy proposed to have a vote of no confidence.
A little over a week ago Attorney General Christopher Porrino announced charges against Torres for his involvement in paying DPW workers overtime to perform renovations on a warehouse leased by his relative. On Monday, the Mayor turned himself over to the state police, but did not resign.
City Council President William McKoy addressed residents about the recent events and provided clarity to the rumors circulating about the council.
“As a council, it is our obligation to stand out and speak about these issues in the interest of taxpayers and residents of Paterson,” McKoy said, “The council has no authority to suspend or remove the mayor. However, the council has the ability to express our ways through a vote...we will have a vote of no confidence with its recommendation so the process can move forward.” McKoy also stated, “We have done it in the past...we have to hold ourselves and the administration to the highest of accountability, transparency, and integrity.”
One resident called on Torres to resign and expressed his frustrations to the council that months ago he asked them to question Torres about the Channel 4 investigation. He said that the council did not do anything until the General Attorney’s office indicted the mayor. The resident continued by calling the government corrupt and putting blame on the Business Administrator for signing off checks for the Mayor.
Paterson Business Administrator Nellie Pou, clarified for the resident that there’s a procedure for every signed check which follows a chain of command and that it is properly identified. Pou said that she not only pays for DPW workers, but pays the checks for all departments because that is her jobs.
Another resident also called on the mayor to resign, but said, “he needs to do it for his family and the city.” He stressed the point that the city needs “time to heal” and asks the council to vote on a memorandum for Torres to resign. The resident mentions that he believes that Torres is innocent until proven guilty.
Fourth Ward Councilwoman Ruby Cotton said about Torres, “The mayor knows what he needs to do, and no can’t tell him that.”
Donald Lynch, a resident who knew Torres for 37 years, believes that “the truth will come out.” “We weren’t there- we can’t evict him...only the people that knew what was going on was Joey[Torres] and God.”