PATERSON, NJ - Bernard Jones, a local real estate agent and small business owner, was selected by the Paterson City Council to serve as a commissioner of the Paterson Housing Authority. The unanimous vote by the council allows Jones to complete the unexpired term of Kevin Michael Henry.
Henry, known affectionately as “Big Mike”, was appointed earlier this year but passed away in September from heart failure.
Jones said that he enters the position with high expectations following the larger-than-life Henry, an established voice in the community. "I'm stepping in to a big pair of shoes that I hope I can fill," said Jones, in awe of a man he described as "intense" and "spiritual."
His goal in serving, according to Jones, is to immediately address concerns with the shortage of affordable housing in Paterson. "This lack of inventory is how you end up with someone making $9 or $10 an hour and paying $1200 a month just for housing." He plans to work with the rest of the board to facilitate development and improve living conditions for city residents.
Members of the council offered heavy praise for the appointment with Councilwoman Maritza Davila saying that Jones is very dedicated and “someone who I've grown very fond of.”
Councilman Alex Mendez, who nominated Jones for the position spoke to him directly before casting his vote saying that he knew Jones would “identify the issues most affecting the community and fight for them."
Jones' term as Commissioner will begin immediately and run through June 2020.