The Clock Beats City Council in Transit Vote

f945188982f31c265e5b_patbus.jpg
Senior transit bus
f945188982f31c265e5b_patbus.jpg

 

PATERSON, NJ – The city council’s last-minute attempt to continue using the Father English Community Center to provide senior citizen transportation failed when time literally ran out on its deliberations.

At about 11:58 pm on December 21, with council members deep in deliberations on how to block Mayor Jeffrey Jones’ administration’s plan for the city to take over the senior transit system, Council President Aslon Goow warned his colleagues they risked losing the $282,000 grant that pays for the program. “We’ve got two more minutes to make a decision, or we’re going to lose the money,’’ Goow said.

Sign Up for E-News

Why the rush? The Paterson council has a policy precluding votes from being cast after midnight. On top of that, the council had to vote to accept the transportation grant from Passaic County before the end of the year and the December 21 meeting was, at that moment, the last one scheduled for 2010.

In hurried fashion that bordered on the farcical, council members withdrew time-consuming, thought-provoking proposals that were designed to steer the money to the Father English Center. After all, the clock was ticking. Instead, they rushed their vote to beat the deadline.

By a 6-2 margin, the council agreed to accept the grant without restrictions – a move that will allow the Jones administration to create its own transportation system for senior citizens and people with disabilities, dumping the Father English center which had provided the transit for 31 years without significant public complaints.

City Business Administrator Charles Thomas said Paterson would save $51,000 by taking over the senior transit system. The city, he said, is hiring about eight new employees for the senior transit program and would be ready to roll in January, when the Father English contract is terminated. He promised there would be no disruption or reduction in the services, which provide rides several hundred residents with rises to doctors, grocery stores, nutrition centers and other places.

But critics questioned the wisdom of taking on a new program at time when the city is weighing layoffs, especially when many other local governments have determined that privatization is the most cost-effective way to provide non-essential services.

“This is the wrong decision and it’s going to be a detriment to the city,’’ said Councilman Julio Tavarez, chairman of health and human services, the department that will run the city’s new transit system.

“I don’t see a figure here that’s significant enough to justify fixing something that isn’t broken,’’ said Councilman Kenneth Morris, of the projection of $51,000 in savings.

Senior citizens have said they don’t care who provides the rides, as long as there are no cuts in the services.

After the vote, council members asked Thomas whether new employees hired for the senior busing would be in danger of losing their jobs soon if layoffs are imposed. But Thomas said the new workers, who would make slightly more money than some veteran drivers already on the city payroll in other divisions, would be protected from possible layoffs because their salaries would be paid by the county grant.

“You realize the message that sends?’’ Morris said.

The new workers, however, would be affected by the 10-day non-paid furlough program the city is imposing to help with its budget crisis, Thomas said. So on furlough days, when city government pretty much will shut down except for police and firefighters, there will be no senior transit, he said.

The first furlough day is scheduled for January 4.

Shortly after midnight on December 22, with several items unresolved on its meeting agenda, the city council decided to hold a special meeting on December 29. So, as it turned out, the council had more time for the senior transit vote than it had realized.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Paterson

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_3f27a97645e7103f9868_flyer__courthouse_plaza_programs_2018-page-001

Tue, June 19, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza

Carousel_image_3f27a97645e7103f9868_flyer__courthouse_plaza_programs_2018-page-001

Tue, June 26, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza

Carousel_image_e1e5ce1a5e0518734e01_cec58c01-a147-4303-a3ef-79eb31c88034

Sat, June 30, 8:30 AM

Roberto Clemente Park, Paterson

Slam Dunk the Junk

Green

African Heritage Parade a Success

June 18, 2018

Dear Editor: 

I am writing this letter to publicly apologize to the African Heritage Parade Committee and its chief organizer, Ms. Ada Pugh.

I’ll explain why. Throughout the years I have been quite critical of the parade. I would often offer scaving objections to the planning, preparation, and even down to the marching itself. I have a tendency to be tough. I won’t ...

Pascrell, Nadler, Congressional Colleagues Make Surprise Visit to ICE Detention Center to See Separated Families, Jail Conditions

June 18, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ – This morning, U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), and Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-08), Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13), and Albio Sires (D-NJ-08) arrived at the ICE Detention Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey on Father’s Day morning and demanded to see the parents of families ...

New Jersey Blood Services Declares Blood Emergency

New Jersey Blood Services/New York Blood Center (NYBC) has declared a blood emergency. The organization is asking people across New York City, the Hudson Valley, Long Island and New Jersey to donate blood to help replenish the blood supply for hospitals throughout the area.

 

In order to maintain a safe blood supply, a seven-day inventory of all blood types must be continually ...

Sports Betting Is Off And Running in New Jersey

June 15, 2018

OCEANPORT, NJ — Governor Phil Murphy officially ushered in sports betting in New Jersey when he made the initial wager at Monmouth Park  on June 14.

Governor Murphy, an avid soccer fan who has called ESPN’s “Sportscenter” his favorite show, placed the first bet  — $20 on Germany to win the World Cup. He also bet $20 on the N.J. Devils to ...

Bloomfield Parents Protest Board of Education Decision to add Armed Guards to All Public Schools

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Emotions ran high prior to and during tonight’s Board of Education meeting at Bloomfield High School.

Prior to the regularly scheduled meeting, about 25 parents protested outside of the main entrance with signs expressing their disapproval of the placing of armed guards in all district schools.  Several parents had megaphones, while many drivers passing by on ...

Senator Pou’s Statement on Hurricane Maria Evacuee Session

June 9, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- Senator Nellie Pou (D-Paterson) released the following statement regarding the Hurricane Maria Evacuee session to be held on Monday, June 11, in Paterson:

 

I am happy that we are able to bring these types of informational sessions to the residents of Paterson and surrounding areas to ensure that Hurricane Maria evacuees are made aware of the programs available to them ...