The public and elected officials sparred before the Bayonne City Council unanimously approved (5-0) an ordinance requiring all city employees hired after October 1 of this year live in Bayonne, reviving an order from 1991 that hasn’t been effectively enforced.
The ordinance discontinues the allowance of new city employees, who are grandfathered in under the special skills provision, to work within the city if they are not a Bayonne resident, which stirred up controversy around previous administrators and current taxpayers.
“If you live in town and you work in town you’d do a good job for Bayonne. The contrary is true. If you don’t live here tax increases, water increases don’t affect you — you don’t care,” said Pete Cresci, an attorney and former city administrator.
“So council, after three years of alienating the entire city of Bayonne with active lies, mismanagement and indecency and ‘they were only campaign promises,’ you the city council is at a crossroad. Bayonne must be one Bayonne and not a political financial tool run for the benefit of out-of-towners.”
Cresci, a frequent political opponent of the Mayor Jimmy Davis administration, is currently embroiled in a worker residency lawsuit with the city that saw a co-plaintiff drop out in June.
Current firefighters, police officers, school teachers and those with a focused skill set will not be affected by the new ordinance.
3rd Ward Councilman Gary La Pelusa mentioned how even though he wouldn’t remove out-of-town employees from their current positions for over 20 years, he still stands by ordinance #20-16.1: which requires employees to be a Bayonne resident when hired.
Council President Sharon Nadrowski reiterated the misconception of police officers, firefighters, and teachers being unable to properly service the city if not a resident of Bayonne.
“They do their job regardless of where they come from. So to say you give a different quality of work because people not in town aren’t going to do their job: it just doesn’t ring true,” said Nadrowski.
On the contrary, Peter Franco, an active administration critic, as well as many other residents who spoke during last night’s meeting, felt the council prolonged abiding by the law.
“At the end of the day here you guys knew what was and I think this is circumventing or [you're] curtailing on it and it seems like the law is for us and it’s selective with you guys. I don’t think that’s a good way to communicate to the public and to show that, people see this, it’s not false,” said Franco.