Questions swirling around new $110k confidential aide for Mayor Roque

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Many questions have risen in light of a controversial hire done in West New York Town Hall, a confidential aide for Mayor Felix Roque – a position that was not advertised and pays a salary of $110,000 a year.Manny Diaz

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Manny Diaz was hired by the Town of West New York on January 17 of this year at a starting salary of $110,00, technically as a clerk even though he has been referred to as the confidential aide to the mayor, according to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request.

The same response says that both a copy of his resume and the corresponding job posting were “not acquired” in this instance, indicating that there was no interview process to facilitate Diaz’s hiring.

Roque, who also recently hired a new chief of staff in November, said Diaz has been a valuable asset to the town.

“This guy’s a hard worker. He gets a lot of things accomplished. He works hard for the town, he does his best. I tell the haters: please come to Town Hall and I’ll interview you and we’ll see if there’s an opportunity for you,” Roque said, even publicly offering up his cell phone number: 201-679-0829.

His initial remarks were in reference to a select few residents complaining about Diaz’s recent hire on Facebook.

“In the little time that he’s been there, projects on the waterfront are proceeding, he’s working on grants – he has a lot of prior knowledge. People feed on the negativity, but the town is taking on a new direction.”

Diaz, who worked at the North Hudson Community Action Corporation in Union City for over 15 years according to his LinkedIn page is also a disbarred attorney who began a federal prison sentence in 1999.

He was accused of cocaine trafficking and misusing clients’ funds, among other improprieties pertaining to his legal practice.

Roque acknowledged Diaz’s past indiscretions, but was dismissive of them and said he still has 100 percent confidence in his recent hire.

“Don’t judge a person on his past … a large percentage of people are in jail because they couldn’t afford to have legal assistance like I did,” Roque, who has beaten two indictments since 2013, explained.

“The reality of life is that Jesus Christ died on the cross because we all make mistakes. We got a good guy in Manny, I trust him 100 percent and I have the utmost confidence in him.  He’s got the best interests of the town at heart.”

Roque added that he’s extremely happy with the direction that his second term is moving in, further stating that he currently plans on seeking re-election in 2019.

In an email, Diaz admitted that he did not interview for the position, but he was under the impression that was part of the standard procedure in West New York and added that his time at NHCAC makes him quite capable and qualified.

“As far as I know there is no formal interview protocol established for hiring in the Town of WNY. Each commissioner handles hiring as they deem appropriate. In my case I have known the Mayor for years and he is familiar for my work ethic,” he said.

“For instance, during my 15 years at NHCAC, I started as a case worker earning $33,000 [a year[, rose to director of homeless programs and, more recently, 3 years ago, I was appointed to Senior management.”

“I then implemented a pharmacy program that provided affordable medicine to our patients and resulted in earning $500,000 new revenue for the company. That is the kind of drive I intend to bring to WNY. The mayor sat down with me told me his expectations and offered me the position.”

11 COMMENTS

  1. Great job John, you should do more of this. Hudson county officials need to held accountable. Speechless on El Coronel Roque’s response. It’s amazing how Castro like dictators these Hudson County Mayors are.

    P.S. An Investigative report on what really went down in Guttenberg is needed. Cosmo gets a 100k job and then the Mayor resigns soon after. Sacco says “we picked Zitt” slip of the tongue at the intro/fundraiser for Zitt. Whats going on over there with connections to WNY/NB?

    • Thanks, we try to do as much beneath the surface type of coverage as possible but pulling documents takes time and it’s hard to balance with the day to day happenings. I thought this past week was a particularly good week from our perspective so hopefully a sign of things to come.

      I see what you’re saying, I am always keeping a finger on the pulse in Guttenberg as well so will be keeping everyone up to speed.

  2. Manny Diaz and his wife are paid 266000 dollars that’s the payback for taking the rap for drug trafficking. It’s only a matter of time before Gina Manny and Felix are in federal prison. West new york is destroyed by this scum

  3. What the article does not touch on is Manny’s wife, who is also pulling a hefty 160,000 salary from West New York. If you read the actual case accounts you will notice that Gina Diaz should have been charged as an accessory. The case accounts indicate many checks and transfers of funds were made under her name as well. Are we to really believe that she did not know what was going on?…They both have been rewarded with insanely high salaries by the WNY administration. As for Guttenberg, they are also giving her a nice salary for a no show job….

  4. The mayor’s response is completely insulting to every resident here in town. There are many town workers who are struggling to survive because they get paid so little and they are the ones busting their ass day in and day out. There is not even a current contract with the union workers. So to counter that they hire a guy with a criminal record and pay him over $110k. GREAT JOB! WAY TO SPIT IN THE FACES OF EVERY TOWN EMPLOYEE! This is a disgrace! 2019 can not come soon enough! I rather vote for Ronald Mcdonald than these clowns!

  5. This story is about the shenanigans of WNY and how Felix associates with criminals regularly. In fact, he surrounds himself with the them. The problem is WNYers don’t realize that with each new friend Felix brings on, it’s their services that are affected and depleted. You don’t think these people take low level non-supervisory positions do you? Hell no, they make mega money and clog the system with their “knowledge.” Decisions that should be made by the initial supervisors of the departments now have to get passed through Manny, Rich, Sue, town attorney and Felix but only if it benefits him. This wastes money and tim It wastes time and money just so that WNYers can get the services that they should have gotten all along.

    Are you complaining about the parks being dirty, don’t blame Commissioner Guzman, blame the ones mentioned above as they refuse to hire additional people. Complaining about snow removal and garbage, Don’t blame Commissioner Rodrigue, blame Acosta and the above people because they force Rodriguez to hire 70 year old Men who arent physically capable of doing the job. Wondering why the town offers less and less services, make Commissioner Colacurcio accountable for all the money she spends on vehicles, Veternarian fees and UNNECESSARY employee staffing and tell her to put the Towns money where her mouth is. Disgusted with the dog poop situation, well heck, that’s all Gina but don’t think that she will help you now that her husband is in charge. Unhappy with recreation, don’t blame Commissioner Cirillo, take it up with the above mentioned people because they block everything having to do with your kids and recreation. Are you worried and scared because of the lack of police patrols in WNY then make Felix and the above mentioned people accountable and tell them we’re not going to take it anymore.

    Remember, the money that pays these salaries is budgeted for other things but gets moved around like a checkers game to accommodate the hiring of thugs. Because that’s what most of them are. Then when Felix is done with them, he moves them out of that position but keeps them on the payroll at the escalated salary. And then the cycle happens all over again. And who suffers? WE DO.

    Just remember. This story is about Felix hiring another person to do what WE elected him to do. Think about all of the names of people that have been hired by Felix to do just that. Chief of Staff, Senior Advisor, call them what you want but make sure you realize they are doing for $100k plus, what Felix initially said he would do for free.

    And most importantly John, nice to see you back. Thought we lost you there for a moment. Don’t give up on WNY; still many more reports that can be done, still a lot of wrongdoing to be investigated. Still much more follow up to be done, if you’re willing.

    • Yea thanks, problem is not much has been happening in West New York lately. Commissioners and board of education meetings are down to about 3-7 non-employees in attendance per meeting and it’s an off year for the town since one of the few major municipalities without a major election, at least a competitive one (freeholder, commissioners, Senate, etc). Very rarely hear from West New Yorkers these days to be perfectly honest with you.

  6. West New York is a criminal enterprise run by the criminals at the top . We are not only the joke of the county but the entire state. I can’t believe Roque can make such dumb decisions , but as time goes on he gets worse . The Tax payers are stuck with him for now . John thanks for keeping the public informed .

  7. Roque is garbage – always was and always will be. And he surrounds himself with garbage. What decent person would want to be associated with him and his filthy administration? These commissioners who rubber stamp every illegal thing he does are spineless good for nothings.

    West New York reminds me of Washington DC. A lying loser with no intelligence at the helm, and being surrounded by lowlifes just like himself, who control the puppet strings. Disgusting.

  8. Your very good at calling people names, but man up and post your real name. That would be impressive Mr. Watchdog. Your probably don’t even have a job so you sit behind a computer and talk BS.

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