Last night’s West New York Board of Commissioners meeting was a complete and total debacle, where things went south after add-on resolutions switched several commissioners’ departments – a move that Mayor Felix Roque didn’t take laying down.
“A man with no experience now wants to jump from DPW, to revenue and finance, and now to be the director of the police department – I find that a little disgraceful and distasteful commissioner,” Roque began as last night’s meeting began to devolve into chaos.
“I don’t think you have the brains or the mental attitude to do this. You’re playing into a political realm commissioner and you’re gonna hurt the taxpayers badly … Being in charge of the police department, you have to have a backbone – you don’t have a backbone my friend.”
Furthermore, the mayor had no interest in keeping things PG when addressing the challenges of his re-election bid in May.
“At the end of the day, eight years ago, I won against Sal Vega. I changed the corruption and the bull**** happening in this town and I gotta tell you: I got from now ’til May to make sure you, Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo and Commissioner Guzman – who betrayed me – I’ll say that again: who betrayed me and the people of West New York – I’m gonna be up your ass.”
Roque was fit to be tied after Rodriguez introduced add-on resolutions that put the latter in charge of the Department of Public Safety, with the mayor being moved to the Department of Cultural Affairs and Parks and Public Property – the same fate that befell former Commissioner and Roque opponent Count Wiley five-and-a-half years ago.
Additionally, Guzman was made the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue and Finance, where Rodriguez had been operating the past several months.
All of those measures passed by a vote of 3-2, with Roque and Commissioner Susan Colacurcio voting no.
Rodriguez also didn’t have a problem speaking his mind before it was all said and done.
“When I was at DPW, tirelessly you told me how great of a job I did at DPW. So now you’re saying I did not do a great job: which one is it?,” Rodriguez asked.
“I’m not finished mayor: you talked, you cursed, you showed that you have no class,” the commissioner said before being cut off.
“You have no class. I’ll tell you what, right now: whenever you want to talk man to man, we’ll do it,” the mayor interjected.
“I don’t need to talk man to man to you, the problem is you waiver every single day, the town suffers and enough is enough,” Rodriguez exclaimed back.
Roque continued to swing wildly, calling Rodriguez “a puppet” for U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) and vowing that things would change in May.
Israel Rodriguez, Gabriel’s father, entered the fray as well and appeared delighted to stand and trade with Roque.
“He wants to make it appear as if my son, who had been doing a great job – he admits it himself – in the DPW, in the finance, and now he’s moving on. Do you think you can do a better job than anyone sitting here Mr. Roque? It’s a question: yes or no,” Israel Rodriguez stated.
“Your family makes $500,000: you, your wife, your daughter, him at the board of ed making over $500,000,” Roque shot back.
” … How about all those people you have hired in the past few years, who make the big bucks, for no reason at all?,” Israel Rodriguez added in the midst of the shouting match.
Roque continued to go in, calling the elder Rodriguez “a leech,” with the retired school administrator yelling back “I support my son – unlike some people.”
The full meeting streamed live on our Facebook page and can be viewed below: