As the infighting between West New York elected officials continues to escalate, the emboldened opposition of Mayor Felix Roque took control of the housing authority board last week.
“ This individual, I never had the opportunity to meet him before, that’s why I’m not interested in voting on this,” Roque said at Thursday’s board of commissioners meeting.
The mayor was visibly annoyed at the fact that Public Affairs Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo introduced an add-on resolution to appoint Nereyda Reyes to the housing authority.
“Mayor, this is not politics, it’s good government,” Cirillo chimed in.
The seven-person board, chaired by Adam Parkinson, also the president of the local board of education, appeared to be one of the only volunteer boards in town where Roque had maintained a majority of supporters.
However, the tides have turned in light of Roque backing state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop to oust Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise.
Since then, Roque has seen police escorts for elected officials banned, he can no longer sign off on the town payroll and the process for promoting and hiring Town Hall employees has been made more rigorous.
Despite those facts, Roque only expressed public disappointment over never receiving the opportunity to meet Reyes.
“I’m sure she’s a phenomenal person if they’re recommending her, but I didn’t get to meet her. It’s kind of disrespectful of the commissioners – in this case I’m looking at Cosmo Cirillo – for doing this,” Roque exclaimed.
“It is what it is, but we need to keep practicing good government and this is not good government.”
Cirillo of course took exception to that characterization.
“I can tell you that there have been a number of times I’ve been very respectful of you when you asked me to support causes that I didn’t put before this board and it’s exactly the same thing right here,” he responded.
“These people are qualified to serve and this is about doing the right thing for the residents of West New York.”
The measure, as well as a subsequent one appointing Douglas Velasquez to the WNYHA (replacing Jose Alcantara), passed by a vote of 3-2, with Roque and Department of Public Works Commissioner Sue Colacurcio voting no.
With the new additions, Roque more than likely lost the majority on the WNYHA, where longtime administration critic Ron Scheurle has a seat at the table.
However, Parkinson has largely avoided any intra-party warfare at this point – though many believe he is supportive of U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) and Aida Roque, the mayor’s sister, remains the vice chair of the board – for now.