At caucus meeting, Jersey City Council pumps the brakes on naming new tax collector

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The Jersey City Council withdrew a resolution to name a new tax collector, with a few members voicing concerns about making a hasty appointment.

Lacey Tax Collector Trish Greco (left) and Jersey City Tax Collector Joanne Sisk. Screenshot via Jersey City TV.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

Trisha Greco noted she worked for the city for 19 years before leaving in 2016 to become the tax collector in Lacey Township in Ocean County and has held that position for over five years.

Current Task Collector Joanne Sisk said that she will be retiring on March 31st and that Greco is her “hand picked” replacement.

Business Administrator John Metro noted Greco applied for the position and has expertise in tax PILOT programs, of which Jersey City has many. He added the position requires a special license, which shrinks the applicant pool.

“There’s no one in the office to move up the ladder? I believe in promoting within,” asked Council President Joyce Watterman.

Metro said only one other employee in the department holds the proper certification.

“I would never recruit a rookie to come into Jersey City to hold the office of certified tax collector. I ask you to respect my expertise: The employees who could hold the position are just not qualified and just not ready,” Sisk answered.

“The BA said there’s one that can apply, I’m just trying to be fair now,” Watterman replied.

Sisk then said that two people have the certification necessary, though both have said they do not want to be the tax collector.

Ward F Councilman Frank “Educational” Gilmore also expressed some reservations, asking how working for Lacey compared to Jersey City.

Greco reiterated that she worked for the city for 19 years and that Lacey and Jersey City use a lot of the same programs and software.

“I would really like the option to sit and speak [to the applicants], it’s nothing against you,” Gilmore stated.

Watterman offered to have the item moved to the next council meeting.

“Knowing the number of issues we have had with this department … I want to move very cautiously and methodically and making sure we get the right person in the job,” added Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, who also said she had heard good things about Greco.

She continued that given the disruptive nature of COVID-19, which adversely affects some people’s ability to pay their taxes, it’s a sensitive department.

The resolution would’ve appointed Greco to the role for four years, but that vote will now be delayed until at least the end of the month.

Prinz-Arey also questioned how Greco could take on an acting role if the resolution called for a four-year term.

“At this time, Director Sisk has the title, when the council considers this, she would give the title up and become a regular management employee until retirement and the new director would serve at that title,” Metro said.

“The four year piece of it is that it mirrors [other] directors: the term would be four years expiring with the mayor.”

Shortly thereafter, he agreed that it would make sense to revisit the appointment at the next meeting, with a caucus set for January 24th.

Yesterday’s caucus meeting was the first one held in council chambers since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020, where there was some dialogue about amending cannabis rules and regulations.

Tomorrow’s Jersey City Council meeting is again scheduled to meet in person tomorrow at 6 p.m.

 

Editor’s note: Chief news correspondent John Heinis contributed to this report. 

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