As Hudson County politics become volatile ahead of next year’s county executive race, three West New York officials fired warning shots at Mayor Felix Roque and Commissioner Sue Colacurcio at last night’s meeting.
Earlier this week, three of the five commissioner sitting upon the dais endorsed Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise for re-election, while Roque has backed Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop/state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack’s team to replace him.
Those facts seemed particularly evident just minutes into last evening’s West New York Board of Commissioners meeting.
“There’s a motion to replace Commissioner Colacurcio in the Department of Revenue and Finance with Commissioner Rodriguez,” Department of Public Affairs Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo said to Corporation Counsel Donald Scarinci about a possible add-on resolution.
“That’s what this resolution is,” chimed in Department of Public Works Commissioner Gabriel Rodriguez.
A visibly annoyed Scarinci responded that it would be “illegal” to introduce this type of legislative action on a whim.
“There’s a requirement … so, you can do it, call a special meeting after we’ve had time to prepare … if you do it now, it’s an illegal resolution,” corporation counsel asserted.
Following Scarinci’s advice, Roque implored his colleagues not to call a vote on this matter yet.
“We don’t want to do an illegal resolution, so what I recommend, is if there is a change to be made, we can wait ’til the next town meeting and do it.”
However, Cirillo and Rodriguez weren’t convinced, with the latter making a motion and the former seconding that motion.
Both the vote to make Rodriguez the Commissioner of Revenue and Finance and the vote to make Colacurcio, who has not weighed in on the county executive race, the Commissioner of DPW passed by a tally of 1-3(1), with Colacurcio voting no and Roque abstaining.
Afterwards, the mayor seemed perplexed as to what just happened, since it was not mentioned during closed session.
“This is something that if you would’ve brought it up to our attention, we would’ve voted on it. So it’s well-taken your concern, we have to do what’s in the best interests of the town … and nothing that is illegal, thank you.”
While it remains up in the air whether those votes will stand, Roque got kicked while he was down as the board voted down re-appointing Armando Alvarez, an ally of the mayor, to the local parking authority board – where he currently serves as vice chairman.
The measure failed 2-3, with Cirillo, Rodriguez and Commissioner of Cultural Affairs/Parks and Public Property Margarita Guzman voting no, again prompting a response from Roque.
“What I really would appreciate, next time, if you guys have a question beforehand, please come to me: we can be decent and talk about it.”
After the meeting, Scarinci appeared fit to be tied, having a lengthy discussion with Cirillo, Rodriguez and Guzman that went on for at least a half hour after the session had been adjourned.
Speaking with Hudson County View afterwards, Roque had nothing bad to say about any of his fellow commissioners and stated that didn’t blame anything that transpired on politics.
“This is government, strictly government, we don’t play politics here. And again, I have a lot of respect for all my commissioners, whatever they decide to go, as far as political, I’m okay with it.”
Roque’s full interview can be seen below: