The hiring practices of the Jersey City Recreation Department’s “Stop the Drop” anti-litter program were called into question during an energized council meeting that will be remembered for the support given to Councilman Daniel Rivera in light of recent political attacks.
A regular meeting of the Jersey City Council was more spirited than usual following the circulation of a racially charged flyer accusing Councilman Daniel Rivera of “NOT supporting the BLACK YOUTH of Jersey City.”
A large group of residents, from both the Latino and black communities, spoke and held signs in support of Rivera amid controversy that stems from the labor practices of the Jersey City Recreation Department.
At the previous council meeting, recreation department employee Andrew Andrade alleged that the department was discriminating against non-African Americans.
Ward D Councilman Michael Yun cited information provided to him regarding the racial breakdown of hires from the ‘Stop the Drop’ anti-litter program – which were 62% black, 24% Hispanic, 2% white, 1% Asian, and the rest other or unknown – as well as the breakdown by ward.
Yun added that if “the issue is not corrected” he would bring a resolution at the next council meeting demanding a change of leadership at the recreation department.
Matthis Sharpless – who spoke as a “proxy” for recreation director Ryan Strother and was a coordinator for the “Stop the Drop” program – defended Strother and the hiring process of the program.
Sharpless also accused “outsiders” of being behind the racially charged flyer, to the dismay of many in the crowd.
At the end of the meeting Rivera thanked all those who came out to support him and said, “no weapon formed against him shall prosper.”