While touting the accomplishments of his new administration, West New York Mayor Felix Roque joked that his first four years in office were “terrible” during a fundraiser at La Reggia in Secaucus Friday night.
The packed house, which saw a big turn out from local law enforcement, saw Roque’s fellow commissioners welcome the crowd and thank them for their support.
Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (both D-32), a childhood friend of Roque who lived with him after they migrated to Hudson County from Cuba, also spoke highly of Roque’s accomplishments.
Before making his remarks, Roque asked to be joined by his commissioners, Police Director Robert Antolos and Superintendent of Schools Clara Brito Herrera to signify that they are all an important part of the West New York team.
After thanking Town Attorney Donald Scarinci for righting the ship during Roque’s tenure as mayor, the pain management specialist joked that his first term in office was “terrible.”
“I always say that the gentleman who gave me a lot of insight [said] ‘good government is good politics’ and he meant it and that’s Donald Scarinci. Hey Donald, thank you,” Roque said on Friday night.
“Believe me, I have learned, it hasn’t been easy … the first four years … was terrible. If you read about me you’ll say “oh my God.’ But anyway, I’m extremely happy. Having said that, I’m very happy, I’m blessed.”
Roque’s first four years were plagued by scandals and raucous board of commissioners meetings punctuated by a bitter feud with friend turned foe, then-Commissioner Count Wiley.
Nevertheless, Roque persevered last May and won re-election with a completely new slate of commissioners.
In turn, the public turmoil that residents and politicos alike had come to expect in West New York have all but disappeared in the past 13 months.
Political operative Joey Muniz served as the emcee for the evening.
Dignitaries in attendance included Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, West New York Freeholder Caridad Rodriguez (D-7), North Bergen Freeholder Anthony Vainieri (D-8), West New York Housing Authority Exec. Dir. Bob DiVincent, West New York Parking Authority Exec. Dir. Amiris Perez, West New York BOE Trustees Adam Parkinson, Damarys Gonzalez, David More, Jonathan Castaneda and Steven Rodas, former West New York Mayor Sal Vega and ex-West New York Freeholder Jose Munoz.