What to Know
- Paterson Mayor Joey Torres and three city workers were hit with corruption charges this month
- Torres has been the subject of months of I-Team reporting on city workers allegedly doing private jobs for him
- Torres released a statement earlier this month saying, "I fully intend to vigorously defend myself against these allegations"
A city council resolution calling for Paterson Mayor Joey Torres to resign failed to pass during a noisy hearing at city hall Tuesday night.
By a vote of 6-2 with one abstention, council members voted against the symbolic measure that would have called for the mayor’s resignation.
Mayor Torres has been indicted on state corruption charges and is also under federal criminal investigation for possible misuse of federal grant money. He has denied any wrongdoing.
In voting against the “no confidence” measure, several council members said they would not support calling for Mayor Torres’ ouster unless he is convicted in court.
Some protesters wearing “Believe in Torres” t-shirts, carrying signs and chanting “Torres” were escorted out of city hall during the hearing.
Residents took turns speaking out at the crowded session. Some said the mayor has to resign for the good of the city while others said now is not the time to pass a symbolic resolution.
The resolution was proposed after the Mayor and three DPW supervisors were charged with corruption earlier this month. They allegedly improperly billed taxpayers for private work done at a business belonging to the mayor’s relatives.
City activist Ernest Rucker told the council the city is “under a dark cloud” while voicing support for the resolution. But councilwoman Maritza Davila said she would oppose the resolution because it has no practical effect and would only bring additional bad publicity to Paterson.
Council members Ken Morris Jr., Shahin Khalique, Domingo “Alex” Mendez, Luis Velez and Michael Jackson also voted against the “no confidence” resolution.
Council President William McKoy and Andre Sayegh voted in favor. Sayegh pointed out city summer programs were shut down due to budget cuts at a time money was allegedly being stolen from taxpayers.
Councilwoman Ruby Cotton abstained.
Mayor Torres has said he has no intention of stepping down as he fights the criminal charges.