Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Saddle Brook Ex-Official Now $70,000 Aide to Paterson Mayor

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Saddle Brook Ex-Official Now $70,000 Aide to Paterson Mayor

Article excerpt

A former Saddle Brook councilman who played a prominent role in Paterson Mayor Joey Torres' election campaign last year has landed a $70,000 job as his aide.

Omar Rodriguez, who started on the city payroll on March 30, fills a position that had been a source of controversy in Paterson when Jeffery Jones, then the mayor, named Charles Pettiford as his chief of staff at a salary of $105,000.

The position did not exist in city government before Pettiford's hiring, officials said. Pettiford's title later was changed from chief of staff to mayor's aide, and his salary reduced to $90,000, before he was fired by the City Council following its 2011 hearings into the City Hall overtime scandal.

Torres said he intended to hire an aide sooner but needed to wait for state approval. Rodriguez will perform the duties handled by paid deputy mayors in New Jersey's other major cities, the mayor said.

"If I were to describe his job in one word, it would be expediter," ensuring that the mayor's orders are executed properly, Torres said.

Rodriguez would stand in for him at meetings or events that he could not attend, Torres said. The mayor has appointed three deputy mayors, but they are unpaid, largely ceremonial positions.

Rodriguez's last job was as community outreach coordinator for the New Jersey Community Development Corp., a non-profit organization, where he worked from November 2012 to August 2013, according to his resume.

He worked from 2006 to 2010 as chief administrator at the Lodi office of the state Motor Vehicle Commission and from 1991 to 2006 as comptroller at City Tours USA in East Rutherford, his resume says. He was a councilman from 2003 until 2010.

A bachelor's degree or three years' experience in a management position is listed in the mayor's aide job requirements. Rodriguez's resume says he attended the University of Science and Health in Lima, Peru, for three years. …

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