Perth Amboy Reorganization Meeting 1/3/17
By: Katherine Massopust
PERTH AMBOY – After the Inaugural Ceremony, a City Council Reorganization Meeting held at the auditorium at the Perth Amboy YMCA. It was called to order at 7:38 p.m.
Fernando Gonzalez nominated Joel Pabon as Council President. No second was made. Fernando Irizarry nominated William Petrick as President. The motion was seconded by Jelmin Caba.
City Clerk Elaine Jasko stated no second is needed to be nominated as City Council President. First the vote on the table was for Joel Pabon. Joel Pabon and Fernando Gonzalez voted “yes.” Jelmin Caba, William Petrick and Fernando Irizarry voted “no.” The vote for William Petrick was then placed on the table. Everyone then voted “yes,” and William Petrick was elected Council President.
No one spoke during the first public portion on agenda items only. All four resolutions passed unanimously.
During the second public portion, Woodbridge Resident Karen Varela came up to speak. She stated that she has been active in many organizations in Perth Amboy and questioned why the people who frequent Council Meetings do not contribute in a positive manner to Perth Amboy and always are criticizing the administration and the Council.
Perth Amboy Resident and former Councilman Ken Balut came up to speak about the Acting Law Director Louis Rainone who was not present. Ronald Gordon of the DeCotiis Law Firm was substituting for him. “Is it a 90 day appointment or a year appointment?” Balut asked.
B.A. Adam Cruz stated, “The appointment was submitted to the clerk earlier today (1/3/17). It’s a 90 day appointment.”
Council President Bill Petrick stated, “It’s not on the agenda and it’s not a violation.”
City Clerk Elaine Jasko stated, “It’s not on the agenda and it’s a 90 day appointment.” She stated she needs time to put it on the agenda and it was not submitted until earlier in the day.
Substitute Law Director Ronald Gordon stated, “The (old) Attorney serves until a replacement is approved and voted upon.”
Councilman Fernando Gonzalez stated, “Rainone should be here. We don’t have an attorney officially. Do we have to appoint retroactively?”
Gordon answered the question, “We are not breaking the law. Until you appoint a replacement, the old attorney holds the right to serve as Law Director. I am acting as a substitute.”
Balut stated, “It should be on the agenda.”
Elaine Jasko then answered Balut’s concerns, “We couldn’t add this because it’s a special meeting. I need 48 hours’ notice to put it on the agenda.”
“You didn’t have 48 hours’ notice. The Mayor waits to the last minute to make an appointment.”
Resident David Caba spoke next. “I would like to congratulate my cousin, Jelmin, the first Dominican Councilman and Mr. Petrick for being elected Council President. I’ve been fighting City Hall since 1992. I’m not going to be in photo ops. I don’t do things for recognition. She (Varela) offended a lot of us. There’s nothing perfect – Our Mayor said it! You have to give credit to the people that come up here. It’s because they really care. Not everything is perfect. It’s about making the City of Perth Amboy better. My heart is here.”
Resident Alan Silber spoke next. “I go to most City Council Meetings. As far as I know, after 90 days, she (the Mayor) has another 45 days to nominate an Attorney. Today we have an alternate. Council President Petrick, I hope we all get along. Vote your conscience. Be part of the legislative body.”
Resident Dorothy Daniel spoke next. “Please, all of you learn Faulkner Plan B. If you see some of the people of the governing body, get someone to train you. I’m looking forward to four good years of peace and serenity. I respect all of you and want the best for all of you. In absence of order there is chaos.”
Resident Reinaldo Aviles was the last person to speak. “I had the honor to act as a challenger for Mr. Caba. I noticed a couple of things with poll workers. Poll workers have a lot of issues with names. Some were asking for ID’s, mostly to read names. When I was at Patten School, there were representatives from the Attorney General’s Office interviewing poll workers. Lots of poll workers don’t speak Spanish. I’m convinced that’s a problem. The job should be split into two shifts. They have to be there 5:30 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. A lot of poll workers are seniors and a 16 hour day is too long of a time. This needs to be looked into.”
The meeting was adjourned at 8:17 p.m. The next Caucus is 1/9/17 at 4:30 p.m. and the next regular meeting is 1/11/17 at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.