WEST NEW YORK – During a highly charged and vocal noon commissioners’ meeting held at West New York Town Hall Wednesday, Mayor Felix Roque and the board voted 4-1 to reassign each of the five town commissioners to a new department. At least one commissioner was unhappy with his new role.
Commissioner Count Wiley, who was moved from Public Works to the Parks and Public Property Department, was the only member who was opposed to what Roque termed an endeavor in “cross-training.” Wiley was an ally of Roque, but is now being seen as a potential replacement if Roque is forced to step down from the mayoralty due to federal charges of computer hacking (see links to related stories below).
Before the reorganization vote was held, Wiley removed his town pin from his lapel and stepped down from his commissioner seat to address the crowd. “I was proud to wear this pin at one time,” he said. “I’m going to step down here because I’m one of the people.”
He went on to express his disappointment in the administration – specifically in Roque.
After town attorney Gilberto Garcia interrupted Wiley to yell, “You’re misleading the audience,” assistant town attorney Joe DeMarco called a five-minute recess during which Wiley refused to stop speaking, prompting police officers to convene and calm him down.
The meeting was then called back into session and held behind a wall of police. Wiley continued to address the audience. The commissioner eventually sat back down in his chair.
Among the changes, Commissioner FiorD’Aliza Frias took control of the Revenue and Finance Department. This position places Frias next in line for the mayoralty should Roque be forced to step down.
Toward the end of the meeting, former Board of Education President Cosmo Cirillo, a young political opponent of Roque, called for Roque to step down.
“I just want to say that I think it’s a shame what you’ve done to this town, not only for Hudson County, but in the state of New Jersey you’ve made West New York a laughing stock,” Cirillo said. “I think you should be ashamed for yourself for what you have done, and I’m going to publically call on you to step down and move aside.”
“I am happy to see Mr. Cirillo getting involved in town matters now,” Roque responded. “Instead of fighting the town like you’ve been trying to do, let’s fix it and make it better, Mr. Cirillo, because that’s what this is all about.”
Some other notable audience members were former town construction official Tom O’Malley, who is currently suing the town for alleged unlawful termination, former town attorney Julio Morejon, and retired private investigator Carlos Betancourt whom confidential sources say has his sights set on the mayoralty.
For more information on the meeting, read this weekend’s addition of the Reporter. -- Gennarose Pope