In an exclusive interview with the Jersey City Reporter last week, Flood spoke about hiring her son Philip Jr. for the $38,000 position of computer analyst in the Hudson County Registrar's Office - with his mother as his boss - and as a City Council aide to his mother at $15,000.
But Philip Flood Jr. may not have been the best job recipient, as he was arrested last year for allegedly selling marijuana out of his mother's Mercedes-Benz at Wayne and Barrow streets in downtown Jersey City. He was also accused in 2006 by state officials of having illegally collected $13,000 in unemployment insurance while working.
Philip Jr. stepped down from the council aide's post in January, but still works at the county job.
Last month, the Mercedes-Benz that Philip Jr. was driving was impounded for having expired temporary tags and being parked in front of a hydrant.
Last week, Flood took issue with a report done by Fox News investigative reporter Arnold Diaz in January, spotlighting her son's dual job holding. She also responded last week to negative comments from her colleague, downtown Jersey City Councilman Steven Fulop, on the issue.
Fulop, who was also interviewed by Diaz, has called for Flood's son to relinquish both jobs.
Flood said she believes Fulop was the person who contacted Diaz about doing the story, but Fulop denied that he was responsible when interviewed recently. Fulop is a likely candidate for mayor next year.
Flood has served on the City Council since 2005.Why she did it
In Arnold Diaz's report, he was shown chasing Flood and her son through City Hall, down the back stairs leading into the parking lot behind City Hall, and then to her car with Philip Flood driving away.
At the time, the councilwoman refused to give Diaz a comment.
Last week, Flood said that in retrospect, she probably would have given Diaz a comment or even a "no comment," but she didn't think that her "answers would have satisfied him."
Flood added, "He already knew what he wanted to do, which is to try to bring down my family." Watched with family
Flood said she watched Diaz's report when it was broadcast, along with her husband Philip Sr. and son Philip Jr.
"I found myself being critical of myself while watching the show," Flood said. "I would never run from a camera again, and I would walk slowly and I would act natural. I wasn't feeling well and it was raining."
When asked why she didn't just hire her son for one job or none at all, Flood defended her son's qualifications for the county post by saying he received computer training at Delaware State University and at a specialized school, the name of which she could not remember.
She hired him for the council post because he simply offered his services at a time when she was without an aide, she said.
Flood also pointed out that the City Council had to vote to approve the hiring of her son before she brought him on as aide, and could have chosen not to approve. The City Council, with the exception of Steven Fulop (who abstained from voting), voted 8-0 in favor of the hiring.
She said that, at first, she couldn't understand why Fulop would be opposed.
"This City Council, we all look out for each other, and they have been very supportive of me through this ordeal," Flood said. "I am not sure why Mr. Fulop did this, but I don't think he understood why I did it since he does not have children of his own."
As she was about to comment further, Flood started to cry and paused for a moment before composing herself and continuing.
"I have been fortunate that mothers have come up to me and said they would have done the same thing I did." Why he is opposed
Fulop, a young politician on the rise, said last week that his criticism of Flood hiring her son was not a personal attack on her as much as his continued public railing against the common practices of dual job holding and nepotism that exists in Jersey City and Hudson County government.
He is currently leading a petition drive to get two referenda on the ballot for the November general election, one of which would prevent elected officials or government employees from collecting more than one taxpayer-financed salary. The other would make it illegal for a developer or contractor that does business with the city to make a political contribution to a candidate for a one-year period.
"I spoke at length to Arnold Diaz about not just Willie Flood but also the way government runs around here, which is hurting the taxpayers," Fulop said. "As I commented in the interview, if the citizens knew what was going on in City Hall, they would be coming here with pitchforks."
When asked if he contacted Diaz, Fulop denied that he did. However, he said he would have done so if he'd thought of it first.
Fulop was the target of a previous Diaz segment in June 2006 dealing with access for military veterans to the Korean War Memorial at the southern end of Washington Street in downtown Jersey City.
Fulop said, of Flood Jr., "[He] is out of one job, and he has one to go." Comments on this story can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.