WEST NEW YORK – “When it’s your shot, it’s your shot,” West New York Commissioner Count Wiley said Sept. 13 night at the Knights of Columbus on 60th Street, just blocks from Town Hall. Around 100 residents gathered that night for a hot dog and to hear what he had to say.
Wiley had already announced his intention to run a recall election against his former ally, Mayor Felix Roque, who was arrested this past spring. Wiley then plans to run for mayor.
Wiley has invested $50,000 of his own money into his campaign, which also paid for the hot dogs.
“I’m here to announce the total recall,” Wiley continued. “I didn’t quit on you, West New York, so don’t quit on me!”
One couldn’t help a feeling of deja vu that evening, since the commissioner once helped current Mayor Felix Roque attempt to hold a recall election against former Mayor Sal Vega.
This time, his campaign was aimed against the mayor he once stood solidly behind.
Wiley had spent the past 10 years working as a chiropractor until Roque called upon him to take a stand against the Vega administration in 2010. While the recall election failed on a technicality, their slate took the office by storm in the May 2011 election.
However, little more than a year later, things changed again. In May 2012, Roque and his son Joseph were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on charges of allegedly hacking into a website politically opposed to the mayor, and the two were formally indicted in mid-August.
The matter has led many town officials and residents to lose faith in their mayor as loyalties are tested, a series of raucous and dramatic commissioners’ meetings continue to ensue, and people vie for power and the favor of a now-divided administration.
In June, Roque and the majority of the five-member board voted to reassign each commissioner to a new department, removing Wiley from the Department of Public Works, which was when he formally decided to attempt a recall election.
“This is not an opportunity for me,” Wiley said Thursday night. “This is an opportunity to change the future of West New York for you.”
Meanwhile, not all was rosey for Wiley last week, as his father, James Wiley, was arrested in connection with a job in North Bergen. For more details, come back to hudsonreporter.com this Sunday and scroll to the bottom. -- Gennarose Pope