The Passaic Valley Water Fee this week authorized a promotion and $36,400 pay increase for a political ally of Passaic Mayor Hector Lora.
Luis. D. Rodriguez, who can be president of the Passaic Board of Training, was appointed to the fee’s newly created place of assistant director for organizational improvement and human assets with a wage of $138,000.
Rodriguez began work on the fee in 2017 in its customer support division and has been a personnel technician since 2019, in line with his resume. Previous to the promotion, his wage had been $101,600.
The fee has an annual price range of about $109 million, with greater than 200 staff, and supplies water to 800,000 clients in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris and Passaic counties.
Lora on Friday praised the promotion, saying he supported giving residents of the three cities that personal the fee — Clifton, Passaic and Paterson — “workplace” positions, as a substitute of solely giving such jobs to outsiders. Lora praised Rodriguez’s credentials.
“Your political involvement shouldn’t get you a job you’re not certified for,” Lora asserted, “but it surely shouldn’t preserve you from getting a place you might be certified for.”
Rodriguez’s resume mentioned he labored as a director in admissions at county-owned Preakness Healthcare Middle in Wayne from 2013 although 2016 and was employed by two medical administration companies and a monetary companies firm between 2009 and 2013. The resume doesn’t checklist any employment previous to that point.
Rodriguez graduated from Passaic Excessive Faculty in 1993, bought a bachelor’s diploma from Phoenix College in 2008 and is taking lessons at Rutgers College in Newark for his grasp’s diploma, in line with his resume.
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The fee members, who’re appointed by the mayors of Passaic, Paterson and Clifton, voted 5-2 in favor of Rodriguez’s promotion. One of many commissioners who opposed the appointment, Joseph Kolodziej of Clifton, expressed concern about political interference.
“If any commissioner serving on this board is prepared to give up their independence to their mayor as a result of they have been appointed by that mayor, then their lack of braveness is disappointing,” Kolodziej mentioned.
The commissioner from Clifton additionally mentioned he thought the wage given Rodriguez was too excessive and will harm morale amongst different administrators who’ve labored a few years for the fee and receives a commission much less cash. Kolodziej famous that among the many commissioners who voted in favor of the promotion was Ron Van Rensalier, who serves on the Passaic college board with Rodriguez.
Ruby Cotton, certainly one of three Paterson commissioners, mentioned she voted in favor of the promotion as a result of it was really helpful by the company’s new government director, Jim Mueller. The fee employed Mueller, a former chief engineer on the New York Metropolis Division of Environmental Safety final December at a wage of $300,000, making him one of many highest paid public staff in New Jersey.
Six different individuals utilized for the job that Rodriguez bought, in line with the fee.
“Rodriguez was really helpful for the Assistant Director place based mostly on his expertise, in depth historical past with the corporate, understanding of the present and expanded features of the division, familiarity with the PVWC group and its protocols, and the outcomes of the interviews,” mentioned fee spokesman Joseph Getz.
Joe Malinconico is editor of Paterson Press. E-mail: email@example.com