Paterson mayor Joe "Joey" Torres resigned from his position effective at 9 a.m. this morning, The Record reports, after pleading guilty to corruption charges. Paterson City Council President Ruby Cotton is now interim mayor. The Associated Presssays Torres and three city public works officials were charged with conspiring to have city officials work overtime at a warehouse leased by Torres' family.
NJ TRANSIT HAS SPENT MILLIONS ON EMPTY OFFICE SPACE
NJ Transit has spent nearly $5 million since 2015 to lease and renovate a vacant floor in its headquarters in Newark. The Record says the agency is now poised to spend millions more to purchase the empty floor at Two Penn Plaza East to house employees working on storm resiliency projects and positive train control. The move has some are asking why permanent space is needed for temporary projects, especially considering the ongoing financial crunch the agency faces.
LOCAL OFFICIALS PUSH FOR EXTENSION OF CAP TO CONTROL COSTS
City and county officials in New Jersey are calling on the state legislature to extend rules that limit salary increases for police and firefighter contracts that are settled in arbitration. WBGO says the 2 percent limit expires at the end of the year, and municipal officials are concerned that they will have to make some tough choices if the cap is not extended. Democratic lawmakers say they want to wait for a task force report on the issue to come out before making their decision.
NJEA FLEXES ITS MUSCLES, TAKES ON SWEENEY
The New Jersey Education Association commands one of the most powerful presences in all of New Jersey politics, and it has its sights set on the state senate's most powerful member – President Steve Sweeney. NJ Spotlight says the NJEA is taking on Sweeney for his position on public-employee pensions and school funding, especially after he refused to put a question on the ballot that would have enacted a constitutional amendment requiring the state to quickly ramp up funding for public-employee pensions in keeping with actuarial calculations.
NJ TRANSIT FACING STAFF CRISIS THAT COULD MEAN MORE DELAYS
NJ Transit has been losing one locomotive engineer a month to New York's Metro-North railroad since March. An investigation by The Record revealed that the staffing crisis could result in more canceled trains and more delays for commuters, and it may take two years to replace train engineers who have left the agency. Meanwhile, the agency continues to face challenges on many other fronts, including fiscal, operational, and safety problems.