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Fulop ally set to hire daughter as $15K-a-year aide
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2013/4/22 23:08
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2015/3/10 21:37
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One of Jersey City?s incoming City Councilwomen is planning to hire her daughter to work in her council office, a job that comes with a $15,000 annual salary plus benefits and pension credits.

The Rev. Joyce Watterman, who became an at-large member of the council yesterday, wants to tap her daughter Jennifer to be her aide. A City Hall source said the move surprised some allies of Mayor Steve Fulop, who delivered an inaugural address yesterday pledging to run an effective, corruption-free City Hall.

"If it's not against the law, I'm definitely thinking about that," Watterman said in a phone interview. "If she weren't a hard worker, I wouldn't even think about it."

Watterman, 55, is pastor at the Continuous Flow Christian Center on Monticello Avenue. A newbie to local politics, she was the top vote-getter both in the May 14 municipal race and the June 11 runoff election.

Her daughter, 30, has administrative experience working for a company scooped up by, Watterman said. Plus, she managed Watterman?s scheduling during her successful council run, the councilwoman said.

"We need people who produce," she said, adding that she doesn't "have the time" to train someone to get up to speed.

Jersey City council members hiring family members as aides is a time-honored tradition. Former Ward D Councilman Bill Gaughan?s daughter was his aide for a decade until last year, when she stepped down and Gaughan hired his other daughter to replace her.

The late Willie Flood, an at-large council member for almost six years before her death in April 2012, tapped her son to run her council office, while former Councilwoman at large Viola Richardson?s aide was her cousin by marriage.

But Fulop ran on a campaign of reform, pledging to root out corruption and patronage excess. Watterman picking her daughter ?shocked? some on the Fulop team, according to one source.

?Really not a good start,? the source said.

Councilman at large Rolando Lavarro, a Fulop ally who was reelected this year and was appointed council president yesterday, abstained from the July 2012 vote appointing Gaughan?s daughter as his aide. At the time, Lavarro said he abstained from voting because he didn?t want to ?encourage nepotism.?

Asked to comment about Watterman?s choice, Lavarro said hiring a family member ?is not the approach I would take." But Lavarro said it?s difficult to find someone to do all the work of a council aide on $15,000 a year.

?It?s their decision, at the end of the day,? he said, adding that he believes Jennifer Watterman is ?qualified? for the job.

The council is expected to approve all its members' aides on Wednesday, July 17. ... ar_aide.html#incart_river

Posted on: 2013/7/2 16:41

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