In Paterson, Where have All the Veterans Gone?
In 2007, the Paterson City Council contained a squad of formidable veterans, including Ken Morris, Jr., Vera Ames-Garnes, Tom Rooney, Jeff Jones, Aslon Goow, and Bill McKoy.
Of that group – and granted Rooney was from a different era even then and set to retire – only Jones would go on to be mayor (a single termer). By 2020, only McKoy remained on the governing body.
Last night, he went down, suffering a defeat to former At-Large Councilman Alex Mendez. It was not an insignificant moment. His loss means that now eight of nine councilmembers – 89% – have been in office six years or less – or 36 years combined experience, an average of four years each. Councilwoman Ruby Cotton has the most experience at this point, with eight years under her belt. That’s how many years McKoy had served in 2008, but again, he had the reinforcement of those aforementioned veteran colleagues.
Referring to last night and McKoy’s loss in particular, “Ultimately, the city has moved on from that generation of leadership,” said one city source.