At Paterson Council Forum, Morris Takes Stock Of His Potential Successors

Last night, thirteen out of the fourteen council-at-large candidates in Paterson gathered for a three-hour long forum.  By Paterson standards, and in comparison to the mayoral forum last week, it was a mostly polite event that had the candidates praising the dynamics of the field.

Jeff Jones

Mayor Jeff Jones was in attendance, among the many activists and campaign operatives who hovered in the back and along the walls.  Council President – and former Mayor for one week Ruby Cotton and husband former Councilman Ed Cotton was there; both are supporting Andre Sayegh for mayor.  Mayoral candidate and 1st Ward Councilman Mike Jackson came through.

Councilman Ken Morris entered the room halfway through the forum.  The outgoing councilman opted against pursuing another term this year, to the disappointment of many Paterson community leaders who considered the veteran incumbent a primary voice of reason and fiscal sanity on the Council.

Debate organizers had handed out index cards for audience questions.  Morris had one, regarding the the city’s current bonding capacity being at its lowest level ever and how will the candidates address the bonding capacity without raising the debt level.

Morris’ question wasn’t used, but it brought to mind a 2014 debate where candidates were able to ask questions of their opponents, Morris – widely regarded as a municipal finance and budget expert – asked such complex questions it prompted at least one candidate to bemoan the fact that the questions weren’t fair because they weren’t as knowledgeable as him on municipal finance and budget issues, as they struggled to adequately answer the questions.


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