WEST NEW YORK AND BEYOND – Mayor Felix Roque lost his seat as chair of the West New York Democratic Party Committee to Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez Monday night by a vote of 44 to 10.
The reorganization meeting came after last Tuesday’s primary election, during which the slate backed by the county’s political group, Hudson County Democratic Organization, won 44 committee seats over Roque’s “Together We Can” slate, which won 14. Five seats were uncontested.
“We were taken off the line by [HCDO Chairman] Mark Smith in retaliation for my endorsement of Republican state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos,” Roque told the Reporter Tuesday morning. “I’m not concerned because there is no power in the title, and this is all a process. I wish Angelica luck, and next year I’ll take it back.” Roque had aroused local Democratic ire earlier this year when he supported Kyrillos over U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez. In March, he reversed his endorsement and supported Menendez after receiving pressure from residents and with their best interest in mind, he said.
Roque was arrested by the FBI three weeks ago on charges related to computer hacking, but has not stepped down from the mayoralty.
Jimenez’s chief of staff Cosmo Cirillo was voted in as the committee’s treasurer. Cirillo, the former president of the West New York Board of Education, was voted off that board last November three to five by fellow trustees after the NJ Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Outside Activities of Judiciary Employees found his full-time job as a clerk with the town’s municipal court conflicted with his board membership.
Roque spearheaded the campaign to have Cirillo, an ally of former mayor Sal Vega, removed from the board.
“I’m very excited about these changes,” Cirillo told the Reporter Tuesday morning. “I think it’s a great start, and that we’re finally moving forward to unite the democratic party in West New York.” -- Gennarose Pope