Letter to the Editor from Joan Palermo – West New York Board of Education Trustee

The Commissioners meeting on Wednesday, February 19, 2014, was a shameful illustration of the dictatorship that is the current governing body of West New York.

Before a packed room of residents, most of whom attended to voice their objections to Resolution # 20, which proposed to move the School Board Election from April to November of this year, the mayor, supported by town attorney Gil Garcia, refused to let the citizens be heard prior to voting on the resolution. This was met by an angry verbal protest from outraged citizens who are fed up with the mayor’s bullying and lack of respect for the law and the people.

The purported reasons for moving the election to November were the cost of an April election and the claim that more voters would come out to vote in November. The credibility of these reasons is, of course, undercut by Roque’s history of squandering taxpayers’ money on illegal and unnecessary jobs and perks for his cronies without concern for the cost to the people, and his lack of interest in collecting the $1m in fines owed by his friend Acosta for his illegal residential conversion. And since Roque did precious little to publicize the January school board election and make citizens aware of it, his sudden desire to have more people come out to vote is disingenuous.

Everyone knows that Roque’s only reason for wanting to move the election to November is to keep his appointees in office for another year and thereby maintain control of the school board – in complete contravention of the will of the people who voted overwhelmingly for an elected school board. The resolution was opposed only by Commissioner Wylie, who asked that it be removed from the consent agenda – which was refused – and who expressed the feelings of many in the audience, as stated above.

While moving the election to November is financially advantageous and should be done as early as next year, at the present time it is simply wrong, for doing so delays the implementation of the people’s referendum for almost a year. Even assuming the mayor’s reasons were to be believed, the will of the people and the democratic process must not be subjugated to less important considerations such as money. Democracy must never be impeded, even for the most worthy of reasons, and certainly not to serve the political and personal interests of a corrupt administration.

Unhappy with the people’s demands to be heard, and in a shameful display of cowardice and arrogance, Roque got up and left the meeting, actually complaining the the people were not showing respect. He needs to realize that respect must be earned, something he has failed to do. The other commissioners, except Wylie, left soon after, and the meeting was never properly adjourned. I believe the vote is invalid and should not be implemented.

It was heartening to see so many people in attendance. If people continue to speak out and assert their rights and demand that the mayor fulfill his duties or else resign, the untenable situation that currently exists in Town Hall will change.

Joan Palermo, Trustee, WNY School Board

“The within constitutes my personal opinion and does not purport to represent the opinion of the WNY School Board or any of its members”.


  1. What a mess the town of West New York is! Shameful! You can thank Albio Sires for the mess! He wanted Roque for mayor.

    • Can we sure about Sires’ support…Did U notice last nite his Mayor’s portrait has been removed. Maybe he can’t stand what’s going on either—even just in spirit?

  2. the debacle in WNY is upsetting…but as a board member don’t you question that maybe that extra money that would be saved could be used to start a new program for the children, or maybe towards an underpaid teacher? Quite frankly i think mixing politics with the school board isn’t right. It seems like you are adding more fuel to this wildfire by aligning yourself with one political group

  3. You get them Commissioner Wiley! If you want to stop Roque then you must stop those who fund him. Mr. Wiley follow the money, Roques donations will lead you to the real corruption and those who fund him. Mr. Wiley is it legal or ethical for Mayor Roque to accept political donations from convicts and other soon to be indicted individuals? We applaud Chuckie for exposing those who fund Roque. Rolando Cribeiro-Coca from YYY Construction-Rene Abreu-Manny Diaz-Prudencio-Architect and his Attorney sister “The Pereira Twins” Rene Avila Etc. Etc. As you can see the preceding list reads like the who’s who of of fellons. These individuals are the enablers and must be held accountable by law enforcement. Mr. Wiley-we hear Mr. Coca from YYY Construction was recently interviewed by Federal Authorities concerning his and his co-conspirators involvement in zoning board approvals for development projects. Mr. Wiley we need you to stay strong. You are our hope for West New York’s future. It is only a matter of time before Roque’s sand castle washes away.

  4. Great Letter, Joan. Thanks for your excellent analysis of Roque’s dictatorial abuses of power last night.. Mark and Pablo, by all means, state your opinion. But do so out of the shadows. Kindly be civil and put a last name to your first name. Joan did. I did.

  5. thats funny when a comment is not bashing someone you hate then it should have a name…didnt see you ask CORRUPTION! to put a name..

    • Patrick,

      First of all, civility has nothing to do with privacy. I have a right and a wish to remain anonymous and that does not mean at all I am not a polite person. I am! If you wish to reprimand somebody because of their incivility, turn to those from Wednesday night. You are not helping your case at all by using profanity and calling people names, no matter how bad you think they are. Behaving as wild animals is not going to help.

      Secondly, if you have a problem with people expressing an opinion that board members should remain independent, then you are not very different from those you are fighting.

      • Mark,
        Under NJ election law, school board candidates may be endorsed by anyone. Matthew is a citizen of WNY and has a right to be heard and a first ammendment right to express his opinion. If you follow social media, Frank took responsibility for his actions. Pablo, be very careful in trying to insinuate I used profanity at that meeting, or trying to impeach my character or those of many of us who recognize the goodness in someone before casting aspersions on someone’s perceived shortcomings. When you speak at any town board, you are required to give your name and address. Your having a public conversation with me, but you cloak yourself in a shroud of anonymity. If you see nothing wrong with that, then perhaps your moral courage needs a check-up.

        • Patrick, You are good at twisting words and intentions, man, I’ll give you that. You may not have used profanity but those you support did. You are so worried about people impeaching other people’s character and yet that is exactly what you and your group does on a daily basis. I might be required to give my name at a town board, but this is a different forum and nobody is required to do that. Therefore, no, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. But it seems if you had the power you would change it to force people to give their full names. That way you could attack them too.

          And you dare call Roque a dictator?

  6. One more thing Patrick. If you believe that failing to show one’s identity means a person lacks moral character, why didn’t you complain to Jose Munoz about his concealing his identity when he created his original website against Roque.
    I suppose that would have been OK with you, right?

  7. Pablo,
    Thank you for your passive-aggressive and under-handed clarification of your earlier false assertion that I used fowl language at the meeting in question.Your guilt by association stereotyping all folks at that meeting who expressed displeasure at Mayor Roque and Commissioner Rodriquez gross violation of WNY Town Code Chapter 36, “Ethics Code of” smacks of an illogical sylogism as well as confirmation bias. You srr correct that I did find fault with the mayor’s character. His super ego appears to have taken a vacation (one of many), leaving his ego to follow blindly his id down the dark path of corruption. You attacked me in an earlier post with afalse accusation, no less. This is.not physical combat, “Pablo”, this is the exchange of ideas. You are not a gentleman by your actions. Are you…Pablo Fonseca? I can only guess.