The matter is significant because Wiley’s father, former North Bergen Department of Public Works Superintendent James Wiley, recently pleaded guilty to using the North Bergen DPW workers to do work on his personal home on town time. Sometimes, those men even earned overtime, paid for by the taxpayers.
A citizens' group that is politically opposed to the current North Bergen administration claimed Wednesday that two West New York DPW workers have signed letters stating they saw several North Bergen DPW workers painting Commissioner Wiley’s Town Hall office last fall. They held a press conference during which the group’s attorney handed out these letters that contained statements that they saw the North Bergen DPW workers painting Count Wiley’s office.
Two weeks ago, Count Wiley – who is at political odds with West New York Mayor Felix Roque – announced his plans to hold a recall election and run for mayor himself. Roque was indicted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the alleged hacking into a political opponent’s website in August.
“I have nothing to hide from West New York, I’ve always been honest, I’ve always been truthful to the people here,” Count Wiley said at his Thursday press conference. “When I came in here four years ago to work hard and put my hard won effort and work to clean up the previous administration, we’ve come back into the same administration again under Roque.”
Wiley stated that his office had been in a severe state of disrepair, and that the ceiling tiles were 30 years old. Rather than replace them, he wished to save money and paint them, he said, but that the West New York DPW did not have the proper equipment. So he borrowed the equipment from North Bergen DPW as a part of an unofficial “shared service agreement” wherein towns “help each other out if they need it,” he said.
Once the equipment arrived, he continued, the West New York DPW workers didn’t know how to use it, so they called upon two North Bergen workers to paint the ceiling.
The issue is whether or not those workers were being paid by the town of North Bergen at the time they painted the ceiling.
“Any help we can give each other, we don’t refuse each other,” he said. “To be honest, I can’t answer whether or not the men were on the payroll.” -- Gennarose Pope