West New York Democratic Municipal Chairman Jonathan Castañeda says he has resigned his job as chief of staff to Mayor Felix Roque and has accepted a job at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
His resignation comes just as Roque prepares to battle for 58 Democratic County Committee seats in the June Democratic primary against a full slate filed by a potential 2019 rival, Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo. Roque is supporting Union City Mayor/State Sen. Brian Stack for Hudson County Democratic Chairman and has endorsed Stack’s effort to replace Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise next year.
Castañeda declined to answer specific questions regarding his role in the upcoming battle for control of the local Democratic Party.
“To the extent that I was involved, I wasn’t involved, so I have no comment on that,” Castañeda said.
But Castañeda would not say if he personally supports Stack for county chairman.
“I don’t support anybody. So, no comment,” Castañeda told the New Jersey Globe. “I support Mayor Roque.”
He did say that the political turmoil in West New York, related to the Hudson County warette was “irrelevant.”
Castañeda has been described as very close to Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York), as well as Roque.
Sources say that Roque views Castañeda as a trusted aide and that the mayor would offer him the strongest possible recommendation. But Roque, the source said, did not help him get his Port Authority job.
Castañeda says he will join the Port Department as a planner in a few weeks and stressed that he applied for a publicly advertised position and went through an extensive interview process. He was unable to name any of the individuals he interviewed with, the Human Resources representative that offered him the job, or the name of the person who signed his offer letter. But he did say that he was well-qualified for the position he was offered, although he could not recall what that position was.
He says he will not be resigning as municipal chairman but would not say if he would seek re-election in June.