South Ward Councilman Jim Coston has reported in today's blog entry that the Administriation is proposing a two year renewal of consultant Barry Colicelli's contract for a modest 32% increase over the cost of the previous one year deal.
That's right, the "Special Assistant" to Mayor Palmer would be paid $119,000 for two more year's of work for the city of Trenton.
Coincidentally, the current term for Council and Mayor lasts until June 30, 2010. That's just over two years from now.
With the rampant rumours and whispers that Doug Palmer will be jumping ship sometime between now and the end of his term (after his term as President of the Conference of Mayors ends this year, if/when Hillary Clinton takes him to Washington, or if he should get the nod for NJ's Lt. Governorship---take your pick), this is an obvious ploy to safeguard Mr. Colicelli's contract regardless of what the Mayor does in the next couple of years.
Mr. Coston raises good points about the economics of this deal. And the Administration will no doubt spin it that the city will be receiving two years of work for two thirds of the cost.
If we're not mistaken the contract renewal was previously withdrawn from the Council's docket amidst grumblings and questions about what benefit the city was receiving from the arrangement. No doubt this new "deal" is being proposed as a way to demonstrate that the Administration is responding to concerns and therefore has negotiated a "better deal for the City."
Really, what has Mr. Colicelli provided to the city that couldn't be obtained from current employees of the Police and/or other departments?
Do a few powerpoint presentations warrant this kind of expense? Does it take an outside consultant to bring together representatives of various agencies and convene the fabled "youthstat" meetings? (are they still being held? has anyone been given a progress report?)
And generally, aren't consultants hired for a fixed time and purpose, with some sort of end product provided? When did Trenton become finanicially secure enough to hire consultants on an on-going, open-ended basis?
And what about the costs of maintaining this consultant's office in City Hall? The car he commutes to and from Brielle in? The gas for that car? How many consultants do you know that get that kind of deal?
Remember, he's a consultant and as such does not work exclusively for the city of Trenton.
No. This contract should not be renewed. Not for one year or two. There is no tangible, measurable benefit the taxpayers have received from Mr. Colicelli's services. It's time to cut him loose, kick him out of his City Hall office, get the keys back to the Crown Vic and put those resources to better use here in Trenton.
Let your Council representatives know how you feel about this incredible waste of your money.