Note: entry edited on 9/24/08 to substitute "resign" for "retire."--OMH
The reporting of the departure of Joe Santiago from the already vacated position of police director for the city of Trenton provided ample opportunity for some interesting word choices and turns of phrase.
Let me replay for you now, just a few of the better ones we've read.
At the top of the list is the announcement of Santiago's "resignation" itself. As several of the more astute members of the community have pointed out, you can't really resign from a job you don't have. Lest we forget or overlook the fine point of this, four judges in two separate hearings of the matter determined that the position of police director in the city of Trenton was vacant due to the simple fact that Mr. Santiago was not a city resident. Judge Feinberg gave her decision in March with a 30 day grace period for orderly transition that was stayed until the three judges of the Appellate Court upheld her ruling but extended the transition period to 75 days. No matter how you look at it, Joe Santiago was out of a job. I don't think you can resign from a grace period. He might as well have said, "You can't fire me. I quit."
Another great quote came from Council President and Palmer lackey, Paul Pintella. The idiot prince was quoted as saying Santiago was "one of the finest police directors ever to work in Trenton." Nice.
Here's a test for you Paulie. How many police directors has Trenton had?
Let me help you out. There have been two: Jim Golden and Joe Santiago. (George Clisby and Abe Hemsey were never fully appointed to the position).
Now if we accept your statement that Santiago was "one of the finest police directors" to work here that would indicate that he was a) not the finest and b) Santiago was, by elimination, the worst police director to work in Trenton.
If there were only two, and Joe was not the finest but "one of the finest" than he is second. Second in a field of two is last. Last in this case equals worst.
So you managed to insult Santiago and give a backhanded compliment to his predecessor at the same time. You could have won the prize for best statement, but...
The topper may be one of the wry comments from Trentonian columnist and Palmer plugger, L.A. Parker.
First, L.A. writes about the appointment of Captain Fred Reister as acting director "until further notice as Palmer attempts to fill an unexpected vacancy."
Something that has been on the books for six months, is "unexpected?"
About 11 paragraphs into his page three article about Santiago's departure, Parker cleverly wrote the following:
"Mayor Palmer bid farewell to his partner in crime, calling Santiago one of the city's top assets and a major crime fighter."
I'm not sure but there may be some double, if not triple irony to that statement.
First, without a doubt Palmer and Santiago are partners in crime. The waste of taxpayer dollars fighting the illegal waiver of the residency requirement was nothing short of criminal (and we still think they should have to repay the city for the legal fees and court costs). Referring to Santiago as one of the "city's top assets" might have read more accurately if the final t was swapped for an s. A similar rewrite might be applied to the declaration that Santiago was "a major crime fighter." His regular displays of favoritism, cronyism and the reported poor attendance record he had while on the city payroll add up to make Santiago more of a major criminal than a crime fighter.
And just when you think you've read the best comes old Smug Doug himself. The Missing Mayor made a prophetic statement in the Times.
"I'm disappointed," Palmer said. "However, I have to move on. I have a city to run and I have to run it."
At last, a statement we can agree with. Palmer has to move on.