Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ain't too proud to beg

Palmer pleads case for more handouts from Feds

There he goes again.

Trenton's own Doug Palmer was in Washington yesterday crying poor and asking for the federal government to help city's like Trenton get over their current financial crisis.

Citing "domino" effect trickle down from the mortgage and Wall Street situations, Palmer was at the front of Uncle Sam's Soup Line, hat in hand asking,
"Please, sir. May I have some more?"

Commodore Palmer might have a better chance of getting some help if he hadn't run the city's ship aground with two decades worth of mismanagement.

With the admittedly short funds available to anyone anywhere, why would a rational, reasoned Congress hand over wheelbarrow loads of money to a wasteful and imprudent despot like Palmer?

It's been said before and it will be repeated endlessly until the message gets through: come home, stop playing games with library budgets, cut the fat and waste from your administration and get this city back on course. Then, Doug, maybe people will try to lend a hand.

And remember this, Mr. Palmer, the saying is:
I'm from the government. I'm here to help.
...I am the government. I'm here to help myself.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another member of Commodore Palmer’s crew is leaving the sinking ship.

Posting on tonight confirmed rumor that had been swirling all day.

Trenton Business Administrator (BA) Jane Feigenbaum has announced she’s leaving to take the same position in Perth Amboy starting in January.

Feigenbaum’s tenure in Trenton has been marked by interesting financial ideas, including the proposed sell off of the outlying distribution system of the City Water Utility in order to partially fill a potential $26 million budget gap; even though the sale of water to suburban customers generated enough of a surplus in past years to augment Trenton’s operating budget.

Interestingly, Feigenbaum is headed to Perth Amboy, a city currently plagued with its own budget shortfall and an investigation into the prior administration. She apparently beat out her own assistant, Dennis Gonzalez, for the position there. Gonzalez was rumored to be seeking a position in Perth Amboy a few months ago.

As a consolation, Trenton’s Assistant BA will be bumped up to “Acting” BA. Justifying his choice for Acting BA, Palmer claims that Dennis Gonzalez has “done outstanding work in every job he has performed.”

Does that include threatening a citizen for questioning his effectiveness when he headed the Housing and Economic Development Department?

In a sideways acknowledgement of the many departures from his cabinet, Palmer tossed off a comment about how the city is “generally prepared for when senior officials leave.”

Yeah, generally…they can find another body to plug the hole and tout the party line. Not necessarily excel at the position.

Who row the boat when all the good oarsmen have left?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Still waiting

Maybe the Trentonian got it wrong last week when it reported that Doug Palmer was going to hold a press conference to offer his embellishments to Gov. Corzine's plan to save the state's economy. Maybe.

Or did Doug realize he had nothing of substance to suggest and cancelled the event?

We'll never know.

So maybe in place of his suggestions to revive the state's fortunes, Doug can issue a press release to explain something else to us.

Perhaps he'd like to clarify why he has again applied a double standard in managing personnel matters in the city.

Seems as though the auditors from the Mercadien Group who just reported their findings on the city's fiscal 2006-2007 budget discovered some Public Works employees submitted and were paid from unsigned time sheets. According to the article in this morning's Times, the city has adjusted the process to eliminate that error.

But were the employees or those who directly supervise them punished? Was anyone investigated and arrested and charged with a criminal offense for this?

Nothing of that sort was mentioned in the article.

But isn't this similar to the circumstances that got long-time City Finance Director Chris Stankewicz removed from her job? Because she "unlawfully" allowed a worker to get comp time off with pay?

The Palmer administration went after Chris with a vengeance...turning the investigation over to the County Prosecutor's office and locking employees out of their offices for a day or two.

The same administration apparently just adjusted procedures in the matter of the Public Works employees.

Why the difference, Doug? Why so severe and heavy handed in one case yet so calm and rational in the other?

Please explain to us. If you can't or won't, at least send a message out through Renee or Jane as to just why these cases were handled so differently.

Tell us why you sullied the reputation of one good employee who was nearing retirement for something that could have been handled much more professionally.

Yet you and your administration look the other way when members of your cabinet threaten citizens; you appoint non-residents to sensitive law enforcement positions, even though they have prior criminal records; your administration regularly paid a "consultant" from documents that were not properly signed off on by city officials.

C'mon, Doug. Tell us the real story here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oh, I can't wait to hear this

Doug Palmer, the man who has presided over Trenton's fiscal ruin these past 18 years, is going to offer suggestions on improving Jon Corzine's plan to help the state weather the current economic crisis.

That's right. According to a notice in today's Trentonian, Mr. Palmer has some ideas to add to the Governor's thoughts.

Like him or not, Governor Corzine came to politics after heading up one of the largest, most successful and still standing Wall Street investment firms--Goldman Sachs. Jon Corzine obviously knows something about least enough to amass a personal fortune of his own.

Mr. Palmer on the other hand, is a an empty, expensive suit who dresses the part but has nothing but charm and charisma (both running low at this point in his sinking career) to fall back on. Mr. Palmer "married" some money, and has no doubt invested some of his income from his years in city hall.

So while everyone else is taking their time reviewing and critiquing the plan of a Wall Street veteran, that Spring Street Pimp Palmer has already scheduled a press conference to add his two cents.

We'll be lucky if it's worth that much.

Before any of you start jumping up and down and singing the praises of whatever rhetorical remedies Palmer offers, remember this:

He is the one who wants to sell off the one solid, long-term asset of the city (the outlying water distribution infrastructure, much of which the city doesn't technically own) for a one shot, short term financial boost (we can't even say "gain").

And you think he has anything of substance to offer?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

This is a complete outrage

Doug Palmer has lost his mind.

The Times of Trenton reported shortly after noon that Doug Palmer would hold a press conference at 12:30 pm EDT to announce the appointment of Irving Bradley, Jr. as the new Trenton Police Director.

This is without a doubt the most blatantly irresponsible move made to date by the despotic egomaniacal Palmer.

Bradley does not meet the requirements of bona fide residency. He's been a city employee for over a year and only recently registered to vote here.

He's got a criminal record.

He was deemed unqualified for the position of Communications Director, yet he's qualified to hold the position the Communications Director reports to?

Interestingly, there are a couple of items pending on this weeks council docket regarding organizational structure of the police and fire departments and the qualifications for the police director. How coincidental.

Palmer is out of his mind if he thinks this will fly. And the city is in no position to fight another round of court battles to prove Doug wrong again.

City council had better stand tall on this one or there will be an open revolt in the streets.

Palmer phones it in

Missing Mayor calls in from Florida and hints at sixth term.

The city is in a fiscal crisis unprecedented in the 18 year reign of his mediocre-ness, Douglas H. Palmer so he troubled himself to take the time and call into L.A. Parker's dubiously titled "Straight Talk" radio show last week. (Listen to the entire broadcast here).

So, what did Doug have to say? A lot of nothing!

The call-in was troubled with some technical difficulties and so was broken into two segments. The first segment, about 11 minutes long, had Palmer touting the 14th place ranking of the Trenton-Ewing metropolitan area in green job potential (click here for a copy of the whole report). Even though Doug mentions that he realizes that the Trenton-Ewing designation includes Ewing, he unfortunately glides over a crucial fact in touting Trenton as the beneficiary of this high ranking. The Trenton-Ewing Metropolitan Statistical Area is the demographer's term for the whole of Mercer County.

And this isn't the first time Doug has confused the MSA with the City of Trenton. A few years back there were newspaper reports of cheers around the table in his conference room when he announced a significant spike in the average home sales price in Trenton. The only problem was, the new average was for the entire county and not just the city.

Back to the radio show, Doug blathered on about how positive this all was for the city as if
a) it was all his doing (implied, not stated)
b) it signaled an immediate turnaround in the fortunes of the beleaguered capital city (the job potential was calculated for 2038---three decades into the future!).

Then it was on to the liberary issues. Palmer began trying to explain away the library closings as fiscally responsible and his appreciation for all of (Library Board of Trustee President) Mrs. Hayling's dedication over the years. Doug was absolutely indignant that anyone would challenge the good work of this woman and "point fingers" at her because the system was failing. He even cited a time when "no one wanted to serve on the Library board" except her, never once pausing to consider the hesitancy to serve might have something to do with Mrs. Hayling's heavy handed way of controlling the board.

It was somewhere along in this part of the conversation that Palmer uttered some non-sense about never holding grudges against people who disagree with him because he knows we all want the same thing: a better Trenton. He actually claimed not to let his personal feelings "good or bad" stand in the way of doing what was best for the city.

If that doesn't make you choke on your morning danish, nothing will.

Has there ever been a more thin-skinned, vindictive person than Doug Palmer? Not in our extended memory. Just look at the number of times good, dedicated individuals have been replaced on boards just because they dared cross purposes with the dictatorial Palmer.

Towards the end of the segment, as the technical difficulties grew more annoying, Palmer began to answer a question about the vacant Police Director position.

Finally, the feedback and noise got so bad, Parker cut Palmer off.

With a cleaner connection established, Parker resumed the phone interview about 15 minutes or so later (download Part 2 of the interview here). Instead of picking up where he left off, Doug went back to the library situation and tried to convice listeners that his ideas were best and that there was no other choice. Bah!

The topic of the Police Director was resumed as Palmer spun some yarn about not wanting to promote someone from within the ranks of the TPD to the Civilian Directorship because of the pension, residency and loyalty (to the rank and file, and not to him) issues. Palmer spoke in certain terms that these were all insurmountable obstacles to having an "accountable" Police Director and demanded that city council amend the residency ordinance.

All the sturm and drang and chest thumping aside, perhaps the most telling moment came when Parker tried to extract a definitive statement about Doug's intentions to run for Mayor again or not. Palmer all but confirmed what many have been saying for awhile now.

At about 6:55 into this segment the exchange goes like this:

Parker: "You always say that you have not said that you were not going to run again. Are you going to say that soon?"

Palmer: "No."

Later on, in explanation Doug says quite plainly that he has a lot to finish here, but that there may be "an opporunity that may present itself where I may not run again..."

So there you go all you doubters. Out of the horse's mouth...if he gets a call up to a bigger, higher profile position, he's gone.

If not, he's here for another term...or at least an attempt at one.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

He just doesn't get it.

Doug whistle-stops in Florida for Obama while ignoring the train wreck that is Trenton.

His mediocre-ness, Czar Douglas the First is off on another junket; hanging out with Bill Clinton, stumping for Obama in Florida.

In the meantime, Trenton continues to crumble and collapse.

Fresh from Saturday night's Preservation New Jersey recognition for his commitment to historic preservation (a put up job if ever there was one!), Doug hightailed it Florida for a Conference of Mayor's event and to suck up to Obama campaign staffers.

In a piece in this morning's Times, Andrew Kitchenman wrote:
Palmer said his main focus on the trip remains the mayors' agenda, and that he is raising his concerns about Trenton with Obama campaign officials.

"It's important that Trenton with 85,000 people is as important as New York City" to national officials, Palmer said.

Once again, Doug shows just how disconnected he is from the realities of Trenton today. That 85,000 population figure was accurate at the time of the 2000 census. Current figures put the population at just under 83,000. That's a 2.6% decrease in less than a decade.

A decade that Doug frequently likens to a renaissance in Trenton.

A decade others compare to the dark ages.

Last week, we suggested Doug had two choices, step up, take control and do right by the city or walk away and let us get on with turning Trenton around.

Seems he's still chasing dreams of a high profile job anywhere but here. It looks like he's made up his mind.