Trenton continues to spin out of control
We managed to cross paths with a few folks who attended the Beautiful Trenton meeting Tuesday night. To a person, no one has yet been able to tell us anything about the evening indicating the initiative will generate anything concrete that will improve things in Trenton. While all agreed that there were some new and unfamiliar faces amongst the 150 or so that gathered, there was also acknowledgement that several elected official wannabes were also in attendance.
The general consensus seems to be that when all was said and done at the evening, more was said than done.
At the same time that all these well intentioned souls were setting out to right Trenton’s course, the state of New Jersey threw another curve by announcing a freeze on financial aide to dependent municipalities.
And how did Trenton’s City Council deal with the news? Well by hiring an outside contractor to perform some work as the Assistant Business Administrator, of course.
Apparently, the Palmer Administration, through its toady, Dennis Gonzalez, made enough of a case (twisted some arms) to get four of the seven council people to pass a resolution that had been previously tabled. The action taken Tuesday approves paying one Lawrence Pollex $75 per hour with a maximum of $75,000 for work performed through the end of the current fiscal year (June 30, 2010).
Gonzalez, who has been the “Acting Business Administrator” for about a year now, was turned down in his request to hire Pollex back in September. Citing the need to fill other positions and the city’s budget woes, Council balked at the approving the contract. In response, Mr. Gonzalez apparently went into protest mode and initiated a work slowdown that resulted in public defenders and some health workers not being paid.
To their credit, Councilmen Bethea and Segura along with newly elected South Ward Councilman George Muschal exhibited a grasp of the fiscal mess the city is in and voted against the contract. Their three votes were not enough, however, to overcome the “go along to get along” gang of Lartigue, Melone, Pintella and Staton.
So, Trenton, where we are short qualified inspectors in our Technical Services department; where last week the Planning Department and the Director of the Recreation, Natural Resources and Culture each lost their key administrative staffers to retirement; and where the city animal shelter is critically short staffed, has hired itself a part-time, non-resident Assistant Business Administrator.
Maybe if Mr. Gonzalez was better at “acting” like a competent Business Administrator we could apply that $75,000 to filling some of those vacancies that are a higher priority to fill.
If last week’s happenings weren’t entertaining enough, we can’t wait for the coming week.
Former Freeholder Tony Mack will formally announce his candidacy for mayor Tuesday at the Marriott.
And the rumor mill is suggesting that Doug Palmer himself will make some important announcement about his future plans in the next few days.
Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen.