The recent moves in and out of 319 East State Street seem to point out the new mayor’s shortcomings.
Respected and experienced municipal finance guru Bill Guhl suddenly departed last week after less than a month volunteering as the Acting Business Administrator. Indications are that Guhl’s suggestions on how to pull Trenton out of the economic swamp were not only falling on deaf ears, but that there was open resistance from the Mayor’s cronies. While some see Guhl’s departure as a diva-like act, others give him credit for trying but walking away rather than to continue to bang his head on the wall of mayoral indifference.
Next came the announcement that Carleton Badger was named the acting Director of Housing and Economic Development. Mr. Badger, it seems, has had some legal issues in the past that, amongst other things, cost him his real estate license for a time.
Quoted in an article in the Times, Mayor Mack brushes the lapses aside and suggests that Mr. Badger has “paid his debt to society.”
The problem is Mr. Badger didn’t have one ethical misstep. According to the Times, Badger “…has been twice indicted for forgery, pleaded guilty to a theft charge that was brought in 2001, and has a history of bankruptcies and other financial difficulties.”
Further on in the article, LeRoi Banks, a former business partner of Mr. Badgers, indicates that there is more to be learned.
"He took money from me a lot of different ways," Banks said. "This is just the tip of the iceberg."This doesn’t generate a lot of confidence in the statements that Badger has reformed and has readjusted his ethics.
At the tail end of the same article in the Times comes notice of three new appointments. Preacher and former West Ward Council Candidate John Vaughan has been tapped as an aide to Mayor Mack.
Why are we hiring more aides when we are looking at laying off city employees? Another irrational decision.
And what about the two ladies hired as grant writers? One is Councilwoman Kathy McBride’s daughter. The other is reportedly a bartender at the Mill Hill Saloon.
Obviously, these two individuals are highly qualified for the position. Right.
Another move that has heads shaking and tongues wagging is the lunch-time pink-slipping of former Councilwoman Cordelia Staton from her Deputy Clerk’s position.
We do believe that the 11th hour appointment of Ms. Staton by her former colleagues during the waning days of the previous administration was wrong.
We also believe that the Mack administration could have demonstrated a little more class in the handling of the situation.
Almost makes one wish for the good old days of the Palmer dynasty.