Monday, August 23, 2010

An open letter to Mayor Mack

Dear Mayor Mack,

The problems facing the city of Trenton are numerous and the result of years of bad decisions, irresponsible spending and total mismanagement by the previous administration and city councils.

You inherited a mess, but you knew this going into the campaign and you knew it when you took the oath of office.

Certainly, we all have to re-think our personal financial situations and make adjustments in order to survive in these tough economic times.

Your finances have obviously been on shaky ground for awhile. You knew this while you were campaigning and it didn’t change when you were sworn in as Mayor.

Since you took office you have done nothing to help your situation or the city’s. What are you thinking?

When you are facing such difficult situations as the pending foreclosure on your personal residence, back rent and utilities owed on your now closed business, etc. how can you find $20,000 to lend to your campaign? Of course people are going to ask questions and make accusations.

You need to be open and up front about it with the public you have sworn to serve. You should not deny or deflect what is common public knowledge. It does nothing but harm your credibility and hamper your effectiveness as the city’s Chief Executive.

When you have inherited a fiscal sinkhole as large as the city’s deficit, you start cutting costs to the bone whenever and wherever you can. This means eliminating or reducing some services in order to preserve those that are essential to the well being of the residents.

You should not pad the city payroll with friends and supporters while faced with having to lay off almost 200 public safety employees and an equivalent amount of civil service employees.

The people you do hire need to be the best qualified for their positions. And if you must create new positions, such as “grant writers,” you should seek out individuals already employed by the city who would benefit by being moved over to the new position rather than being laid off from their old one.

The people you appoint to high ranking positions must also be of the highest caliber. Their backgrounds should be spotless, their qualifications impeccable. Trying to foist convicted felons onto the public and public payroll is simply not acceptable. Most of us believe in second chances and so forth, but repeat offenders as cabinet level appointees is not an example of good judgment.

Mayor Mack, you campaigned on the promise of providing an accountable and transparent government. The short time you have been in office has exemplified just the opposite.

When you, or your designated spokesperson, communicate with the press and the public, it should be done as accurately, and informatively as is humanly possible. We don’t want half-baked notions, over the top spin pieces, or dismissive “Next Question” comments. Your “30 days of Accomplishments” press release was void of any basis in reality or substance.

Your administration mishandled the dismissal of the acting deputy city clerk and inappropriately called in the police to have her removed from the premises. Then you have the audacity to lie to the city council and the public by suggesting the whole matter of the police presence was part of a set-up assisted by members of the local press.

Mayor Mack, you have failed to provide for your family and you are failing to provide for the residents and tax payers of the city of Trenton.

Many people want you to succeed, and everyone wants the city to succeed. As we close in on the first 60 days of your administration you have failed to operate fairly, openly and transparently.

There is still time to correct your mistakes, Mr. Mayor.

You can start by dismissing everyone one of your aides. You need to let go of the security detail (drivers) and return them to policing duty. Any other new hire of this administration must be evaluated against existing employees as to qualifications and experience for the job and the current employee should be given preference over any new hire when filling a position.

You need to forget about improving baseball fields in the west ward and stop giving lip service to keeping the library branches open. All non-essential Health and Human Services programs…especially those duplicated by other agencies…must be terminated.

There is still time, Mr. Mayor, for you to correct your path and the city’s. There are a lot of people standing by, waiting to provide good counsel and a helping hand. But you have to want it. Your recently announced schedule of Town Hall meetings can be the start of the reformation of your administration.

We urge you to let go of the hangers-on, the sycophants and the wannabes. Accept the fact that you need help, not friends and flunkies. Embrace those in the community with the experience, good sense and wisdom to lead Trenton to a shining tomorrow.

There is still time, but you must act now.

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