Saturday, September 03, 2011

On demand

On Wednesday, August 31, Mayor Tony Mack issued the following press release:
Mayor Tony Mack Urges Trenton City Council to Approve Critical Resolutions
-Mayor Tony Mack issued the following statement urging council not to block moving Trenton forward:
“As Mayor of Trenton, I represent the Executive Branch of Government. The City Council is the Legislative Branch. At all levels of government, there is a separation of powers, and that is why I do not consistently attend Council meetings.
Unfortunately, while I have attempted to move the City forward, some members of Council actually stated they do not mind bringing the City’s operation to a screeching halt unless I appear before Council. In furtherance of this stance, at the last Council meeting Council refused to take any action because I was not present.
In order to move the City forward and recognizing public safety as my number one concern, I will attend the council meeting and make the following demands:
1. I demand that Council approve the following resolutions (11-504 Body Armor – State, 11-507 Body Armor – Federal and 11-509 Edward Byrne Justice Assistance grant) most of which involve grants for the police department for body armor, laptops for the police vehicles, etc., equipment our law enforcement officers need to effectively and efficiently carry out their sworn duty. Failure of Council to do so will restrict this City moving forward with the budget process and will leave our police officers without necessary equipment and public safety at risk.
2. I demand Council approve the two municipal court judges I recommended. They are highly qualified and their qualifications were approved by the State. Failure of Council to approve these judges will hurt the City’s budget by limiting the court’s ability to collect fines and will affect public safety by limiting the court’s ability to prosecute criminals. If the Council fails to approve these appointments, then I will take all legal action necessary to have these vacancies filled, if only on an interim basis.
3. Lastly, I am proposing a plan to cut the layoff of law enforcement officers by two-thirds through a Federal, State, City and Police Union cooperative effort. First, I am demanding Council approve a Federal grant that would provide the City with 36 police officers for three years with two conditions. The first condition is the Federal Government waives the requirement the City pick up the officers’ salaries the year after the grant ends. The second condition is the State provides the $750,000.00 necessary for the City to accept this grant. After all, the City provides police protection for thousands of State workers, the legislators and the Governor.
The other 36 officers would be saved from layoff through a combined commitment of the City and the police force. The City would commit $750,000.00 to retain these officers. The rank and file police officers will need to agree to an 18 month salary freeze retroactive to January 1, 2011 and the entire police force will need to agree to a payroll deduction retroactive to July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012 of only $100 per month. We all have to make sacrifices in these times for the benefit of the City and its citizens, and I am sure the police force will agree to these concessions in order to keep their brothers in blue working and to help keep the City safe.
To date, there is no other plan presented anywhere in the United States requesting a cooperative effort between the Federal Government, State Government, Municipal Government and the Police Unions to avoid the significant layoff of law enforcement officers.
Thank you for your time, join me tomorrow night, and urge Council to move Trenton forward,” stated Mayor Tony F. Mack.
Lauren J. Ira
Director of Policy and Communications
Mayor’s Office-City of Trenton
319 East State Street
Trenton, NJ 08608
Tel: 609-989-3052
Cell: 609-741-7322

The reaction to this screed was, expectably, more amusement at his audacity than anger with his arrogance.

The simple fact of the matter is this: the Mayor cannot demand a single thing of City Council other than they follow the law.

His “demand” that they approve certain resolutions was asinine. They never had any intention of slighting our police department. The reason they didn’t act on these and dozens of other matters at the August 18 meeting was TO MAKE A POINT! Fed up with the indifference and lack of timely responses to their inquiries, and ticked off at the Mayor’s purposeful snubbing by not attending that meeting, Council simply chose…as is their prerogative…not to act on a stack of resolutions. They knew what they were doing…, which is more than we can say for Mayor Mack.

Council 1, Mack 0

The second item on the Mayor’s list, the appointment of his two nominees to the Municipal Court is another example of Mr. Mack’s total ignorance regarding the law. As was pointed out at the time that Council chose NOT to further entertain the Mayor’s nominees, if judges need to be appointed on an interim basis it is up to the presiding judge of the vicinage (in the case of Mercer County, Judge Feinberg) NOT the Mayor. These lame threats of “legal action” are just further evidence that Mayor Mack hasn’t a clue what he is talking about.

Council 2, Mack 0

The last point in the press release is the most absurd of the three. The Mayor sketches a plan to save some of the about to be laid off Trenton police that encompasses union give backs, waivers on Federal grant stipulations and contributions from the State. Not only was this “announcement” the first anyone had heard of the plan, it is in and of itself unworkable.

The Mayor cannot “negotiate” contracts and concessions in the media. (Witness the fact that the Unions have now filed a grievance against the city for this bone head move).

The Feds are not likely to waive grant requirements just because Tony Mack of Trenton, NJ says they should.

Similarly, the State of NJ is not about to kick in any extra money outside of the already established “Transitional Aid” just because Mayor Mack somehow feels they must. In fact, if he keeps on like this, we will be surprised if the state gives Trenton any money at all considering how it has been wasted to date.

Therefore, the Mayor’s “demands” are as empty and meaningless as his usual rhetoric.

In addition, Mr. Mack needs to quickly learn one simple fact of life: the mayor is in no position to demand anything of city council or anyone else.

The mayor was elected to serve, not to demand.

The mayor is one person. The council is seven and known in the statutes as the governing body.

And behind the council are the voters of the city of Trenton. If anyone is in any position to “demand” anything, it is the roughly 37,000 voters in Trenton who are the ultimate power behind the presumed throne.

As one of those voters, I have a demand for Mayor Mack. STEP DOWN!

If he won’t (and he most likely won’t), then the only option left is to recall him.

Sign. The. Petition. Now.

1 comment:

Lamberton Lilly said...

I strongly suggest the administration get a book on basic English grammar and a style manual. Lamberton Lilly