Friday, September 02, 2011

A report from the scene

Last night (Thursday, September 1, 2011) Trenton City Council held a marathon session.  After more than two hours of public comment, the Mayor arrived and Council went into executive session to grill Mr. Mack on several issues.

The meeting resumed quite late and went until a bit after 2:00 a.m.

Here is one eyewitness account of the "highlights" of the evening.

...council did not end until 2:15!!!! 

They passed almost all of the resolutions.

The ordinance on the water department was a TOTAL fiasco. Councilman Bethea was so confused. Council President McBride claimed she didn't have enough information until Councilwoman Caldwell-Wilson reminded her that Sewer came in to talk to them several months ago and this ordinance was originally presented in February.  Councilwoman McBride still claimed it wasn't enough. 

Edmund {Johnson...of the Water Utility} got up there and freaked out on Councilman Bethea after trying to explain it over and over again. It was horrific.

Councilwoman McBride tried to vote to have the ordinance removed. Council members Phyllis Holly-Ward, George Muschal, Zachery Chester, and Marge Caldwell-Wilson denied it then they voted to pass the ordinance. That passed by the same four votes. Then like a magician Councilman Chester pulled out an already done resolution to make it effective immediately and it passed by the power of four. It was an amazing display of effective government. I was really proud of them.

Councilwomen Reynolds-Jackson and Holly-Ward got into a fight and they started cursing at each other.  Muschal and McBride yelled at them. Then Caldwell-Wilson and McBride got into a fight. It was a hot ghetto mess.

They also did not pass the preliminary budget. Rousseau explained that it will affect the application for state aid.  Councilman Chester reminded Rousseau that he had asked for information from the administration at the meeitng where the budget was introduced and Rousseau admitted that he didn't address those issues. They are going to have a special meeting before September 9 so it doesn't affect the transitional aid application.
So there you have it, folks. Our city government in action.


Anonymous said...

It's really a shame that the video tapes of these meetings are inaudible. Other cities show their city council meetings on TV, with clear images and sound. Some clever person could splice together a "highlights" reel on Trenton's council and make a sensation on Youtube!

Old Mill Hill said...

You're right. Our council meetings should be televised with the proper attention paid to the technical aspects so we can hear and see all that goes on.

We were fortunate the Mr. Chilson volunteered to cover as many of the meetings as he did. That was an invaluable service that he did all on his own. Unfortunately, he has decided it is time to move on and will no longer be doing that.

It would be a great project for our local students to take on.

Lamberton Lilly said...

Anyone interested in Trenton as a reality TV show? I think it would be an improvement over bored housewives discussing their implants. Lamberton Lilly

Old Mill Hill said...

Many think that not only would a reality TV show be a runaway hit, but the revenues could solve our fiscal ills as well.

The problem is, to continue the success we would have to continue with the same leadership.

We're not sure it is a worthwhile tradeoff.

Anonymous said...

Edmund Johnson is employed by the City of Trenton as a Water Distribution System Technician, which is a non-supervisory position in the Water Utility. He also holds a position of vice president in the blue-collar union, AFSCME Local 2286. He and two other persons in that title, as well as two clerical personnel are scheduled to be laid off as part of the City’s layoff plan. He appeared before City Council not as a spokesperson for the Water Utility but as someone who is trying to save his job, which is something that anyone in his position should try to do. Apparently, he was unsuccessful in providing enough information to have the three dissenting council members understand the importance of the resolution before them.

As a unit within the Department of Public Works, the Water and Sewer Division must participate in the layoff plan when any other unit within the Department of Public Works is participating in the layoff plan. This is a requirement of the State law that governs layoff plans.

In the aftermath of the events of last October, it has been recognized that the Water Utility is severely and critically understaffed due the lack of qualified technical, supervisory and management personnel. In light of that, the layoff of these individuals will only make that problem worse as two of the three technicians possess New Jersey Distribution System operator licenses.

The objective of the layoff plan is to reduce the City’s expenses to help enable it to have a balanced budget. The layoff of Water Utility personnel will have no effect on reducing the City’s budget needs. Unlike the City, the Water Utility is not in any financial trouble and has more than adequate funds to support the expense of the five scheduled layoffs as well as the expense of restoring the dozens of position eliminated during the last administration’s pre-sale personnel reduction activities.

The creation of a Water and Sewer Department will allow the scheduled layoffs in both utilities to be rescinded and will have no effect on the overall reduction of expenses accruing to the City from the layoff plan. It will also allow the City to begin its efforts to try to re-staff the Water Utility with the required qualified personnel. Without the qualified personnel the service levels will not improve and continue to worsen and, more importantly, threaten the public health and safety.