Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oops! He did it again!

The tragic-comic melodrama that is the Mack administration rolls on.

This is improper and illegal and a problem that started in the Palmer administration and continues under Mayor Mack.  It is a passive-aggressive way for the administration to get what it wants without interference from the governing body.  It is a blatant circumvention of the law and it is costing the city lots of money.

We’ll spare you the lecture on the proper process that should be followed in these matters. Suffice it to say that no contract should be granted or extended without council’s approval and we have strayed far from that procedure.

Despite the fact that the contracts were granted in an irregular if not suspect manner, work was done on the city’s behalf and we (the taxpayers) are obliged to pay for it…whether justified or not.

In the article, city spokesperson Lauren Ira is quoted as saying,
“Going forward, we are working on plans to make our processes more efficient. This will involve issuing timely requests for proposals, and selecting outside counsel prior to the expiration of the then-current outside counsel’s contracts.”

It seems to us that the administration’s attempts at making their “processes more efficient” have amounted to circumventing the law and short-cutting best practices.

Maybe what Ms. Ira, Mayor Mack and company should be focusing on is making the process more compliant with state statute and good sense. And maybe they should be looking at ways to eliminate the need for these expensive contracts rather than make the process of giving them out "more efficient."

Monday, November 28, 2011

What next Trenton?

While the recall effort fell short of the number of signatures required to put the recall question before the voters, it was a significant statement. Eighty five hundred people stood up and said, "Enough!"

The mistakes and missteps of Mayor Tony Mack are numerous and run the gamut from verbal gaffes ("Happy Pearl Harbor Day!") to complete disregard for common sense and good management.

It is plain as day that the Mayor cannot run the city.  City council for it's part, has yet to take full advantage of the authority and power vested in the governing body under our city charter. 

Can we afford another two and a half years of this fumbling and bumbling?

Let's tap into the power of those 8,500 people who signed the petition and change Trenton's course for the better before it gets worse.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

It is really quite simple

A lot has been said on the subject of the ongoing effort to recall Trenton Mayor Tony Mack; both pro and con.
After 16 months in office, the city of Trenton is worse off than before Mack was sworn in.

There is no plan with measurable goals for moving the city forward. Instead, we have a bunch of items ticked off on a “to do” list: street paving, park renovations, etc.

These are the things that a normal city does when the money is available. There was no magic here; no making order out of chaos.  Streets have been being repaved according to a prioritized list for several years now. Mack’s predecessor did it; Mack is doing it.  Park renovations have been in the works for years. To his credit, Mack pulled the trigger on spending the money…money that was earmarked for that use and that the city would have lost if it wasn’t spent.  Not a plan; barely an accomplishment; just doing the job.

The mayor often touts the fact that he has maintained the twice a week trash collection schedule.  Has it made the city any cleaner or tidier? No.

The mayor talks about getting vacant properties back on the tax roles, but he has decimated the inspections department so that all construction is slowed by delays in approvals.  Is this the way to revitalize our city and encouragement good development? No.

In the past couple of months there has been a lot of press about the police layoffs…as well there should be. Minimal staffing levels for patrols have been, well, minimized. And even then we have trouble making the number.  When officers are out on vacation or because they are injured or sick, our restrictions on overtime make it hard sometimes to meet the minimum staffing level.  The detectives are working hard to keep up with the case load, but OT restrictions hamper them as well.

And what of those who are charged with offenses…trash, building code, or other?

Our municipal court system is a mess.  We’ve been short a full-time judge since the debacle of the appointment last year of Renee Lamar Sumners.  On top of that, the mayor wants to replace the two, experienced, competent judges of is own choosing.  What will that do to the already strained efficiency of the court?

With a short-handed court and reduced personnel to cite violations and then appear in court, enforcement is suffering; people are denied a timely hearing of their case; and the city loses revenue. (Municipal court revenues were increasing 2006-2010).

The city is, plain and simple, messed up.

We haven’t even touched on the well documented personnel missteps of the Mack administration.

Ladies and gentlemen of Trenton…no matter what your personal relationship with Mayor Mack; no matter what you think of the state of the city when he took office, you have to admit we are no better off now than we were 16 months ago.

Not only are we no better off, there is no plan to improve things.  Our mayor, nice guy though he may be, is plainly not competent to govern the city. He has ignored or shunned any advice offered by those outside of a trusted circle of friends.  And that circle of friends is made up of people less competent and less trustworthy than the mayor himself.

There are those who say “give Tony a chance.”   We say, “How many chances does he get?”

You can wait until 2014 and simply vote someone else into office, but what will be left of Trenton then?

Sign the recall petition.  Go to the headquarters at 830 Lalor Street. Go to Artifacts Gallery, 1025 South Broad Street.  Email or call 609-614-0668 to arrange to get a petition and sign it.

It is that simple.