Mayor Tony Mack was arrested Monday on federal charges of conspiracy. He was arrested along with his brother, Ralphiel, and JoJo Giorgianni.
That is old news.
While Trentonians breath a little sigh of relief that something, finally, is being done about the inept and allegedly corrupt Mack administration, the saga has not ended.
We say that because the arrest was just the first step in the process of bringing Tony and Ralphiel and
JoJo to justice. Next comes the grand jury and (expected, but not guaranteed) indictments. Then, months later, a trial.
In the mean time, Tony Mack is still the sitting Mayor. He still has the authority and power granted him under state law.
And that brings us to the point of this post.
Tony Mack, as reported in today's Times, has no intention of stepping aside and letting someone else run the city while he deals with his legal issues.
Tony Mack, no matter how much we want to think otherwise, is still "in charge."
We cannot forget or overlook that. We must continue to scrutinize everything that is done; every penny that is spent; and whether or not proper process and procedure is being followed.
here are still thousands of dollars of expenditures out of the Recreation budget that were not properly explained, contracted for or approved by council.
We still don't know whether radio station WIMG ever aired a single commercial for the $12,000 the city paid them last June.
We still don't know what Herb Ames and the Capital Region Minority Chamber of Commerce did with the $12,000 the city contributed to it in two installments over the past year.
What we do know is that Mayor Tony Mack is not any more likely to change his way of doing business than confidant and aide Anthony Roberts is likely to change his taste for garish, striped suits.
Take for just one, small example city Purchase Order #12-00211.
This purchase order in the amount of $170.00 is made out to Trenton Photographers and Video. It is for 4, 8x10 Color Portraits of the Mayor, in a step-up mat and frame. The bill was paid out of account number 01- 10 -1000 -299 which is the budget line for the Mayor's Office, Other expenses.
Again, the amount, $170.00, is not terribly significant. The purchase is, however, indicative of how our Mayor's tiny little brain and out sized ego works.
While the documents don't state it specifically the fact that there are four of these portraits suggests that they might be destined to hang, one each, in the Mayor's Learning Centers.
The timing of the purchase is interesting. The invoice was placed May 31, 2012, the requisition and PO are dated July 16, 2012.
The order was apparently placed late in FY2012 at the same time that the first three Learning Centers were being opened and the fourth was being worked on and while questions were being raised about the Mayor's free spending ways.
The purchase was completed and paid for out of FY2013, a new budget year. Coincidentally, the requisition and PO were dated just two days prior to the FBI providing a surprise wake-up call to the Mack residence in the early morning hours of July 18.
There is another interesting bit about the requisition and PO. Both are signed by Anthony Roberts.
Normally, wouldn't one party complete the requisition and another sign off on the PO? You know, just to provide a little bit of control over spending?
And under what power, what position, what title is Mayoral Aide Anthony Roberts authorized to sign city purchase orders? He hasn't been the "acting" BA since Mr. Hutchinson came on board in mid-April.
Certainly the dollar cost of this purchase is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. It remains symbolic of the Mayor's belief that he is above the law and that the meager resources of our beleaguered city are there to serve him, not the other way around.
How many other purchases have been requisitioned and/or approved by Anthony Roberts with no proper authorization beyond "the Mayor wants it?"
How much in tax dollars and state aid has been wasted merely to stroke the overreaching ego of our inept and ineffective Mayor?
Things will not improve until Tony Mack is no longer Mayor of the City of Trenton. And the sooner that happens, the better.