Sunday, November 04, 2012

Here's your timeline.

This morning, Trenton Mayor Tony Mack had a press release posted on the city website villifying those "rogue coalition" of members of city council who voted "No Confidence" in his leadership and want to cut his salary by 52%.

Over the course of three pages, the paranoid, delusional and obviously stressed out man that Kevin Moriarty has dubbed the "Current Occupant" (CO for short) of the mayor's office lays out a timeline of  quotes and actions of members of council that he is upset with.

"Their efforts to denigrate the Office of Mayor will not succeed. Our roots of commitment remain firmly planted and we are more than prepared to deal with the winds of political theater," stated Mayor Tony F. Mack.

Obviously, the CO (and/or his writer) have no more talent for written communication than he does for leading a city.
While he fumes and mumbles and mutters to himself about those plotting against him, let us take a look (yet again) at a timeline of the CO's focus "on moving the City of Trenton forward".
  • July, 2010 -- The CO dismisses all of the department directors of the previous administration, thus losing the institutional knowledge and experience required to keep the city moving along. He also nominates a convicted felon to his director of Housing and Economic Development. He also hires a man with a criminal past to be the director of the municipal courts and appoints as head municipal judge a woman with financial problems, a history of writing bad checks, and who refused to submit to the required background check. A an experienced and knowledgable volunteer Business Administrator quits before the month is out because the CO "doesn't believe in good government."
  • July-August 2010 -- Even though it is a known fact that the city is facing a huge budget deficit, the CO hires a full compliment of mayoral aides and puts other friends and allies on the payroll at places like the Trenton Water Works. Speaking of the TWW, the CO also saw to it that his half-brother was put in charge of the on call scheduling at the utility.
  • September 2010 -- The CO cuts the appropriation to the the Trenton Free Public Library but demands they maintain full hours at the main building and four branches. He later blames the decision to close the branches on the TFPL board and not his lack of funding.
  • October 2010 -- Heavy rains raise the turbidty and level of the Delaware river forcing the TWW filtration plant to go offline. Because of inadequate supervision by experienced personnel the switching from pump to reservoire and back results in several days of boil water advisories for the utility's customers. For the first two days, the communication from the city regarding the situation is infrequent and no clearer than the brown water coming from the taps.
  • November 2010--At a press conference, the CO announces that he "saved public safety" by NOT laying off any police personnel. The fact that he didn't reduce the force at that time most likely figured into the city losing a federal COPS grant early the following year, putting those "saved" jobs at risk.  The chief municipal judge the CO appointed was told to resign by the presiding judge of the Mercer vicinage because of the ethical questions surrounding the appointment.
  • December 2010 -- The CO's half-brother and accomplices were arrested for doing side jobs on TWW time using TWW materials and pocketing the payments for the work done.
  • January-February 2011 --- A controversy arose over a contract given to the Cooper Levenson law firm to do work for the city because of a sizable campaign contribution made to the mayor. The contributions were passed through a political action committee to the CO's campaign in violation of the city's pay-to-play ordinance. At about the same time it was discovered that a Pennsylvania developer had made an excessive contribution to the CO's campaign and was in-line to receive some three dozne city properties for $1 each. Unfortunatley, most of those properties were NOT located in redevelopment areas and could only be sold via public auction.
  • March 2011 --- A superior court judge strikes down a controversial contract issued to an IT consulting company citing the mayoral aide who made the decision on the vendor as "unqualified" to do so.
  • April 2011 --- Paul Sigmund, hired in March as the city's Chief of Staff (Deputy Mayor), is caught speeding in a city vehicle. Sigmund's driving privilege had been suspended in California where he lived prior to taking the Trenton job and had not been reinstated at the time of the traffic stop. The Mack administration was made aware of the suspended driving privileges but issued a city vehicle to Sigmund none the less.
  • May 2011 --- Chief of Staff Paul Sigmund was arrested after making a heroin purchase just blocks from city hall. The CO refused to dismiss Sigmund immediately, waiting instead for the Chief of Staff to resign. It was also revealed that there were payroll irregularities with some of the park rangers hired by the CO, including payment for time not worked, payment before the state approved the hires, handwritten time cards, etc.  In addition, it came to light that director of Public Property Harold Hall, a salaried, appointed position, was receiving overtime and paid comp time that he wasn't legally entitled to.
  • June 2011 --- Against long odds and a very high standard for participation, a recall effort against the CO was launched by five citizens who had already had enough of the CO's foibles. Law Director Marc McKithen resigns rather than cooperate with the CO's administration in its attempts to avoid responding to Open Public Records requests.
  • August 2011 --- A superior court judge finds that the Mack administration did not comply with the law regarding OPRA requests filed by two civic activists.
  • September 2011 --- The CO proceeds with massive layoffs of city employees, including over 100 police officers. His friends and supporters who were hired last and should have gone first were left on the payroll (with the exception of one of his aides).  By the end of the month, the Mack administration is on its fourth Police Director in 14 months, its seventh (or was it eighth?) Business Administrator, its fourth Housing and Economic Development director. Two of his allies, Harold Hall and Carmen Melendez were elevated to acting director status over the objections of the NJ Department of Community Affairs. Reports surfaced of Ms. Melendez having been paid for unearned sick and holiday time and a very troubled business history that included having lost her realtor's license at one point, defaulted loans and unpaid taxes on her properties.
  • October 2011 --- Former Recreation division employee Maria Richardson files a complaint alleging she was wrongfully dismissed because she wouldn't go along with the CO's improper procedures for purchasing, etc. Information surfaces about the "splintering" of contracts in order to circumvent the state public bidding laws. The CO jeopardizes a part of the state financial aid to the city by at first not agreeing to some of the terms of the MOU. He later agrees to modified terms but gives up recruitment and hiring authority to the state.
  • November 2011 --- The recall committee gathers some 8,500 signatures on petitions to recall the CO. While that was short of the 9,000 or so that was needed, it was more than voted for Tony Mack in the runoff election of June 2010.
  • December 2011 --- It is revealed that the CO refuses to entertain an offer to from a non-profit to lease, renovate and reopen one of the closed and vacant library branches as a community center with a small learning resource component.
  • January 2012 --- The Mack administration attempts to get the city council to pass a salary increase for the Mayor and Department Director positions. The CO announces grand plans for a "Commission" on international business affairs that is immediately downgraded to "committee" status and does nothing except hold a reception. He also announces a "Comprehensive Crime Initiative" that is neither comprehensive or much of an initiative. It is a document listing some vague ideas of ways to increase the city's crime fighting tactics, none of which were ever implemented.
  • February 2012 --- The city council takes a scalpel to the CO's proposed budget, including reducing the salary line for all of the remaining mayoral aides. The CO's request for increased state aide is denied because of a lack of fiscally sound management. An impasse between the administration and council over the approval of a "stale" contract for paper supplies leaves city buildings without paper towels and toilet paper. The story makes international news. A second complaint alleging violation of the state Open Public Records Act is filed against the Mack administration. A group of citizens drafts an ordinance that would reduce the salary for the office of mayor and asks the city council to introduce it. It stalls after the first reading.
  • March 2012 --- The CO incorrectly accuses the council of overstepping their legal bounds by cutting the salary budget for his staff. He alleges this will jeopardize the safety and security of the citizens. He was wrong on both counts. In his state of the city address, he announces plans to start reopening the closed library branches as "Learning Centers".
  • April 2012 --- The first of the four Learning Centers is opened. The CO gives varying cost estimates for what it will take to operate these centers.  He also inappropriately spent general maintenance funds to repair and equip these buildings.  A boxing/martial arts program running out of a city owned building and funded by a county grant of state money is shut down based on allegations of "drug use." This results in the discovery that the entire TMAC grant was not being properly administered per the terms of the contract with Mercer County. The County takes back some of the control of the grant funds.
  • May 2012 --- The CO continues to open his "Learning Centers." Two state legislators introduce a bill that would make recalling an elected official somewhat less difficult. (They must be part of a "rogue coalition" as well.)
  • June 2012 --- The CO insists on spending approximately $75,000 on the poorly promoted and sparsely attended Heritage Days Festival. Some of the fees included paying people to "organize" the event, paying a city employee to perform at the event (against state law), and paying a sound and light company in full in advance for this festival and a later music festival that was ultimately cancelled and (at last check no refund had been received.)
  • July 2012 --- The CO runs through a toll booth in Delaware while driving his city issued vehicle on a weekend. It is presumed he is using it for personal business since his son was playing in a baseball tournament in Delaware that weekend yet the city paid the delinquent toll and service charge. The FBI stages early morning raids of the CO's home and the residence of his brother Ralphiel, and campaign contributor/supporter JoJo Giorgianni. The next day, the FBI swarms city hall and removes files, computers, etc.
  • August 2012 --- More information starts to surface about the investigation into the Tony Mack administration. All of the rumors of questionable business dealings and improper procedures start to make sense.
  • September 2012 --- The CO is arrested, along with his brother and Mr. Giorgianni are arrested by the FBI on a criminal complaint alleging a conspiracy to use the CO's public office for personal gain. Mr. Giorgianni is also arrested on a complaint of running a drug distribution ring that has no relation to the activities of the CO.
  • October 2012 --- a newly organized group called "Majority for a Better Trenton" drafted a resolution of "No Confidence" and asking the CO to resign and asked the city council to place it on the docket. Council approved the citizen initiated measure 4 - 3.  At the same time, the council introduced its own ordinance reducing the salary for the office of Mayor. It passed the first reading, 5 -2.  The CO told the council and the people gathered in chambers that reducing his salary was illegal and violated the MOU with the state of NJ. Neither was true. At the very end of the month, the city was hit by hurricane Sandy leaving many residents without power and such for two or three days. The CO stayed home, never venturing out to meet with the emergency management team, tour the city, etc.
  • November 2012 --- The CO was absent from city hall while the BA and other directors gave reports to council about the implementation of the city's emergency plan. The CO knew the salary ordinance was up for second reading and was not present to defend against it. Four of the six individuals who spoke publicly about the ordinance before the vote were in favor reducing the salary. The ordinance passed on the second reading, 4 - 3. It is not veto proof, so the CO vetoed it and then posted the screed referenced above.

So, Mayor Mack, after reading through the timeline above, just who is engaging in "political theater?"


Anonymous said...

That about says it all!

Anonymous said...

Is THAT all? What an appalling litany of ineptitude!!!

Old Mill Hill said...

Actually, it is not the entirety of the missteps of the past 28 months. It is what we could jot down in a couple of hours just from memory.