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Monday, October 8, 2007

Cutting government positions = cash for Trenton

Trenton City Council has already bestowed Special Counsel Joseph A. Alacqua monies in the amount of $75,000 and $95,000 thus far in 2007, providing grand amounts of compensation for a position that is only meant for legal work Trenton's own City Attorney cannot tackle.

This kind of work would normally be single legal cases in areas like redevelopment that City Attorney R. Denise Lyles may not have experience in, for compensation much less than these envious five-figure contracts.

But the Trenton City government seems to be using the Special Counsel position as an extra City Attorney, providing general legal work while being bound by none of the normal stipulations of a city job, like actually living within Trenton.

The current situation of Trenton's Law Department is disturbing, with loads of taxpayer dollars spent on extra lawyers and work that used to be done in-house by the City Attorney's office, sources said.

Instead the work is being spread out among numerous attorneys, all lining up at the Trenton trough of dollars.

What is worse is that all this comes in a city where more than half of the landmass is tax exempt, creating dire fiscal situations for New Jersey's capital. Trenton's cash-strapped government cannot afford to bleed dollars on extra-legal attorney positions that are not enumerated in the Trenton City Code or the Faulkner Act.

It is not only illegal, it is fiscally irresponsible.

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