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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Outsourcing justice

The City of Trenton plans on cutting two city prosecutor positions and farming them out to private contractors at $150 a session, or some of the lowest rates in Mercer County, according to the Times of Trenton today.

Head Prosecutor Lyle P. Hough was in an obvious huff after learning of the move, which will most likely leave him with lots of work and few hands to do it.

The Trenton public will also suffer when inexperienced outside contractors take up positions where knowing the police, the community, and offenders helps increase conviction rates and helps the courts mete out justice.

What is equally disturbing were statements about the move from the "mouth of God", Palmer spokesman Kent Ashworth, who said the city is "trying to do more with less."

Well perhaps the city wouldn't have to do more with less if it didn't squander funding on outside legal firms and counsel, like that of Special Counsel Joe Alacqua, or $78,000 touch-ups on ridiculous neon Fire Department signs.

Trenton Makes will say it again: the city has already spent nearly $150,000 on Mr. Alacqua's services, in an illegal position that allows Mr. Alacqua to skirt residency requirements and other rules governing City of Trenton employees.

If they deleted Mr. Alacqua's position, they would be able to pay for the two prosecutors, easily, AND the Trenton public wouldn't get hamstrung by inefficient courts that have trouble prosecuting offenders.

Silly cost-cutting like this also paints a picture of the increasingly bankrupt house that is the City of Trenton.

When will it totally collapse?


Old Mill Hill said...

"When will it finally collapse," you ask.

About 15 minutes after Douglas H. Palmer exits his office at City Hall (regardless of when that inevitability comes).

The Municipal Prosecutor has been working incredibly hard to "do more with less" these past several years. And succeeding.

Now the administration wants to hamstring these efforts with another bogus cost cutting scheme.

You are so right, there are plenty of more deserving (and productive) cuts that could be made to the budget. Why underfund the programs that are working.

Thomas said...

I do not believe that the prosecutors, who are now employees, can be changed to independent contractors by an executive fiat. There are state and federal taxing authorities who probably will not recognize these prosecutors as independent contractors, but will insist that they are employees