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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

No accountability, no responsibility

The Douglas H. Palmer administration has announced that it wants to give away $119,000 in a two-year contract to gang czar, former Newark cop, and Police Director Joseph Santiago tag-along Barry Colicelli, in what amounts to another case of the epidemic of fiscal irresponsibility plaguing the administration of the City of Trenton.

What is not known by anyone in any kind of official position is what this man has done for the city, since responding to a rather shady Request for Proposal that was only advertised for ten days on the city's Web site.

Truly the only thing he seems to have done for Trenton and its residents is to suck around $91,000 a year out of the city's treasury through receiving a tailor-made annual contract in what can only be called a patronage position, pure and simple.

Councilman Jim Coston and others on that body said recently they haven't even seen the city's gang consultant in many, many months, and they have no idea exactly what service the Brielle resident is providing the city.

Really, the only constantly discernible progress made by Mr. Colicelli has been in occupying a City Hall office, using a city-provided cell phone, and motoring back and forth on the two-hour daily commute to his home on the New Jersey Shore, in a city car fueled by city gas.

Those are not the only perks received by this city contractor, with Mr. Colicelli frequently charging travel and food expenses to the city taxpayers while taking extravagant trips around the country with Mayor Palmer and Mr. Santiago.

He charged hundreds of dollars while traveling to New Orleans and Washington D.C. with his two amigos in City Hall, but city contractors are not usually allowed to charge travel expenses and other personal costs to a city.

Only city employees - who are required to live in Trenton - are allowed to do that.

This unfathomable situation only goes to show that the Palmer administration has made a habit out of violating the public trust, and continues to show absolutely no restraint or thought when expending the tax dollars of a financially-distressed city that needs every dollar it can get.

Mr. Colicelli's old contract expired in December, but it remains to be seen whether he has been receiving extra-legal pay out of city coffers, since the contract lapsed without renewal by City Council.

This is but one symptom of the affliction of arrogance that has enveloped the self-servants working at 319 E. State Street.

City Council has no choice but to vote down this contract at its Thursday meeting.

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