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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Oh, Mr. Bradley

The job of Trenton's acting communications director, Irving Bradley, has shown up as an entry on the New Jersey Department of Personnel job Web site, as the city prepares to officially install Mr. Bradley in the position.

That entry serves as only more visual evidence of the record of inconsistent application of personnel rules and law that has become the trademark of the city government, under Mayor Douglas H. Palmer.

What is really interesting about the entry is that it seems Mr. Bradley does not currently fulfill several of the job requirements. More specifically, he does not have five years' experience in doing municipal communications management, and more importantly, he does NOT live in Trenton, as required by Trenton's city code.

In recent months photographic evidence showed that Mr. Bradley was spending weekends in his old Rahway haunts, where his family continues to live. However, Trenton's controversial residency ordinance required his family to have moved into Trenton, as one of the defining conditions of maintaining a bona fide residence in the City of Trenton.

Another curious piece of information that the job description describes the position with a listed salary range of $68,897.00 to $89,250.00.

That fact means that a man with less experience than the job requires is being paid a top salary, and not one near the bottom of the range, which most reasonable people would expect an acting director with little or no experience in the field to be making.

The stakes for having Mr. Bradley continue in this position illegally are also about to increase, with the closing date for applying for the official position.

At that point - under state law - Mr. Bradley has to have completed all of the requirements for the job, including the aforementioned experience and residency requirements.

After receiving the position officially, the penalties for hiring an employee who is breaking the city's residency ordinance increase.

A successful challenge of his residency status would mean the city would be forced to pay all of the salary Mr. Bradley has received illegally back to those who challenge his status, legal sources maintain.

Breaking the law can get expensive, especially when it becomes the de facto policy of a city government.

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