My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The future

Trenton's foormer police director, Joseph Santiago, has allegedly been telling many of those on the Trenton Police Department command staff that he "isn't going anywhere," despite the recent Appellate Division ruling casting him out of office for breaking the city's residency ordinance.

This, of course, could mean a few things: he is planning on moving his entire family into Trenton and selling his house in Stirling; he is seeking a separation from his wife and will establish a residence somewhere in Trenton; he believes the Supreme Court of New Jersey is going to hear an appeal and grant him a stay; or, he believes Trenton City Council is going to swoop in at the last moment and amend the residency ordinance to empower Mayor Douglas H. Palmer to waive residency for certain employees.

Also, it could mean nothing.

Perhaps Mr. Santiago is simply blowing smoke, or merely expressing that he is going to stay on until the very end of the 75-day period instead of throwing in the towel and quitting his position.

But of the options resulting in Mr. Santiago remaining at the helm of the department, the amendment of the city's residency ordinance can be forgotten, outright.

There is no appetite to amend the law now, according to council members, especially following a long and expensive court battle that had City Council members actually fighting to get the residency law enforced, and Mr. Santiago thrown out.

Even if council did move to amend the law, Trenton residents such as myself would quickly organize a petition drive and swiftly crush any ordinance amendment through the an ordinance protest. That could be done quite easily, given the growth in support and the increased mobilization of those supporting residency.

The Supreme Court of New Jersey is likely not going to hear his appeal and grant him a stay, after four different judges all came to the same conclusion.

It is doubtful that after all of these years and the presence of a house worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in Stirling is Mr. Santiago's family going to agree to put the house up for sale - in a bad market - and move on down to sunny, beautiful Trenton.

Finally, it has been speculated that Mr. Santiago could announce a separation from his wife and establish residency within Trenton, prior to the completion of the 75-day period the Appellate Division gave him to pack his bags and get out of Dodge.

That too sounds so unlikely, but if it were to happen, the residents and City Council will have won.

Mayor Palmer and Mr. Santiago will have been forced to follow a law that they were openly and plainly breaking. No longer will Trenton be dealing with a missing police director who lives 50 miles away, but instead, the city will have a leader living within its borders in compliance with the law.

As questionable as Mr. Santiago's words, actions, and leadership style are, this whole thing was never about Mr. Santiago. It was about a mayor who felt that he could bend the law to his own will, and now the courts have demonstrated such behavior to be unlawful.

No comments: