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Monday, October 13, 2008

Layoffs and lawsuits don't add up

The City of Trenton will be eliminating around 150 municipal position from the city’s payroll in an attempt to address a $7 million budget shortfall, according to The Times of Trenton.

These layoffs will come at a time when Mayor Douglas H. Palmer apparently thinks it is appropriate to spend thousands of dollars in court defending a employee from a lawsuit that could have been avoided, and the utter hypocrisy of that is astounding.

Even worse, many in this city seem to accept the actions of a mayor who is constantly talking out of both sides of his mouth, especially when it comes to breaking the law, the budget, and unneeded lawsuits.

This particular avoidable lawsuit, like the one that ousted the previous police director, challenges the claim that Mr. Bradley has taken up permanent residency in Trenton, as required by law.

Despite comments from Mayor Palmer and misleading stories in the local media, the claim that Mr. Bradley established permanent residency in Trenton is something that nearly everyone in Trenton knows to be false.

Remember that Mr. Bradley was first caught with a city vehicle at his old family home in Rahway. Then he was involved in a car accident on the New Jersey Turnpike, nearly 30 miles outside the city at a point on the most direct route from Rahway to Trenton. Finally, he was caught at the home again, fully a year after he and his family should have moved into the capital city as required by law.

In trying to help out his favorite mayor, Trentonian columnist L.A. Parker wrote a story detailing how Mr. Bradley produced a state driver’s license and a rental agreement, which was purported to somehow demonstrate that Mr. Bradley is a bona fide Trenton resident and that people challenging that claim are foolish and misguided.

Apparently Mr. Parker – and City Council for the matter – have forgotten that simply renting an apartment and changing personal documents to reflect that information is not enough when it comes to residency. That is clearly established by decades of law that everyone who supports Mr. Bradley’s appointment seems to have forgotten.

But the actions of Mayor Palmer and his officials demonstrates that at least they are aware of what residency means. They fired dozens of employees for residency, and many of them had similar or equivalent living situation to what Mr. Bradley is currently claiming.

These employees rented apartments, changed their driver’s licenses and voting records, and made other changes to make it look like they were following the law. The Palmer administration successfully prosecuted nearly all of them.

Until recently, the City of Trenton never supplied funding for an employee’s legal defense for such things as residency violations, and especially not for employees who face significantlegal problems like Mr. Bradley. He is already the subject of another lawsuit for allegedly pursuing a “racialist” agenda when he worked in the city Communications Division.

But now, when the budget is broken and the city cannot afford unnecessary expenditures, Mayor Palmer and City Council have thrust another man into the police director’s position who does not meet the requirements of bona fide residency, again opening the city up again to taxpayer-funded legal challenges.

What is says is quite clear.

Such an action means that Mayor Palmer would rather fight a costly and unnecessary battle in court against his own constituents than be forced to follow the city’s residency law and appoint a real city resident to the police director’s position.

That’s a pretty sad situation for Trenton to be in.


shby1839 said...

why is no one asking mayor palmer about the 40+ million dollars that he allowed santiago to spend in the last 5 yrs with nothing to show for it.

Old Mill Hill said...

Palmer is out of control; has been out of control for the past five years or more.

The majority on council are unable and/or unwilling to stand up to him, presumably because they are afraid of losing favor with the man who would be emperor.

I guess they've somehow confused public service with self-serving.

westwrdguy57 said...

Oldmillhill, that's why we should apply now to to gain entrance for that chance in a lifetime visit to catch but a glimpse of the emperor at his Imperial Palace on E. State st.

Shby1839, are you sure that amount is $40 million dollars?