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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Trenton administrators get pay raise, amid budget turmoil

Top Trenton officials received pay raises earlier this year despite the city's disastrous fiscal situation, according to South Ward Councilman Jim Coston.

Rumors attesting to this fact were heard months ago, but when no resolutions or ordinances that specifically mentioned the raises appeared on City Council's dockets, many assumed that the raise rumor was just that, a rumor.

But apparently members of the Douglas H. Palmer administration - before warning the city about the closure of city libraries, the laying off of dozens of city workers, and the slashing of municipal services - thought that in handing the city a $27 million budget deficit they had done a good job, and they deserved more money.

Almost equally disturbing as the news of these pay raises was the response that Councilman Coston received when inquiring about how exactly the raises were instituted.

"You voted for them," said one administration official, according to Councilman Coston's Web site.

Let's get this straight. Administration officials received pay hikes while the city's budget is in tatters, and City Council members, the stewards of the city's budget, didn't even know about them?

With instances such as these, it is really no surprise that this city faces such a massive, debilitating budget shortfall. The people who are supposed to be looking out for the interests of the residents at City Hall are apparently asleep at the wheel.

But perhaps all is not lost.

City Council, despite its obvious shortcomings, needs to get its act together immediately, and use its power to investigate this situation and immediately repeal whatever pay raises were handed out to Palmer officials.

Perhaps some deserve these raises, but with the city dealing with such a large budget gap and residents facing a double-digit tax increase, it is hardly the time to be handing out more money.

The city simply cannot afford to do so.

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