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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

City responds to Bradley complaint, albeit weakly

The City of Trenton's response to the lawsuit challenging Police Director Irving Bradley's residency status is rather weak, according to some legal minds who had a chance to review the response after the city filed it in court Monday.

Written by City Attorney Denise Lyles, this initial response first questions the legal validity of the complaint, sponsored by a group of citizens including me, by claiming that the complaint had no basis in fact and was instead based upon hearsay contained in inaccurate newspaper articles and little else.

That position is augmented by a rather simple certification in which Mr. Bradley states that he is a resident of the City of Trenton and that the complaint should be dismissed.

Such a position ignores the preponderance of evidence, which is now common knowledge within Trenton, that Mr. Bradley was not a resident of Trenton when he first attained employment and remains as such, and that his family continues to live outside of the city in a home in Rahway where Mr. Bradley has been seen both last year and more recently in September.

Next, the city tries to counter the argument that once again Mayor Douglas H. Palmer and his administration officials ignored residency rules when it came to the hiring of Mr. Bradley.

In that part of the response, the city counters the allegation that Mr. Bradley was not a resident when first hired by stating that the city's residency ordinance had a waiver provision at the time of Mr. Bradley's original hire.

It follows that the provision could have been used for Mr. Bradley, who did not attain an apartment in Trenton until several months after his hire, according to the flawed logic used by the city.

The filing ignores how city officials like Chief of Staff Renee Haynes and others constantly defended Mr. Bradley's illegal non-residency by saying he could do what he wants on the weekends, apparently forgetting about the dozens of employees who were fired for the exact same type of living arrangements.

The only solace Trenton residents should take out of this response by the city is that it was actually written by the city's own attorney.

Apparently the city decided against using the same highly-paid army of lawyers that defended former Police Director Joseph Santiago in the last residency court battle, in which the residents emerged victorious after Mr. Santiago was ousted and Mayor Palmer went down in a humiliating defeat.

The next step in this battle is for lawyers for the defendant and the plaintiffs to show up in court Nov. 21 for an initial hearing.

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