The Douglas H. Palmer administration of Trenton City has made requests for the creation of additional redundant positions within the government at a time when residents and business owners are clamoring for funds to be invested into overhauling the city’s archaic housing inspections schedules.
Mayor Douglas H. Palmer told the City Council earlier in the summer that there was no money in the budget for increased inspections and more inspectors, but the administration had two ordinances on last week’s City Council docket that would create new positions within the government earning a potential combined salary of upwards of $139,000.
The two proposed positions – Public Information Assistant and Assistant Municipal Clerk – perform duties already performed by other city jobs, and signify a move that flies in the face of the administration’s assertions about a lack of money for the housing inspection department.
Listening to the proposal last week during a teleconference session, Councilman Jim Coston responded harshly to the administration’s proposals after his requests for increased inspections and overhauled inspection tactics were met with stonewalling, and then a watered-down policy implemented by Mayor Palmer.
“Am I to understand we have 1 housing inspector for every 2,000 housing units but we can afford to hire an assistant public information officer?” said Mr. Coston.
Administration officials, including Deputy Mayor Renee Haynes and Business Administrator Jane Feigenbaum said the positions shouldn’t be construed to be new, but were more of a housekeeping nature.
“It is just a title in the City Code, and we are setting a salary range for it,” said Ms. Feigenbaum of one position.
It remains to be seen whether at some point in the future the administration fills these “housekeeping” positions without notifying City Council or city residents of the expenditures from the city’s coffers, city sources said.