The City of Trenton is ruled by a mayor who is willing to selectively enforce laws against city employees, bending and shaping the consequences for violations at will and based upon his personal preference.
That much is clear from the responses filed by Mayor Douglas H. Palmer’s attorneys, who maintain a law that was so vigorously enforced in the past by the mayor’s administration against other city employees is now invalid for those seeking to enforce the same law against one of Mayor Palmer’s highest allies and favored cabinet members, Police Director Joseph Santiago.
Comparing the current reaction to a residency violation to the city’s previous responses to other employees is truly enlightening, and paints an even brighter picture of the hypocrisy breeding in Trenton’s executive branch.
In the case of former city employee Morris Schall, the city broadly contradicts the position it is taking currently on Mr. Santiago’s residency by demonstrating in court that the city vigorously enforces the residency ordinance against ALL violators in an unselective manner.
According to testimony in the Schall case, the city does not accept someone simply renting an apartment in the city and living there during the week and then making “weekend jaunts” to where the employee’s immediate family lives.
Mr. Schall did so, and the Palmer administration made it clear that their policy was that doing so was grounds for immediate dismissal from employment in the City of Trenton.
Yet the city’s new Communications Director and Newark buddy of Mr. Santiago, Irving Bradley, is clearly doing that, and Palmer administration officials testifying before City Council said they do not care about what Mr. Bradley does on his weekends, even if whatever he is doing is clearly in violation of city law.
City personnel official Raissa Walker also testified that at the time – July 2006 – the city had not granted ANY residency waivers to any employees in six years, despite statements made by high-ranking Palmer administration officials like Business Administrator Jane Feigenbaum to the contrary.
When one of the earliest rumblings about Mr. Santiago’s non-residency occurred in January of that year – inside the six year period quoted by Ms. Walker – the city’s business administrator told the press that Mr. Santiago had been granted a waiver of the residency ordinance.
Those two statements by Palmer official clearly contradict each other, and what’s more, one of them might have made her statements in a court of law, as a credible witness testifying about how the City of Trenton under Mayor Palmer vigorously enforces the residency law against any and all violators, except now, if your name if Joseph Santiago.
I guess if you used to work for Sharpe James then it means you don’t have to follow city law, especially a law that has been enforced to the detriment of numerous hard-working and generally law-abiding employees.
Welcome to the Twilight Zone.