For all of its problems, the Trentonian does have a good tendency to say what needs to be said when other media outlets’ editorial pages remain quiet, or spew misguided pieces that seem to support the political establishment over the average Mercer County resident.
One of these instances came yesterday, with City Editor Paul Mickle’s piece about the problems stemming from having politically-appointed county prosecutors responsible for investigating government institutions full of local politically-connected people.
The piece followed this week’s announcement that the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating personnel at a county welfare office, for alleged crimes involving assistance funding.
This office happens to be a repository of politically-connected people, with Councilwoman Annette Lartigue and former Councilman Frank Cirillo both employed there.
There may be an established system for nominating and appointing county prosecutors, but it seems quite counterproductive to have someone as political as Joe Bocchini responsible for going after criminals in Mercer County, especially those who happen to be Democrats.
New Jersey is hands-down one of the most corrupt states in the nation, and that situation seems to scream out for a different system of appointing prosecutors and other law enforcement officials that are the first defense against corruption and the perversion of the public interest.
Having these people handcuffed because of the politics of patronage and appointment means that investigations like the Mercer County welfare office are likely to go nowhere, as politicians and politically-connected employees scurry for cover under the blanket of influence that covers our state, Mr. Mickle wrote.
The people at Ms. Lartigue’s office very well might not have committed a crime, but if they were to do so, it seems that there would be a very high probability that any investigation would quickly be suffocated under a blanket of political pressure and loyalty.
Maybe it’s time for a new system.