Trenton City Council will likely be set upon by groups of alert city residents on Thursday evening, with many both curious and concerned about the status of a transition process for outgoing, ousted Police Director Joseph Santiago.
They’re curious because what little accountability that most of Trenton’s city government had left has apparently gone out the window.
That’s quite evident, from how an ousted Mr. Santiago and indifferent Mayor Douglas H. Palmer remain conspicuously absent from an increasingly crime-ridden scene, and how unqualified employees continue to suck up city tax dollars in illegally occupied positions of employment.
City Council really needs to act, starting tomorrow, and here’s why:
Mr. Santiago now has a little under seven weeks left in office, after two separate courts ousted him from his office and rebuked Mayor Douglas H. Palmer for their efforts in circumventing the city’s residency law.
There is also Mr. Santiago’s unqualified Newark associate Irving Bradley.
He appears to be violating the city’s residency ordinance while serving as the city’s communications director, which state personnel officials say is a position that Mr. Bradley is completely unqualified for.
Of the two issues, that of Mr. Santiago is obviously of the more importanc. The city has been beset by a violent crime wave of late, yet police officials say Mr. Santiago has frequently been absent from the city he is supposed to be serving.
Even worse, officials such as Mayor Palmer’s publicist Kent Ashworth have told the local media that they will not comment on any transition process or candidates to fill the police director’s position, and that they are leaving it up to the absentee Santiago to work out the details.
All the while, parts of Trenton remain aflame.
Assaults, murders and other violent crimes continue to wrack city neighborhoods while Mayor Palmer takes days-long jaunts to Africa with Bill Clinton and Mr. Santiago goes god-knows-where.
Council, as the newly resurgent group of accountable officials, needs to act.