City forms show special considerations for Santiago, Bradley

City residency forms obtained by The Ruins of Trenton and signed by Trenton’s former police director, Joseph Santiago, and embattled Communications Director Irving Bradley, reveal policy discrepancies that add to evidence that shows the city’s administration relies upon double standards when it comes to city residency law.

Mr. Bradley took over city communications duties in August of 2007, but was not asked to sign a city residency form until nearly five months of employment had elapsed. This form is one of two that all civilian employees have been required to sign at the start of their city employment since 1995, according to those familiar with city policy.

A form with a January 2008 signing date lists a Broad Street Bank apartment as his bona fide residence. The form indicates that despite established city policy to the contrary, Mr. Bradley was not asked to sign a certification verifying his residency for a long period of time.

This period of time also coincided with several incidents that led to Mr. Bradley’s residency being called into question, due to the emergence of photographs showing police vehicles used by Mr. Bradley outside his old residence in Rahway.

The continued existence of that second residence and the way it appears that Mr. Bradley’s family continues to reside paint a picture of a man living outside the city’ residency law. But during that time, the city appears not to have asked Mr. Bradley to truthfully verify his residency, under penalty of termination and criminal charges, until well after his start of employment.

Mr. Santiago’s residency form is almost comical in nature.

City employees, under the residency law, have only three options when it comes to their residency certification: live in the city, gain the ability to live outside the city after 15 years of continuous employment, or work in a position that either the state or the city exempted from residency.

Yet with Mr. Santiago, the city residency form was augmented with a written-in option, which was dutifully checked off, reading “I have requested a six-month waiver of the residence requirement.”

But the city’s residency ordinance makes no such allowances for city employees, stating that they need to either establish residency or receive a waiver from the law prior to employment. Also, the signature date is March of 2003, two weeks after Mr. Santiago took over and at a time when the director claimed to be renting rooms at various city addresses to fulfill residency requirements.

This March 2003 date is also nearly three years before the city administration ever mentioned that Mr. Santiago has been given leeway to live at his Morris County address, due to undisclosed family issues.

So there appear to be discepancies between the city’s public announcement of Mr. Santiago’s living situation and what residents were led to believe at the start of his residency.

Perhaps most disturbing about the two documents is how they portray a hypocritical and untrustworthy city government that utilizes different policies when it comes to different city employees.

For what both men did other city employees were terminated, yet both continue on in their positions – for now – while the city coddles them and applies a different set of law to the administration’s “good ole boys.”

Remember, it took two separate courts and nearly $140,000 in legal fees to enforce the residency law on Mr. Santiago. Unfortunately, Mr. Bradley’s form shows that once again the Palmer administration had made it policy to make special considerations for some special city employees.

That situation needs to stop.


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