Give the mayor his revolution

Gov. Jon S. Corzine and his slashing of municipal aid dollars this year are to blame for the impending closure of four of the city’s branch libraries.

That was the opinion of Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer, according the pages of today’s Trentonian, which had the mayor responding to civic outrage over the plan. The article was penned by Mayor Palmer’s favorite mouthpiece, the objective and unbiased L.A. Parker.

The mayor’s public response was part of an attempt to head off what Mr. Parker chose to describe as a possible civic “revolution” over the Nov. 1 closure of the libraries, which represent some of the city’s few remaining safe havens for the urban youth in the socially distressed City of Trenton.

Yesterday, at the time of the plan being made public, there was talk among residents about starting an all-out civic movement to keep the branches open. It would likely start with the undertaking of an official petition drive to demonstrate the overwhelming public support these facilities have, throughout the city and in all of Trenton’s social and economic strata.

On a positive note, Friday’s Trentonian piece had new libraries chief Kimberly Bray saying that the library system did have a contingency plan, requiring over $400,000, which would allow the branches to remain open on certain days throughout the week.

The Ruins of Trenton supports the plan and has a suggestion: City Council ought to demand budget information and use it to immediately make an emergency transfer of funds out of the city’s general fund and into the library budget, to head off this crisis.

Money can be found in the funds budgeted for Mayor Palmer’s personal chauffeuring and protection squad, by eliminating the unit entirely. It serves no purpose, since Mayor Palmer is not a highly regarded public official targeted for assassination, nor is he frequently in the city.

He doesn’t even really live here.

Perhaps eliminating the special counsel position occupied by attorney Joe Alacqua or firing City Attorney Denise Lyles is in order, since the two occupy positions that seem to essentially perform the same function.

Outgoing Police Director Joseph Santiago should be ordered to turn over $136,000 to the city to pay back all of the unnecessary and free taxpayer-funded legal support he received during his residency fight earlier this year.

No other city employee being brought up for violating the city’s residency law has been afforded such an expensive perk, and the return of the money would go a long way towards putting the library system’s contingency plan into action.

There are many other areas of ridiculous fiscal waste where funds can be found to keep open the city’s library branches. Those areas need to be tapped immediately, so these important city institutions can remain open and continue to provide somewhat of a bulwark against this great city’s social ills.

If this does not occur, then residents rallying around the libraries need to realize that the city government is no longer serving their interests.

Perhaps a recall petition is in order, which would bring Mayor Palmer and the rest of the city exactly what The Trentonian said he is working to head off – a revolution.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Give the mayor his revolution

  1. Nicholas Stewart

    [It’s my responsibility to make certain that we provide services for Trenton residents,” Palmer said.

    Palmer placed a portion of the blame on library officials whom he said are responsible for their operating budget.

    Trenton faces a budget deficit that ranges from $8 million to as high as $24 million.

    “Right now we are in terrible financial shape. We can’t tax our way out of this. City departments are going to have to change the way they do business. That’s a fact that we need to accept,” Palmer said.

    Palmer called “disturbing” news about a potential shutdown of library services at four branches.

    Palmer suggested that library officials could correct its financial difficulties via a fundraiser.] – Taken from article above.

    I’m not surprised to read the news in this article. The TPL bombshell exploded yesterday after a news story was published stating that newly hired Trenton Library Director Bray sent an email to TPL employees telling them that starting November 1, the four satellite branches of the library system will be closed to the public and a number of employees would be laid off.

    But, nothing’s final claims Mayor Palmer.

    Of course nothing’s final. You have to gauge the public response first. Uproar may deliver a solution. Not the way we’re going. Following the claim that “nothing was final,” the mayor of Trenton, Douglas H. Palmer, continues to deflect responsibility from himself by blaming our Governor. Mayor Palmer states that it’s Gov. Corzine’s fault that cities are receiving less aid from the State of NJ.

    I would be an advocate for the same. It’s clear that urban governments are incompetent far more often than they are competent.

    Take, for example, Mayor Palmer admitting owning the “responsibility to ensure Trenton residents have services.” That sounds like he claims to be the chief executive of the City of Trenton. Well, isn’t a chief executive tasked with being accountable for the entities operating budget? The last time I checked, CEOs were held accountable for falling short on goals and projects. CEOs are also accountable when revenue streams dry up and entities face deficits. Yes, deficits, too, can demonstrate a real failure in management. Unless of course the deficit was planned – then it would be considered a great success.

    But, who plans a deficit, anyway?

    I feel like there is something else I should add to this. Oh!

    That’s right; Trenton is suffering its own deficit right now. A deficit that could be a magnitude of $10,000,000.00 or more. Originally, the deficit was totaled to nearly $30,000,000.00 but, has been forecasted to be $17MM less because of anticipated revenue from the sale of Trenton’s alleged water infrastructure outside of the city limits in surrounding municipalities. Never mind the fact that once you sell this asset, it will never be reacquired.

    Finally, to add insult to injury, Mayor Palmer goes on to deflect even more blame onto the Library Board.

    Can it get worse?

    So everyone knows, Mayor Palmer hand picks and appoints (with little advice and consent from our City Council) the Library Board and the Library Director.
    So, in the end, doesn’t that still place the responsibility on the mayor? Considering, his choices to fill positions are responsible for the shortfall, I’d place all of the blame on Mayor Palmer and his administration. But, that’s just me.

    It’s time for people to stop accepting this mess we call Trenton government. Trenton can have better. Trenton deserves better.

    We don’t have money for our libraries but, we have money to waste on lawyers to defend unnecessary litigation. Litigation that is the result of decisions made by this mess we call Trenton government. We don’t have money for libraries but, we have a surplus created by our water utility that the administration uses to pay superfluous employees and distribute city wealth to friends of the administration in the form of wasteful contracts and no-show positions within the administration.

    I support those in opposition to the library branches being closed indefinitely. However, I can’t stress enough what has to be done to keep the branches open: tell your City Council men and women to stop allowing the administration to continue to spend city monies like it’s going out of style. Call Councilwoman at-Large Codelia Staton, Councilmen at-Large Paul Pintella, and Manny Segura, Councilwoman Lartigue, Councilmen Coston, Bethea, and Melone and tell them to stop approving administration expenditures for attorney fees, engineering firm charges, and equipment such as vehicles until the city’s administration begins to clean itself up.

    The city’s administration is so top heavy with employees in directorships and aide positions that it’s no wonder we don’t have the money left in our operating budget to fund necessities such as the library. The surplus generated by the water utility is even withdrawn from city coffers in order to afford unnecessary administration positions.

    I end with this: If you care about the ability to enter your local Trenton Library Branch, ask your Councilman or woman to step up their performance and put a stop to the waste at the top. Tell them to stop allowing Mayor Palmer and his administration to waste your money. Because in the end, anything coming from the State of NJ is your money, too. The Gov. is trying to send a message. It isn’t to ask louder.

    I’ll give you a hint. It’s to be more responsible with state funds. Get it? Be responsible. Exactly what, as described in his own words, Mayor Douglas H. Palmer is not. It’s not his fault that the city of Trenton, while under his leadership, is suffering such tough fiscal difficulties. It’s not his fault.

  2. Old Mill Hill

    It would be lovely to see a serious recall movement get underway.

    Unfortunately, we may have missed the boat and will have to wait out the end of this current term of Doug Palmer, “Perpetual Mayor.”

    If that is the case, we need to make sure that June 30, 2010 marks the last day of Palmer’s tenure…regardless of whether he runs again or not.

    And the same goes for Mr. “PowerPoint” Pintella and any other Palmer confederates.

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