Santiago out

Police Director Joseph Santiago is officially out of office.

The Douglas H. Palmer administration oddly chose to announce that the director resigned from his position on Monday, but he was actually ordered to leave by two separate courts that ruled that Mr. Santiago, with the assistance of Mayor Palmer, had broken the city’s residency law and should be ousted for his actions.

Mayor Palmer, a staunch defender of residency whose administration regularly used investigators in the residency prosecutions of other employees, first said he had the power to set aside city law for favored employees like Mr. Santiago, and then unsuccessfully argued that the residency law was invalid.

Neither position got any play in court, with the invalidity argument actually succeeding in getting a judge to throw out the portion of the law that allowed legitimate residency waivers for employees.

Today’s announcement comes after weeks of rumor and innuendo that had the mayor using some sort of last-minute gimmick to allow Mr. Santiago to stay on, either through the use of an “acting” or “interim” title or through a feigned move to Trenton.

But Mr. Santiago had not moved into Trenton from his Morris County estate, which remains occupied, and instead chose to label his ouster a resignation, amid continuing criticism and scrutiny from his and Mayor Palmer’s many opponents.

Capt. Fred Reister, a sworn officer exempt from residency, serving as acting director until a replacement is found, according to The Trentonian.

Anyone pleased with today’s development is urged to attend Amici Milano in Chambersburg any time after 2:30 p.m. on Thursday for a celebration and civic gathering.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Santiago out

  1. Old Mill Hill

    Thank you, Greg and all of the co-plaintiffs. It is a shame that you had to go to court at the taxpayers expense to get the Mayor to uphold the law.

    It is just too bad that so much energy, effort and cash had to be expended to force Palmer and Santiago to do the right thing.

    Think of what the city could have done; where we could be if we didn’t have to fight this fight.

    Again, thank you, your friends and George Dougherty.

  2. westwrdguy57

    I am very pleased with today’s development. Just last week Palmer seemed pretty confident about some plan he had to keep Santiago going on here and was ready to announce it soon.

    And today, finally they yield to the court decision and back off. I don’t know, but I’m a bit of a skeptic about most things in life that seem too good. But, maybe this is the end and we have seen the last of him. Don’t let the door kick you in the ***.

    It’s a little ironic, but I read a column about the Paterson, NJ police director, Michael Walker, who also resigned, but willingly, just today. There was some conflict he had with the mayor of that city, Jose Torres, and this was why he quit. I’m sure there is much more to it all. Problems and differences among city council members, Mr Walker, and the mayor were at issue. There were even problems between the mayor and the director. Except for the mayor/director problem that existed there, serious conflicts still existed between the administration and city council.

    After reading about that, I think even having a police director only creates more problems, and not only between the administration and police department. I don’t believe most other states ever heard of the term police director. It’s always the Chief of Police who is the head of it all. So why bother creating another unneeded position with yet another six figure salary for a struggling city to bear?

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