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.