City Council has once again been receiving false information from administration officials regarding city business.
Last week, South Ward Councilman Jim Coston proposed an ordinance setting the number of positions of various ranks in the Trenton Fire Department, as a safeguard against further tampering with the already stretched-thin organization by administration officials seeking to cut positions as a cost-saving measure.
During deliberations prior to the ordinance’s eventual tabling, City Attorney Denise Lyles told City Council members that while they had an ability to set the number of various ranks within the city’s police department, they did not have similar powers when it came to the fire department.
Such a position is plainly false, and it calls into question the validity and soundness of nearly any vote taken by City Council following the delivery of advice from Trenton’s Law Department.
Dozens of New Jersey’s cities have organizational ordinances setting the number of various ranks within those cities’ fire departments. Any fool with a computer and a Web browser can find those ordinances in city codes online.
That same fool, if they were to dig hard enough, would find state law that clearly explains that the governing body of any municipality does indeed have the power to regulate the fire department, through the adoption of ordinances that mandate numbers of certain ranks and positions.
This fire department misinformation bit is the latest in a long line of incidents where high-paid members of the city administration provide questionable information to council members, in what appears to be an attempt to influence the city’s representatives into making certain decisions about certain pieces of legislation.
The only problem is that council members don’t seem to care about this, and nearly never call out these law department officials to hold them accountable.
When that happens, all of Trenton loses.