City Council will be asked to approve the appointment of Jerry Harris as director of housing and economic development Tuesday night, in what will amount to an exercise of one of the body’s statutory checks on the city’s executive branch.
It may be nice to see the city administration actually bring one of its acting directors into council for advice and consent, but in reality this entire process is tainted by the way the administration regularly manipulates the appointment process to put directors in place for long periods of time without the consent of a council that just doesn’t seem to care.
Unless the Ruins of Trenton is out of the loop, it appears that acting Fire Director Richard Laird has been in his “acting” position way past the legal 90-day period for such “temporary” appointments.
Yet the man continues to take in a city salary and lead the city fire department, while simultaneously maintaining questionable city residency and running city vehicles into the ground driving back and forth from his Jersey Shore residence.
There’s also “acting” Business Administrator Dennis Gonzalez, who has consistently irritated City Council members and city residents alike with his public displays of arrogance and his abrasive personality.
Given the misgivings that several council members have about both of these high-level city officials, it is quite possible that the Palmer administration is deliberately avoiding putting either candidate in front of City Council for a real advice and consent session.
Simply put, both men stand a good chance of failing to pass muster with the city’s legislative body.
The administration, however, is not the solely at fault for this most grievous perversion of the city code and Trenton’s laws.
City Council is also guilty.
Their guilt, as usual, stems from their inability to act as an effective check on the executive branch, in not demanding that the administration either bring forth the directors for advice and consent or cease providing them with compensation and benefits out of the pockets of Trenton taxpayers.
A real City Council, acting in a true government of laws, would not allow itself to be marginalized and rendered moot by a conniving executive and his gang of henchman.