Acting Business Administrator Dennis Gonzalez proved Councilman Manny Segura’s point Tuesday night after the councilman said that the city’s current budget problems and the Palmer administration’s chronic mishandling of the city’s finances are related to the disrespect shown to the body by administration officials.
He did so by making a variety of disrespectful gestures and snickering to himself, as he often does, as a councilman duly elected by the city’s residents made his comments.
Unfortunately City Council’s mere complaints about such behavior do not get the body’s members off the hook when it comes to the disrespect the executive branch pays to its legislative counterpart and the resulting damage to our government such a relationship causes.
The only appropriate response to such disrespect is for council to use its legal power to bring Mr. Gonzalez forward for questioning, and if the body so deems, remove him from office with a two-thirds vote.
In fact, cause for such a removal does not need to be based solely on Mr. Gonzalez’s tendency to disrespect City Council members and residents alike.
There are far more concrete reasons to remove this arrogant man from his position.
Mr. Gonzalez’s initially unauthorized hiring of a crony to take an unnecessary assistant administrator’s position would suffice.
Council members could inquire about recent revelations from DCA officials that the pension deferral program that has plunged the city budget into a deeper quagmire was NOT mandatory, as Mr. Gonzalez and others have stated to council.
A simple request into Mr. Gonzalez’s progress in auditing the city’s vehicle fleet – presumably on the back burner – could also provide cause, if it turns out the BA is ignoring a citizen-initiated, council-supported measure that even Mayor Palmer signed into law.
The bottom line is that Mr. Gonzalez has provided City Council with a multitude of reasons for his removal from Trenton government and it would behoove our council people to act.
If they don’t, they are signaling their acceptance that they have and will continue to play second-fiddle to the executive branch, to the detriment of all in Trenton.