Is there a Chief of Staff in the house?

TRENTON – So Trenton Mayor Tony Mack wants to bring on Paul Sigmund as Chief of Staff.  Remember this office?  It was Renee Haynes’ position in the Palmer administration…the one Mayor Tony Mack said he wasn’t going to fill.

Besides the obvious broken campaign promise, another point comes to mind.

It is based on information in today’s Times of Trenton story and regards Mr. Sigmund’s stated intention of signing an apartment lease to comply with the city residency ordinance.

If I remember correctly, the Chief of Staff takes over as mayor when Mack is out of town.  That point becomes a big, fat red flag if the office is filled with someone who is simply “signing a lease” to comply with residency.  And what’s worse, this is a red flag that adversaries will take advantage of, quite easily.

This is not a Doug Palmer situation, where there is a large, owner-occupied home that is being used, at least somewhat.

And no, I am not invoking the dreaded “L” word – lawsuit.  But a lack of legal papers doesn’t negate the fact that it will be quite easy for people to attack Mack and score quick political points.

They can attack Mack’s willingness to bend residency rules to take on a political scion with potential baggage, of all things.

Why would anyone care about this?  Sure – it’s fair to say that Mayor Mack has certainly been a deserving figure of criticism, with all of his gaffes.  But deep down, one should hope that he’ll get his act together and help Trenton.

Wouldn’t such a turnaround be easier without distractions, like bringing in people whose residency, name, and past will become political fodder?

It’s not even about residency…even if Sigmund accidentally made it so with his newspaper comments.  This guy has deep political roots, and they’re from Princeton, not Trenton, and that has already made many uneasy.  There is the whole “whoops, I was seriously injured when I rode on the outside of a NJ Transit train” incident, as well.

Instead of focusing on the residency technicality, I am wondering aloud…maybe, after all the failed nominees and officials, Mack should look for a strings- and backage-free candidate who comes from a place called Trenton.

Just a thought…


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