So, is Joe Santiago the first and only member of the Palmer administration to not have a bond fide, full time Trenton residence?

Or has this disregard for the city's ordinance been a long-standing policy?

Business Administrator Jane Feigenbaum owns a house in the Mill Hill neighborhood and has registered to vote in Trenton.  Still, neighbors say she seldom visits the house more than two or three times a week.  The local riff-raff are seen hanging out on her front porch more often than she is seen visiting; the yard gets terribly overgrown each summer; and the building is in need of some basic maintenance.

Assistant Business Administrator Dennis Gonzalez also used to live in Mill Hill.  But he sold that house and moved his family to the suburbs when he left City Hall to work for the ill-fated Trenton Economic Development Corporation.  With the collapse of that entity, Gonzalez came back to the Palmer Administration but didn't move back inot the city to do so.  It wasn't until a civic group started to question his residencey that Gonzalez purchased a home in the city.

Irv Bradley, a croney of Santiago's from the Newark Police Department, was recently appointed as Communications Director (the radio room).  The Rahway resident allegedly has a deposit on a high-rise apartment near City Hall, but he was appointed in violation of basic NJ Department of Personnel Civil Service rules.

A former Communications Director  allegedly lived in Trenton, but never gave up his home in Jackson Township, NJ.

"Acting Fire Director" Rich Laird doesn't live in Trenton either.

And if this isn't enough evidence of the Palmer attitude towards the City's residency law, what about the attorney approached to be appointed head municipal judge?

As the story goes, when the subject was brought up, she reiminded the Palmer representative that she wasn't a city resident.  "There are ways around that," she was told.

History shows the Mayor doesn't care about the very law's he swore to uphold.


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The Palmer Administration vs. Capital Health Systems PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Forester   
Friday, 21 September 2007

An administration-sponsored resolution awarding a city contract to an outside firm has been seen as some as more ill will between Mayor Palmer and Capital Health Systems, an important Trenton employer that drew the ire of the Palmer administration when it announced it planned on moving one of its two Trenton operations to Hopewell.

The resolution means the Trenton business failed to receive a city contract despite a cheaper cost and the fact that CHS employs many Trentonians.

In a week that saw Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer in New York and Washington D.C. - places other than Trenton - the City Council saw it fit Thursday to award a contract for the administration department’s employee health services to an outside firm, rather than Trenton’s Capital Health Systems.

It seems Palmer’s friends on the governing body thought it would be appropriate to help the  mayor carry out what some are calling revenge on the city business, by giving a contract previously held by CHS to Hamilton Township’s Robert Wood Johnson company.

Palmer’s officials on the administration said the city had complaints about waiting for services from Capital Health Systems, problems getting documents from them during litigation, and some other issues that helped them make the recommendation to give the contract to Robert Wood Johnson.

Does this really make sense?

Common sense says wait times for services will go up even more when city employees – who should be living in Trenton – are forced to drive to Hamilton to get medical treatment.

And it almost seems hypocritical to hear complaints about openness from an administration that is often very secretive, frequently withholding information from city council members, who are then forced to use OPRA requests to get information.

One time when Mayor Palmer was in Trenton, he had a public dispute with Capital Health Systems when they announced their decision to keep their business from going bankrupt while providing charity care in Trenton, by relocating one of their two large Trenton operations to Hopewell.

There was immediate exchange of ill will, and Mayor Palmer promptly reversed his old policy of eating up as much Regional Contribution Agreement money as possible by accepting the affordable housing obligations of Trenton’s wealthier neighbors.  He told Hopewell they could keep around $3 million of RCA money that would have come from the affordable housing obligation of such large project like the construction of the new Hopewell hospital.

Despite these truths, the City Council voted 4 to 3 to award the $338,000 contract, with the yes votes coming from the Palmer Slate plus another yes vote from West Ward Councilwoman Annette Lartigue.  Despite frequent council emphasis on always looking to provide city contracts to city businesses, it seems like this time they didn't stick to that policy.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 September 2007 )
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