Mayor Doug Palmer is not listed in the Trenton phone book.

Art Holland was.  And so was Carmen Armenti.

Doug Palmer is not listed in the Trenton phone book.

His wife is.  Only at the Hunterdon County address.

The Mayor of Trenton's home address and telephone number is not listed in the local phone book or on the City of Trenton website. 

All of Trenton's City Council members are listed in the local phone book, not to mention on the official City of Trenton website.

Doug Palmer isn't.

How about your mayor?  Can you look him or her up in the phone book?  Trentonians can't. 


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City Clerk Interview Baffles 'Other' Candidate PDF Print E-mail
Written by William Trent   
Thursday, 27 September 2007

Trenton’s recent solicitations for qualified candidates for City Clerk prompted 19-year resident, advertising executive and civic association co-president Bill Kearney, Jr. to submit his resume. spoke with Kearney about the experience, the absurdly brief interview and the apparently pre-destined appointment of a candidate vetted by the administration.


Although the application process had been discussed and dissected for months, the actual window of opportunity to submit one’s name for consideration was very small.  

A number of weeks after submitting the required documents, the council asked acting clerk Penelope Carter to call Kearney to set a 6:15 p.m. interview with City Council on Tuesday, September 11, 2007.

The meeting ran late and very long. According to the agenda, council was to go into an executive session to address ‘personnel matters’ as the second item that evening. Councilwoman Lartigue left prior to 6:15 because of a family emergency. By about 8:40 Councilman Melone was overheard saying that he “had to get going”.  After completing the entire evening’s agenda out of order, the remaining council members moved to go into Executive Session at 8:45 and asked Kearney to remain. 

Two and-a-half hours after the appointed time, and with lighthearted apology, the remaining council members reminded Kearney that “it’s just how these meetings go.” They thanked him for coming in and noted his ‘impressive’ business and management experience.

Council President Paul Pintella reminded Kearney that City Clerk is a very important position involving elections and keeping the great seal of the city.  Kearney said he had read over the official job description and had a full understanding of the position’s requirements, including taking classes to attain certification. Councilwoman Staton noted that Kearney had no records management experience. Kearney related his experience in budget management, client services and strategic planning as being very relevant. 

Councilman Segura pointed out to Kearney, a longtime city resident, that today the majority of Trenton residents were black and Hispanic.  Segura wondered if Kearney, who is white, was “ok with that.”

Kearney’s response was that he had chosen to buy a home and live in Trenton specifically because of its diversity.  This writer learned that Kearney possesses some Spanish language skills he taught himself years ago.  A fact that was never brought out in the interview. 

Councilman Coston noted that he was confident that Kearney could handle the job and had no further questions. Councilman Bethea had no further questions.

Council President Pintella smiled and said “You’re getting off easy this evening Mr. Kearney, it’s been a long meeting and we thank you for coming in.” The obligatory cordialities followed.

When Kearney left the council chambers, he became aware that the recently hired “Assistant City Clerk,” Ms. Juanita Joyner, was seated alone just outside the door – surely in earshot of Kearney’s entire interview. At that point Kearney was not aware of Ms. Joyner’s participation in the interview process.

In addition, Kearney was baffled that for such an “important city position,” he was given only about 10 minutes of the partial council’s time. He added, “If my experience was that off-base, why did I get a call to come in? If it was relevant experience, why not dig deeper in an interview?”

Kearney said he had no doubt that this was a ‘courtesy’ interview and that a decision had already been made, but he felt it was important to try in any case.  

His hunch appears to have been correct. The position of City Clerk was given to Ms. Joyner, who had joined the Clerk’s Office in the recently revived Assistant Municipal Clerk position.

“I have no regrets, and am sure Ms. Joyner will do a wonderful job,” said Kearney.

“In the end, it appears that council had little to do with the decision, it appears that it was the administration’s call for some reason. I wish them all well and will continue to actively participate in Trenton’s civic affairs.”

Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 September 2007 )
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