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.

Home arrow Editorials arrow Editorials arrow Is his journey really necessary?
Is his journey really necessary? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jon Naar   
Friday, 28 December 2007
As I testified to the Trenton City Council December 20, the cost of having our police director (PD) reside 50 miles from the city in which he works is considerable:

Assuming his vehicle gets 20 mpg, the cost of driving 100 miles a day at $3/gallon = $15/day. Assuming he works 240 days a year = 24,000 miles = $3600 for gas. Add $400 for oil = $4000. Add $1000 for wear and tear on the vehicle = $5000 a year.

In terms of the overall police department budget this is not a huge percentage but we must include the cost of removing from the atmosphere the 15,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses generated by the fuel combustion in driving 24,000 miles.

Does the PD drive himself to and from his home? If so, does his two hour daily drive render him less fit for the strenuous job of running the police department? If he is driven 100 miles a day, we must include the cost of the driver's time, including the likelihood the driver must travel extra distance to and from his/her home. This would conservatively add another $3500 to the amount we taxpayers must pay for this waiver of the law extended by the mayor to the PD. This would make a total of $8500 plus the hidden cost of offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution created by the car's fuel combustion.

On the other hand, if, as is required by the law, the PD resided in Trenton, the city would benefit in the six following ways:

1) The city would save $8500 a year and have an additional car available for more critical services.

2) The PD would either pay the city property taxes on a house he bought or pay rent to a property owner in Trenton. His family would spend at least $20,000 on food and other items purchased at local stores and restaurants.

3) The PD would get to know the neighborhoods he resides and works in by walking or bicycling, both of which would help keep him in top physical shape for his arduous duties. Or he could use public transportation, as does the mayor of New York City,

4) In so doing, the PD would see at first hand the serious threats to public safety caused by the high percentage of out-of-order streetlights, malfunctioning traffic signals, unfinished sidewalks, and other hazards that so far have escaped his and the Mayor's attention.

5) Given that a high percentage of serious crimes and public safety accidents occur at nights and on weekends and given that a PD's responsibilities are not limited to weekdays 9-5, the PD would be available to respond more rapidly to a greater number of such situations where his expertise would be most valuable.

6) By spending more time in the city the PD could avail himself and his family of Trenton's extraordinary recreational and cultural amenities, many of which are city-owned -- Cadwalader, Mill Hill, Waterfront, and other parks, Passage Theater, Ellarslie, the Old Barracks, Classics Bookshop, Gallery 125, the Marriott Hotel, Cafe Ole, City Smiles, Joe's Mill Hill Saloon, the Candlelight Lounge, and the War Memorial, to mention but a few.


In sum, in addition to having a PD obeying the legal requirements of his job, having him resident in the city where he works would bring us (and him) a significant number of benefits, including improved public safety and quality of life.


--Jon Naar

Mill Hill

Trenton, NJ

Last Updated ( Friday, 28 December 2007 )
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