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Monday, April 2, 2007

Layoffs, suspension may pack Council tonight

The Assemblyman's Mayor's "non-retaliatory" suspension of Police Chief Ed Santiago and the layoffs of numerous City employees may bring out crowds to the City Council agenda-setting session this evening.

Rumors were swirling over the weekend that representatives of the police chiefs' association would be on hand to question the Administration's proposal to suspend the Chief -- and why the Chief's right to a hearing was overlooked.

Also, it is rumored the PMEA, the union representing rank-and-file City employess will be present to protest the way in which the Administration's layoff plan has been structured.

Although the layoffs were contemplated in the budget process -- and hence should not really be a surprise -- the way in which they are being carried out has raised questions.

Though it was flat-out stated in adopting the budget that reductions were to be made in the Inspections Division -- though why Inspections rather than another? -- the
Assemblyman's and Mayor's team will have a tough time explaining why the wife of an Inspections Division worker, who herself works at Dudley House, is having her hours reduced to part-time.

Can this be defended as "non-retaliatory"?

Especially when City Hall is abuzz with talk that the Assemblyman came to City Hall the day after the Board of Ed filing deadline and personally threatened David Graves -- Inspections Division employee, longtime parent activist, and former Zoning Board chair -- with the loss of his job over filing to run for the school board?

The City Engineer is also on the layoff list. Will it cost the taxpayers more to replace him with someone else favored by one of the parties to whom the Assemblyman owes a political debt? Or to replace him with a contracted service -- again to be provided by someone to whom the Assemblyman owes a political debt?

Add to this mix a news conference with Hispanic TV stations set by the Latin American Coalition for this afternoon, alleging the Chief's suspension is racially motivated, and you have all the ingredients of a classic brouhaha.

"O, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!"

NOTE: Because of the possibility of an overflow crowd at tonight's 7:30 PM Council meeting, the VENUE may be changed from City Hall Library to another location. Call the City Clerk's office at (908) 753-3222 for more information.

-- Dan Damon

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Anonymous said...

Come now would the Assemblyman/Mayor do anything in appropriate with regards to the Chief and lay-offs in the City. What is unfortunate is that I as many others where willing to give this administration a chance to prove it's campaign slogan "UNITY IN THE CITY" but we have yet to see any. We have seen highly qualified people leave their positions with the City because of pressure from this Administration and the Assemblyman. They have brought in others at high salaries who milked the City for the fist half of this Administration and then moved on, leaving a lot of unanswered question as to where money has gone too and large sums paid for services that have not been done or poorly done. Then we have others who are just pawns. I must say this is not a personal attack against the Public Saftey Director, but for someone who is in trusted with the safety of this City many of the steps you have taken do not benefit this city or it's citizens. They whim and or vendetta of the Mayor/Assemblyman should not be your major concern.
Where are all those who cried for an external audit of the City when McWilliams was in office and accused him of miss using the "Office of the Mayor". Where are BG, PT the PSBA all those who would show up regularly to CC meeting to blast the Administration for what the called inappropriate spending and the high salaries at City Hall. Where are they should we take their silence on current issues at City Hall as saying that they were/are pawns of the Assemblyman or just paid hacks of the Administration/Assemblyman. There is an old saying that nothing lasts forever and the tide always turns.

Anonymous said...

Do the PMEA members believe that they will get fair representation from the union President who has very close ties to the Mayor/Assemblyman. She should be removed along with her husband who is President of the Police union.