Monday, March 10, 2008

Director's Residency in Court

Residency – once such a burning issue for highly paid officials in Plainfield – is proving to be a thorny issue now in Trenton.

As reported in The Star-Ledger, Trenton Police Director Joseph Santiago is facing a judge’s decision on his refusal to move to Trenton and Mayor Doug Palmer’s backing of his refusal. If the judge decides Joseph Santiago must take residency and Santiago continues to live 50 miles away from Trenton, he could lose his job.

Heaven forfend that he should come knocking on the Queen City’s door, where residency has been waived by the City Council for department heads who live in Nutley and Rahway and former ones who lived in Jersey City and Piscataway. The city administrator apparently hasn’t moved to Plainfield either.

Even the mayor got a pass when a judge ruled that she made up her required four years’ prior residency in dribs and drabs over an unspecified amount of time. After all, the city’s special charter did not say it had to be four years’ prior residency all in a row, now did it?

A local merchant reminded us that we could have Joseph Santiago’s motto embroidered on jackets, caps, totes or practically anything else. Maybe a security blanket from Palmer?

In case you didn’t see it before, after talking about transparency and accountability, Director Santiago told the council on March 3, “The only thing that gives politics a bad name is people who practice it poorly.” And by the way, the reason he has to live 50 miles away, as recounted in The Star-Ledger, is that Palmer issued a waiver because of “alleged threats against Santiago” from unnamed subordinates.

A leader of men – but perhaps not a great leader or a dear leader – Director Santiago’s fate will emerge within a week or two.

Meanwhile, top officials here needn’t worry about moving into Plainfield. They’re set until 2010 or maybe longer, if the mayor gets a second term and the council continues to be biddable.

--Bernice Paglia


Post a Comment

<< Home