The Six Million Dollar Ego, Redux

This evening, the Trentonian reports

“Mayor Tony Mack appears ready to make a controversial play for power as he contemplates blowing off $22 million in state transitional aid in order to avoid a three-member panel which would oversee a portion of city operations. Mack may instead opt for $16 million in state aid, a move that ousts state influence but potentially plunges Trenton into another budget crisis.”

This is not reported as a firm decision, but clearly looks like a calculated leak by Mack to gauge what the reaction will be, should he take the decision that he’s been publicly signaling since the provisional Transitional Aid award was announced ten days ago.

I am not going to spend any words explaining why this is a bad idea. Been there, done that. I just want to point out the utter hypocrisy in the Mayor’s position.

According to LA Parker’s article this evening, Mack is quoted as basing his opposition to the alternative $22 Million award on high principle:

“We’re still reviewing a better way to handle this matter but I cannot support a state panel that includes a member of city council. Allowing the legislative branch to have some control of executive functions is a violation of city bylaws. It’s illegal.” [Emphasis added]

The proposed 3-member review panel does NOT call for inclusion of a member of City Council, merely an appointee. The other panel members would be appointees of the State Department of Community Affairs and of the Mayor. The Mayor is either being disingenuous, or lying.

As for Council oversight of Executive functions, let me cite what I think is a highly relevant precedent. Our current City Code requires us (Section 2-74) to establish a Board of Review, whose stated function is “to review decisions of the purchasing agent with respect to the qualification, classification or reclassification of persons or business agencies applying for the same pursuant to the state law.”And when necessary, to reverse decisions of the purchasing department, part of the Executive.

Who sits on this Board? One member of City Council, and two citizen members, appointed by Council!

Purchasing, hiring: similar functions. We have one Board (which, by the way, is not active) enshrined in our code, without any objection from the Honorable Tony F. Mack. Yet now, he flies the Flag of Principle???

Give me a break!!!

I’ve said it before and will say again: Mack objects to this panel not from any highfalutin’ sense of honor, or executive principle, or separation of powers. He knows, with all of the horrible appointees and cronies he presents for office, he would be outvoted 2-1. Nearly every single time.

Mack is making a power play, pure and simple. One that will cost this city $6 Million Dollars.

4 comments to The Six Million Dollar Ego, Redux

  • Resident

    As you said, it’s all about ego.

    Or should I quote John Milton: Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.

  • Kevin

    Res – You are right. By the way, the Devil got ALL the best lines in Paradise Lost.

  • Linda

    If the Mayor blows off $22M in state aid, it just shows how little he cares about this city amd it’s taxpayers. I am so… fed up.

  • Bill

    Wow. Looks like lil boy Mack is choosing the $16million option. Now what? How do we stop this awful decision? (Short of the recall happening). I gotta get out of this hellhole city. There is not ONE thing going for the $16million option…the mayor just wants it his way,even if it IS the WRONG way!! Thanks for your insights Kevin.