Few Americans will ever see civic corruption as up close and personal as Trentonians have recently. Now that our 3 ½ year ordeal has been ended by the Federal Government our first inclination as citizens is to react. I know I have already, especially at the public figures who supported or refused to denounce Tony Mack even in the face of his obvious misconduct as Mayor, even before his arrest.
But we have only 5 months until we elect a new government. That new Mayor will have all the latitude in the world to reorganize and reinvent Trenton’s administration. He will be able hire new people and perhaps let some poor performers go. He will be able to close down operations that don’t make sense anymore or aren’t critical to our functioning as a city. He’ll be able to put in place systemic changes to our tax, development and policing policy.
What we need now is an Acting Mayor who will allow his Directors to be open and transparent, who will question spending and who will put on a trustworthy face to the rest of the world, especially the State. We don’t need new policy from an Acting Mayor. We don’t need new programs. There simply isn’t time. With the exception of a few dismissals of employees who have deliberately ignored Council’s directives and needlessly withheld information, there should be no mass firings. Instead, an Acting Mayor would do well to help the candidates prepare their policies by opening up the books and processes to those campaigns.
All indications so far seem to indicate Council President Muschal will take the “steady stewardship” approach. Let’s hope he keeps a cool head and does his part to insure the public makes the smartest choice it can for our next Mayor.