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Tony Mack Doesn't Care

Over the weekend and into this morning, we have been reading more about the roller coaster into hell that we are all riding in the City of Trenton, under the Administration of our current mayor Tony F. Mack.

The Trenton Times Editorial Board is devoting much more attention to the City’s affairs and the foibles of the Administration lately. Yesterday, an editorial expressed the hope that the meeting last week with law enforcement reps from the State, County and City signifies more than a temporary, short term band-aid to the oozing wound of violent crime in Trenton; they look for long-term solutions that of necessity must include more police manpower on the street.

This morning, there is a news article about the sad state of the city’s Inspections Department. It is short-handed after the last round of layoffs and several retirements. Permits for construction and other work stack up, unpaid by contractors due to the lack of staff in the department to pay for them. The city continues to use an outside company to perform inspections, in spite of a City Council vote that denied a contract to that company. Vacancies for open positions are unfilled, despite their inclusion in current budget projections and lists of approved staffing. The current “Acting” Inspections Director “[Cleveland] Thompson said that he’s submitted requests to fill some of the posts, but that his pleas have yielded no response from Mayor Tony Mack’s administration.”  And, as usual, City Communications Director Lauren Ira failed to respond to written questions from Times reporter Matt Fair on the matter. Since the only way to rebuild Trenton is, well, to literally Re-Build Trenton, the neglect shown Mr. Thompson’s requests to staff his department, and the contempt the Mayor shows Council by – once again – ignoring their direction in the use of outside contractors should be a scandal.

And on Friday the Times ran another editorial, taking Mayor Mack to task for his his field trip to New York City to ring the Opening Bell at the NASDAQ Exchange. The Times took Mack’s explanation for the trip, as explained by Ms. Ira, at face value. She told the Times, “Mayor Mack hopes to promote Trenton as a city that is repositioning itself to 21st century development opportunities.”

The Times would have none of that:

While the mayor’s long-range vision is admirable and his quest to attract developers to the city is commendable, it’s doubtful that any developer would seriously consider beginning large-scale construction in a city where a motorist can be gunned down just a few hundred feet from the Statehouse.

Before ascending global platforms, the mayor should get down to the basics of running a city fraught with fear and violence.

I agree with the Times Editorial Board that the Mayor’s trip was a waste of time. I am just not nearly as generous when it comes to accepting the stated rationale for the trip. The Opening Bell ceremony was all about promoting Tony Mack, not Trenton.

The Introduction given by the Exchange’s Vice Chair was all about Mack’s accomplishments in office.  Mack’s remarks focused on his accomplishments and his initiatives (“Live Where You Work?” Really? Has the Mayor made any progress with that? Did he ever talk with anyone in the Governor’s Office or Legislature since he announced that plan in August?), and less on Trenton as a whole.

But the shameless self-promotional aspect of this whole NASDAQ folly can be read in the press release that was issued by the Exchange in advance of the event. If the main purpose of the event was “to promote Trenton as a city that is repositioning itself to 21st century development opportunities,” in Ms. Ira’s words, you couldn’t tell that from the release. The release is all about Tony F. Mack, and not one thing about Trenton and its “21st century development opportunities.” The NASDAQ release is, in fact, nothing more than a cut-and-paste from Mack’s campaign biography.

And, in what has been unremarked up until now, but should not be allowed to pass, Tony Mack has long padded his resume and accomplishments.

“He is pursuing a doctoral degree in Education Administration.” Really? While he is Mayor? Where is he enrolled for his Doctorate? What is the status of his program? What is his thesis topic? Who is his adviser?

“His current political affiliations include the Mercer County Democratic Caucus…” Really? I don’t know what that is. I am a Democratic County Committeeman, and I haven’t heard of a “Democratic Caucus.”

This page of County Elected Officials in the Party does not include Tony, and neither does this page of  Party Officials. Since Trenton’s form of city government is officially Non-Partisan, Tony Mack can’t even call himself a Democratic Mayor. He has had no current role in the city’s Committee since he was voted out of the Chairman’s seat years ago, and none in the County since a County Convention failed to endorse him for re-election as Mercer Freeholder four years ago.

However, what should be most shameful is this statement: “Trenton’s youth is near and dear to the Mayor’s heart, he established the Tony Mack Cares Foundation, an organization that assists students with academic achievement and career development.” For Tony Mack to continue to promote his Tony Mack Cares Foundation is a joke. This is a defunct foundation that did little, if anything, to assist students or anyone else.

GuideStar.org, a clearing house for information, financial reports and tax filings for non-profits nationwide [Registration Required], says this about the Tony Mack Cares Foundation:

  • This organization is not registered with the IRS.
  • This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.
  • This organization’s exempt status was automatically revoked by the IRS for failure to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for 3 consecutive years. Further investigation and due diligence are warranted.

And, for the one year that a tax report was actually filed, in 2003, the Foundation reported Zero Dollars in Revenue and Zero Dollars in Expenses.

You know, it’s one thing to fib about one’s academic credentials, professional affiliations, or even one’s accomplishments. But to lie about charitable work? With kids? I don’t even know how anyone can be cold enough to do that.

It’s probably easy to distort and pad your resume  in the provincial confines of our little Capital City, where such things are, sadly, probably more common than they should be. But Tony Mack is going Global! He went to the NASDAQ Exchange representing us. He entertains fantasies of taking his act on the road, around the world, with his “International Business Commission.”

He should be mindful of all the personal baggage he carries when he is selling -  not Trenton, not our City and its potential – but only Tony F. Mack.

I suppose Tony Mack just Doesn’t Care, after all.


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