Notes From a Debacle
8 hours ago
Hi Mr. Melone,
I read that Gang Consultant Barry Colicelli's contract is up for renewal tonight, and I can't help but wonder if the money could be better spent elsewhere.
My first concern, of course, is public safety, and his track record, plain and simple. I do not believe he has demonstrated any positive change on Trenton's violent crime rate in the last several years; the perception among the citizens in Trenton is that we are not safer for Mr. Colicelli's business arrangement with the city; we feel that way, as I'm sure you do too, because we are not safer at this particular time in Trenton's history. Overall crime is down, but violent crime is up, and that may not be Mr. Colicelli's fault, but he certainly isn't helping, despite his supposed expertise with the criminal element.
Another, disturbing concern is from a professional point of view. Mr. Colicelli's invoices over the last several years are all nearly identical, with almost the same details on each one, as if it's automated, with the same dollar amount plugged in at the bottom. I am an independent consultant for a large medical publisher and I must provide an extremely detailed invoice each time I submit, or else my check is held up. I must itemize everything: what projects I work on, the dates I worked on those projects, the number of hours spent on each project, the number of revisions, the amount of communication needed to get the project complete. Like Mr. Colicelli, I wind up billing my client roughly the same each month, as well, but the details of each invoice are considerably different from month to month, because the circumstances and scope of the projects change all the time. I work with paper, in the private sector, in uptight corporate America, where everything is quite predictable. Mr. Colicelli works with the public (I think?), and in an area that focuses on a very specific, unpredictable criminal element. It is unfathomable to me that the details of his invoices should be the same each month.
It is frustrating, of course, to spend so much time on each invoice, but it's part of the territory, and I see the good business sense in it as well: my client can look to improve efficiency, and offer personalized services where appropriate based on the minutiae in my invoices. It seems that a municipal government should demand, on behalf of its taxpayers and citizenry, the same kind of accountability from its consultants as well, especially from someone in Mr. Colicelli's position, a man whose contract demands a hefty rate, but also one who has been entrusted with public safety and well-being, and gets several costly perks (car, phone, office), also on the taxpayers' dime, in these financially difficult times.
Mr. Colicelli was brought in as a specialist to combat our gang problem, and from where I sit, I'm certainly not sold on his track record; as a taxpayer, I resent all he gets for what little he gives us; as a professional consultant, I am appalled at his invoicing techniques; and as a proud resident of Trenton, I am so very weary of taking in Newark's detritus, while they drive off each evening in our cars, with our gas, using our cell phones. They mock us all the way home. I ask you, as my representative, to put an end to it.