We've been operating here in Trenton without our neighborhood libraries for several months now, but we're finally on the precipice of finding out if they can reopen. I hope they do: libraries are a mark of a civilized culture, and Trenton has lost enough already.
Chances are you've heard or read about the volley between the library director, Kimberly Matthews and the mayor's office; on Monday, the mayor's office went public with the exchange and issued a bizarrely written 2-page press release. Sure, this raised questions; namely: how can the mayor guarantee the money to the library without a) agreeing to the amount, and b) putting that amount in writing?
But for me, there are other pressing issues:
1) Is Lauren Ira really making $83,600?
Laura Ira is Mack's spokeswoman, and she should be ashamed that her name is on that convoluted press release. I'm sure working for someone like Mack is confusing, but she gets paid the big bucks to digest the madness so it makes sense for all of us dummies. I'd be happy to do her job for free*, and though I don't imagine Mack would keep me for more than an hour or so.
2) How is it that Mack cleaned house when he took office, and removed several effective and respected people from their departments; created a complete circus with the firing of former deputy clerk (and former councilwoman) Cordelia Staton; and lined up just shy of 400 city employees — including cops, firefighters, and inspectors — for the firing squad, yet failed to ask the Library's board of trustees to resign? Tony! Hello! You're missing an opportunity for some more theatrics! It's not like the current board has done much to help the library system in Trenton, though, I'm not sure if whatever Mack makes of the mess will be better, based on his current track record.
* I offered to work for free in the city's sign shop earlier this year, but never heard back from anyone. I suspect I won't hear back from Mack on my offer to work with him on press relations either, even though I can save the city $83+k. I have all the wrong friends.
To the City of Trenton
1 day ago