January 20, 2017

Takeover Tango

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New Jersey’s sinister Department of Community Affairs (if that is, in fact, its real name) has hired Jason Holt to assist in its work of taking over and fixing the grave mess that is the Atlantic City municipal government.

This is a curious hiring decision, since, up until a few days ago, Holt had been business administrator for–wait for it–the municipal government of Atlantic City itself, which raises a question or two.

Was the Atlantic City government really incompetent, as Governor Christie has repeatedly asserted? And if so, why is the State Department of Community of Affairs hiring the city’s allegedly incompetent personnel to staff its takeover team?

By sheer luck, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Amy Rosenberg seems to have wondered the same thing and reports that a spokesman for Christie, “declined to answer a question about whether Holt’s hire undercut repeated assertions by Christie that Atlantic City’s government was incompetent.”

There you have it.

Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said he hired Holt for his administration on the strength of his “extreme intellect and professionalism” (not a shared affinity for bowties). But it’s less clear what the state gets out of it.

Later in her story, Amy Rosenberg quotes Assemblyman Chris Brown, one of the de facto voices of the resistance, who offered this summary.

“They sent down [Jeffrey] Chiesa who is supposed to be the expert, who rejected the experts’ plan in part put together by Holt, and is now hiring Holt because he doesn’t have the expertise to do what they said Holt doesn’t have the expertise to do. He winds up hiring the city’s expert.”

We’re all struggling to find a pithy summary of what’s obnoxious about this.

But remember when the Washington Redskins were about to play the Giants, and Washington signed ex-Giants QB Andre’ Woodson to their practice squad right before the 2009 season opener? “I have seen it done. A guy doesn’t get in the door two seconds, and he is in a classroom being grilled,” Coach Coughlin said at the time. And maybe that’s the right analogy.

For more tales of sleeping with the enemy, see our story on Acacia Financial.




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