South Ward Councilman George Muschal, made some shocking remarks about the nomination of Trenton’s first Black woman as police director. Muschal claimed that the mayor, Reed Gusciora, only nominate Carrol Russell as director for “political gain,” refusing to attend Gusciora's State Of The City speech.
“He’s the mayor. He can choose who he wants,” the councilman told The Trentonian during an interview. “But the bottom line is the men in blue look at him for leadership. Putting somebody in that position who wasn’t [a leader] in the police department is a slap in the face to everybody in rank-and-file.”
Muschal claims that his opinions have nothing to do with the color of Russell's skin, but that she is under-qualified for the position.
“So, I’m a racist every time I make a decision that people don’t agree on? Is that how you want to paint this picture? Because I said she’s not qualified? Come on,” he added.
Gusciora has responded to the salty councilman's claims, doubling down on his nomination.
“What political gain? Can somebody diagram that out for me?” the mayor said. “I just don’t buy into the conspiracy theories of the grassy knoll. I’ve been a legislator. Sometimes it’s their political calculations to make sure they get in your paper. I’m advancing her because it’s the right thing to do. It’s time to do something different. We need to break the good-old-boys network.”
Russell is not a rookie. She has spent 25 years in the police department and retired in late 2010 with the rank of sergeant, but for Muschal, her three years as sergeant do not count.
“And sergeant does not count,” Muschal said. “She only has three years as a sergeant. You need five years of lieutenant or better.”
The councilman's views were shared by councilwoman Robin Vaughn, “Mayor Reed Gusciora put forth an appointee who he absolutely knows, per the law, will not be confirmed and will use her lack of qualifications as a pretext to select a qualified male or white female candidate,” she wrote on Facebook. “Furthermore, he will attempt to make the case that he couldn’t find a qualified minority candidate, African American or Latino.”
During her 25 years of service, we can assume that Russell has experienced more than her fair share of men like Muschal who choose to undermine her achievements at every turn. But it was the "good-old-boys network" that lumped America with Trump. And for all of his rhetoric and race-baiting, even middle class and lower class Republicans who have voted for Trump have suffered and so have their children, but racism is an easy distraction.
There have been major cuts to funding education, to health benefits and even to local American farmers. Russell's nomination is a symbol of change or at least a willingness to break the cycle.
At one time, Muschal did hope to secure his position as mayor, but the opportunity was fleeting. His strong feelings towards the current mayor could also stem from an acute case of the green-eyed monster?