When Eric Jackson became Trenton’s 46th mayor on July 1, the city was rebounding from another political disappointment. Not two months earlier, Jackson’s predecessor, former Trenton Mayor Tony Mack, was sentenced to nearly five years in prison for extortion, bribery, and fraud.
That didn’t stop the optimistic Jackson from promising at his swearing-in ceremony that “the best days of our city are ahead of us.”
Now three months into his term, Jackson is making swift staffing changes, including naming a new police chief and a new business administration director. “It was no negative reaction or reflection on those who were there,” he said, “But we’re headed in a new direction and we need to do it with new, competent personnel.” However City Council has yet to approve Jackson’s police and fire department head apointees.
Jackson is also stepping outside his office to get ideas directly from Trenton residents by holding a series community forums on how to improve the city.
But his biggest challenge may well be overcoming the battered reputation of the office he now holds.
“Those who know me know I’m an honest guy,” he said. “I have high integrity.”
Jackson stressed the best way to beat back the specter of corruption is not to work within the confines of government, but to collaborate with citizens and business leaders on ways to improve Trenton.
“We don’t want to work in silos.”
Jackson, who’s also a deacon at a local church, said residents are excited by the new administration.
“There is a buzz,” he said, “from very small children … to seniors.”