Monday, December 15, 2014

City Council Report - getting ready for 2015

On Monday night, December 15, the Council will set the agenda for the 2015 re-organization meeting.  Re-organization will take place on January 5 at 7 pm at the municipal court/Council chambers on Watchung Avenue.  While there are numerous routine matters of business to conduct at the beginning of each year, a few things stand out as important.

The overall priorities and direction of city government - in 2014 the Council discussed having a retreat.  I was one of several Council members asked by President Bridget Rivers to organize the retreat.  We decided to have it early in the new year when Diane Toliver takes over the 1st ward seat from Bill Reid.  Additionally, a retreat usually focuses on major goals for the new year and this is best done in conjunction with a new budget.  So I hope my colleagues are still committed to a retreat.

The retreat would also include the Mayor and members of his cabinet.  The purpose is to reach agreement on what is most important for city government to work on.  Priorities should be reflected in the 2015 budget.  The Council would work with the Mayor and his administration to provide the resources to meet our goals.  The Mayor and administration would be responsible for developing action plans to make progress towards agreed upon goals and for carrying out these plans.  That is the way it should work.  It is the responsibility of Council members and the Mayor to provide the leadership to assure that all branches of government work together, on behalf of Plainfield residents.

What are Plainfields priorities -  public safety is always right up there at the top of the list.  The excellent turnout at the community forum at Shiloh Baptist Church last Tuesday indicates that public safety and particularly police-community relations (and especially concerning young people of color) is a major concern in Plainfield.  Public safety is much more than good police enforcement.  Education and employment are intimately connected to it. 

I am hoping for a better year for City Council.  My wish list is for an improved relationship between the Mayor and Council.  We did not get off to a good start in 2014. Mistakes were made by Council and Mayor and can be learned from.   I want city hall to bring in more resources like grants and partnerships with other organizations that have a stake in Plainfield. Our taxpayers carry too heavy a burden.  For the same reason, the PMUA needs to significantly reduce rates.  This can happen if the Council allows the Mayors PMUA nominees to be approved.  Transit oriented development and the one seat ride to NYC must be supported.  Local government plays a key role in making economic development progress happen in 2015.

1 comment:

Alan Goldstein said...

Changes at PMUA can happen if the mayor enforces our city ordinance regarding PMUA commissioner compensation, as well as the terms of the Inter Local Agreement. To this end, you don't nominate commissioners who have participated in receiving illicit payments, or have already served on the Board and looked the other way. You also need a Corporation Counsel who is willing to call a conflict of interest a conflict of interest, who works for the people and not the politicians who are in conflict.