Saturday, December 6, 2014

Report on the December 1 Council Meeting

PMUA nominations - Wilbert Gill's name resurfaced as a Mayor Mapp nominee.  He did not have the votes to move his name to the December 8 meeting for advice and consent. He joins a growing list of mayoral nominees blocked by the City Council.  Council members are not giving reasons for their lack of support.  When Mayor Robinson-Briggs PMUA nominees were blocked, reasons were given.  For example, when Charles Eke was interviewed (in public), I asked him what he would change about the PMUA.  He did not indicate any need for change so I did not support his nomination.  I stated my reason for the record. 

To be clear, some Council members are saying " the time is not right", the nominee "is not experienced" or "the PMUA is getting new contracts so lets keep our current commissioners".  These comments lack substance and credibility.  I can recall only two PMUA nominations that had prior experience: Bill Reid and Tom Crownover.  Bill Reid, of course, is a Council nay-sayer on PMUA nominees and Crownover is a Mapp PMUA nominee who was rejected by this Council.  Irony! As for new PMUA contracts, Corporation Counsel Sias-Hill pointed out that contracts are the responsibility of management, not commissioners.  On the other hand, the commissioners that Mapp wants to replace were responsible for the $1 million gift from Plainfield ratepayers to the retired PMUA executives, the ones who saw little action on new service contracts during their time at the helm.  More irony.  "The time is not right" needs no rebuttal.

Forensic audit - there was a lot of debate on the need for a forensic audit.  I am in favor.  The debate should be about the scope and cost of this audit, not whether it is needed.  There is one compelling reason we need it.  It was obvious to elected officials and the public that there were improprieties in the recreation division  prior to 2014 and many legal and ethical questions were unanswered during the Robinson-Briggs era.  It appeared that the Mayor was stonewalling to protect a favored employee.  I heard reports of low staff morale because of this problem.  Bringing the facts to the light of day will dispel anonymous and second hand reports about the recreation division.  It will send a message to city workers and residents that Plainfield will no longer sweep its governmental problems under the proverbial rug.

These are agenda items that need more background information so the public can make more informed judgements about local government.  Of course others will not see things exactly as I do.

Updates:   a new nominee to the Housing Authority will be put up for discussion.  I do not know Bernard Horner but his resume appears to meet the requirements for the position Joanne Hollis had.

1 comment:

Michael Townley said...

Re: successful enforcement of alcoholic beverage rules - that's what happens when city government functions properly, with separate branches working together for the common good.