Sunday, March 15, 2015 Headline Misleading and Unfair to Eric Jackson

Shame on you or Star-Ledger editor who wrote the headline on the Plainfield fraud investigation.  Yes, you have to grab the attention of the public in a competitive news media market.  But you still have a responsibility when you write attention grabbing headlines not to make unfair implications about a persons behavior and ultimately his/her reputation. 

I have no problem with the facts in the story itself and I want to add my perspective on Eric Jackson and the climate in city hall during the time he served Plainfield as head of the Department of Public Works and Urban Development.

First of all, I was grateful to be able to work with Mr Jackson in Plainfield.  I shared the widely held view of him as a man of integrity and effectiveness.  In fact, he stood out in the Sharon Robinson-Briggs cabinet, rising about the political divisions, dedicated to getting his job done well and raising the bar for performance in his department.

As Bernice Paglia stated in her blog, Eric Jackson oversaw many divisions.  Some had been stuck using outdated tools and methods for many years.  That is changing under Mayor Mapp but Jackson started the ball rolling in the right direction.  Recreation in particular showed a lack of commitment to accountability and appeared to underperform with the approval and protection of Mayor Robinson-Briggs.  In spite of this difficult situation, Mr. Jackson took steps to improve the Recreation Division.

In this situation and others, Eric Jackson stood for what is right at the risk of angering the powers that be.  He passes the integrity test in my view. 

What is happening now at city hall is an audit of transactions in the Department of Public Works and Urban Development.  I cannot say more except to say that originally a majority of the City Council was opposed and now have approved funds for this audit.  We have to wait for the auditors report.  The firm hired is independent and from outside the city.  They will not risk their reputation to give us anything but an objective finding of facts.  I  believe that when we have more facts, the positive views of Eric Jackson throughout Plainfield will be confirmed.  Time will tell.

1 comment:

Bob said...

I worked with Mr. Jackson after the hurricane and as the Plainfield Democratic Committee representative in my disctrict I was able, with Mr. Jackson's help, to walk my district and share information with the people. I didn't have to make false reports of riding in a firetruck with a bull horn. Mr. Jackson was always professional and the best of the previous administration, which we know was not that good.