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Monday, November 17, 2008

Plainfield official using city vehicle without authorization?

Word in the street is that a top-ranking Plainfield official is tooling around town at all hours
in a city vehicle for which they have no authorization.

I haven't seen it, but if it's true it could be big trouble for the taxpayers, if not the official in question.


Some city officials are given vehicles on a 24-hour basis because their duties put them 'on call' at a moment's notice -- the fire chief and police chief (when we had one) for example. The Mayor gets a round-the-clock vehicle. And, at times, other have too.

The thing about these vehicle assignments is that they are made annually by a City Council resolution for the calendar year, which is the lifespan of a Council's authority.

And the reason is that the City is taking on the liability if something happens while the person who is assigned the vehicle is driving it.

Those who are not assigned a vehicle may still use one in the performance of an official duty -- the Inspections Division, for instance; or a group such as I was part of once that made a trip to Vineland to investigate a Medical Enterprise Zone setup.

But it is only for the performance of a specific duty, and in the case of the Vineland trip, the vehicle had to be signed out and in.

The whispers I am hearing are that none of these rules are adhered to, and the vehicle is being used at all hours of the day and night.

It would be in the Council's interest to inquire and make sure whether this is a baseless rumor or has some substance to it, and to take appropriate action.

Before something happens that puts Plainfield taxpayers on the hook for big bucks.

And, while we're at it, what about fill-ups at the City gas pump?

A Green Brook DPW employee recently lost his job for taking $16 worth of gas for personal use.

Would the Robinson-Briggs administration be more lenient?

-- Dan Damon

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Anonymous said...

There once as a policy that all City Cars, except undercover police/health should have a decal so citizens know officals are on the job !