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Monday, October 19, 2009

Election-time budget hanky-panky by Robinson-Briggs administration?

I am scratching my head wondering why Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs, having to face the voters in two weeks in her quest for re-election, would engage in budget hanky-panky just when the voters are most likely to be paying attention.

After having promised to present the city's FY2010 budget proposal 'at the next meeting' more than once, City Administrator Marc Dashield disappointed yet once again last week, when he allowed as how the budget would NOT BE OFFERED TO THE COUNCIL UNTIL THE NOVEMBER MEETING, which is, of course, AFTER THE NOVEMBER ELECTION.

Now that might just be attributed to SIMPLE POLITICAL CUNNING (an accusation which is not often made against this Administration), since one result of the defeat last week of the ordinance to exceed the annual budget increase cap is to put the matter of fiscal restraint squarely on the Mayor's plate.

Consider Mayor Robinson-Briggs' dilemma: On the one hand, having to impose fiscal restraint by arm-wrestling the unions (at election time) or on the other hand, having to come before the Council with a proposal to exceed the budget increase cap (at election time). Neither alternative is palatable, so it's not hard to understand the notion of avoiding the budget until after the election.

Except for a little unnecessary hanky-panky that may blow up in the Robinson-Briggs administration's face.

According to sources in the Division of Community Affairs, the Robinson-Briggs Administration submitted a budget proposal to them for review WITHOUT PRESENTING IT TO THE COUNCIL FIRST. Not only that, eyebrows were raised in Trenton when the document arrived WITHOUT THE REQUISITE SIGNATURE OF THE MUNICIPAL CLERK.

You'd think the Robinson-Briggs administration would understand the nervousness in Trenton during election season, when all kinds of folks -- media and otherwise -- are snooping, and prophylaxis demands the dotting of all i's and the crossing of all t's.

Not so, evidently.

Not only was a budget sent down without Council knowledge or approval, the Robinson-Briggs administration also submitted its request for Extraordinay Aid without Council knowledge or input, as has customarily been the case for years.

Not only the hanky-panky but now the embarrassment of having to try and withdraw a budget whose numbers will no longer reflect the reality on the ground after the defeat of last week's cap waiver ordinance.

Is the Robinson-Briggs administration trying to be placed in nomination for The Darwin Awards?

-- Dan Damon

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Rob said...

In the real world, people would comment that the "Hits just keep on coming! "... In the world of NJ Politics and Plainfield especially, the person who is wrong would actually be you Dan for having the audacity to report Assistant Mayor Sharon's elementary school antics with a mulit-million dollar municipal budget. One can only wonder if her personal checking account is handled as sloppy and with as little professionalism.

Anonymous said...

The budget delay also gives whoever might beat Sharon in the election the chance to chime in on the budget as Mayor-elect-who-beat-Sharon, true representative of the voters of Plainfield. This could be an interesting budget season.

Anonymous said...

The council better move on this one. This council has to move on making the administration accountable. Councilman Burney is in a hard postiion, but he must, along with the rest of the council members, demand accountablility and responsibility for what this administration has done.

Thank goodness only 3 more weeks of putting up with this mess.

active citizen said...

It's sad that this administration is still having trouble getting its act together, but so goes our mayor and her associates. It's a shame that we have had nearly four years of below par governance in Plainfield. I teach adults and I'd definitely give this mayor a C- for her efforts, and that being nice.

Keep It Real said...

What will happen if a new mayor is elected? Will he restart the whole process? What will that mean to the citizens of plainfield is there is a delay?

Anonymous said...


I think the city council should bring the mayor and the city administrator and the corporation counsel up on charges of malfeasance. Can the city council do this? Falsifying documents is a crime, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

The City Council must act now. There is no time to let this and other matters rest until after the Nov. 3 election. The incumbent mayor by her very actions is hoping voters will not "wise up" before then, so the City Council needs to step in and make it happen. We voted for them and they too will all be up for re-election some day.

Anonymous said...

when I read about mayor briggs and jerry green, i feel like flushing a toilet.