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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Plainfield government as bread and circuses? Scratch the bread.

Is literal 'feeding at the public trough' fading from the scene?.

Observers of the Plainfield scene who have been accustomed to thinking in terms of 'bread and circuses' as Mayor Robinson-Briggs' preferred mode of governance may be in need of an attitude adjustment.

That would be after last night's Council meeting, at which we learned that the Council would no longer be supping at the expense of the public purse.

Nor will the mayoral food fests continue, at least theoretically.

All this as a result of the Memorandum of Understanding signed Mayor Robinson-Briggs in January, pledging -- as a condition of receiving a grant of Extraordinary Aid from the state -- not to use municipal funds to feed employees, dignitaries and the public.

In his report to the Council as chair of the Finance Committee, Councilor Mapp stated (the first of his 10 bullet points) that beginning last night the Council would be honoring the terms of the MOU and forego its longstanding tradition of a generous hot meal during executive session before the public meeting.

Everyone noticed the chill in City Hall Library when we were let in, and I joked with the person sitting next to me that it must be because there was no evidence food was served -- I missed the smell of fried chicken, mac and cheese, and cornbread, and guessed that the chill came from a lack of burning Sterno under chafing dishes.

It was only when Mapp made his report that I realized it wasn't a joke.

All of this does not mean the Council can't 'brown bag' it and bring their own sandwich and beverage -- which they may need to do if they are going to continue such long evenings. We don't want them passing out or getting hunger headaches.

The mayor, however, will have to find another way to fund the spreads she is so fond of.

Using Urban Enterprise Zone funds for such activities seem likely to draw the wrath of Gov. Christie.

What to do?

Perhaps put city employees to work rustling up food 'sponsors' for events from among vendors?

'These Swedish meatballs courtesy of Remington & Vernick' anyone?

-- Dan Damon

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Anonymous said...

Council can do pot luck or rotating dinners - one week me, next week you ...

Rob said...

I am guessing Assistant Mayor Sharon will be starved for more than just attention!

Tony said...

Must be a slow meeting if we all Dan has to report is no free food at events. The meeting lasted until 1130pm.

Maria Pellum, Plainfield Resident said...

Ay! Pobrecitos! But, they can start holding "bake sales" to raise funds!

I'll volunteer my "Tres Leches" cake!

Anonymous said...

Dan only stays for a little while at meetings and spins what he sees while he's there. Limited attention span, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Maybe they can get massages

Anonymous said...

Oh no
No free food well kinda free even though i paid for it with my tax money Well they can always go to the Salvation Army and get the free soup which they do Dan did you ever see that the city hall employees go eat at the soup ktchen at the salvaton army for lunch they even push past the homeless

Anonymous said...

If the mayor could get it together and get some good ecomonic development in Plainfield, there could be many nice eating establishments they could choose from before meetings. At this point we have crud.

Anonymous said...

Sharon without a buffet is like a squirrel without a nut. It ain't gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

What about that dangling preposition..of ..of!? oops I did it too :)jb

Anonymous said...

Some Tips for the Mayor to feast on free food:

Mothers Day and Fathers Day are coming up so maybe she can coerce the male employees to cook up lunch for the ladies for Mother's Day and vice versa for Father's Day.

Or on the guise of improving employee moral, have each Deparment compete in an Iron Chef competition.

Or how about a Throw Down?

Anonymous said...

All previous snide comments aside, why can't they brown bag it? First of all, the fried chicken, mac and cheese diet is a killer. Make some turkey on rye with mustard sandwiches and nice bottles of clean filtered water. Fruit for dessert! That's the ticket!

Anonymous said...

did you check out the lunch rush at the salvation army yet jus sit back and watch you will see