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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mayor drops ball on baseball-loving kids...again

Mayor Meanie frustrates kids yet again.

Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs dropped the ball on the community's baseball-loving kids once again, despite promising at last week's City Council agenda-setting session that she would supply a neutral person to mediate differences between the Queen City Baseball League and the Recreation Division.

Council President Annie McWilliams could scarcely conceal her fury with the Robinson-Briggs administration when the Council's proposed ordinances finally came up for discussion as new items at the end of the agenda and City Administrator Bibi Taylor and Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson conveyed the mayor's request for more time.

'I am upset we are getting this message now (that the neutral party had not been named and more time was being sought)...and that there has been no contact about this matter during the past seven days,' the Council President began.

'This is not rocket science ... it shouldn't take six months,' she continued, 'Does the Administration have a solution besides asking for more time?'

(Drawn up by Corporation Counsel at the insistence of the Council, the proposed ordinances --2010-17 and 2010-18 -- were not detailed on the agenda available on the city's website; in fact, only 2010-17 was listed, with a 'RESERVED SPACE' slug.)

A tug of war ensued between the Council and Taylor and Williamson.

At one point, saying he was relaying Mayor Robinson-Briggs' views on the matter, Williamson said Robinson-Briggs viewed the Council as 'overreaching' into the Administration's prerogatives and that the Mayor 'reserved the right to take legal action against the Council'.

After further back-and-forth between the two sides, with suggestions by McWilliams that the ordinances could be recast as resolutions (which only have force for the current Council year) or, alternatively, that the Recreation Committee could be empowered to mediate the situation (to which City Administrator Taylor objected on several grounds), the two ordinances were finally brought to a vote and both failed because of a tie (McWilliams, Mapp and Burney voting for; Carter, Reid and Rivers against; Councilor Storch is away on vacation).

With this Mexican standoff, the Council's business was concluded and the floor opened to general comments from the public.

The Queen City Baseball League's Karen Glencamp-Daniel was first to the mike and detailed continuing instances of unresolved issues --

Glencamp-Daniel countered the Robinson-Briggs administration's proposal that the QCBL games get under way earlier because the ordinance on the time lights must go out could not be ignored by pointing to the inconsistency that lighting at the Jehovah's Witnesses complex was allowed to be left on until 11:00 PM with no intervention by the City.
Though Bibi Taylor admitted that the QCBL had had use of the concession stand during the time when the City failed to put teams on the field, she said that that was 'improper' and should not be continued, and that QCBL should only have access on days it had games. Eventually, all seemed to hinge on whether a Rec Division employee would be on hand to open the stand. The Administration showed itself quite inflexible on the whole matter.
This issue is unresolved and the Administration had no good answer for why the bases were stored in the ladies' room.
With regard to the upper ball field, Glencamp-Daniel asserted that Director Wynn issued instructions that players under 13 were not allowed to use the field, but that he allows the Rec Division's under-13 players to do so.
Perhaps the most egregious example of Rec Division recalcitrance came over scheduling. Asserting that the QCBL adheres to the scheduling worked out with the Rec Division, she reported that Director Wynn told her the Rock Avenue fields were unavailable last evening for QCBL games as they would be in use by the city's league. At 7:00 PM, Glencamp-Daniel said, she drove by the fields to find no games being played by the city league at all, and discovered they were playing in Irvington. DPWUD Director Dave Brown confirmed Glencamp-Daniel's account, saying that Wynn had told him he would be using the Rock Avenue field Monday evening and Brown subsequently found out that the city was not using it.
Given the continuing obstinacy by Mayor Robinson-Briggs in not resolving the outstanding issues OR DESIGNATING A NEUTRAL 'POINT PERSON' as she promised she would at last week's Council meeting, the situation does not appear to be heading to a happy resolution.

While Carter, Reid and Rivers shied away from forcing the Administration's hand by supporting the Council's ordinance maneuver, the others (McWilliams, Mapp and Burney) gave no sign they were backing down on forcing Robinson-Briggs to deal with the situation.

Councilor Mapp even suggested that as Council planning for next year's budget got under way, he might propose outsourcing the entire Rec Division operation.

Fasten your seat belts, the bumpy ride ain't over.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

How can they be so arrogant to play with children like this. Absolutely absurd! They are playing worse than children. Maybe its time for Dave and Sharon to go the way of Gallon...buh bye!

Rob said...

I think no matter what they do, the simple act she sent the lawyer to talk "big" for her...They should do their collective best to give her a very public and humiliating beat down...but we know there will be the one or two who REFUSE to stand up to about a foul.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the City have enough issues on the forefront then allowing this baseball issue to consume City Council meetings?
On the lighting issue, the City ordinance states that the lights must go out by 10pm. What is the problem? Both leagues should schedule their games so they are finished before 10pm to allow everyone to safely leave the fields. On must also ask: How old are the children that are playing baseball until 10pm? Fresh air and exercise are important but where are the priorities, what about school the next day. What time are your children getting home, showering and to bed? And what are we teaching by the tattle tale of Karen Glencamp Daniel: "The Jehovah's Witnesses Complex keeps the lights on to 11:00pm, so why can't we" Translation: "City council-mommy and daddy, the Jehovah's Witnesses they are breaking the rules...why can't we?" City Council they are asking you to assume the role of parents, then take on the role and tell them to better manage and have the games played so that everyone is off the field by 10pm. If the ordinance has been on the books, my hope was that is was for a reason. If you allow one field to stay on past 10pm then all the playing fields can be on past 10pm. Doesn't the City pay the cost? Hence an increase in another line item on the budget. Will another employee be at risk of layoff because of this increase in cost? Please give full consideration before you act.
Here is a real solution: Propose a curfew ordinance that states that minors are to be home by 10:00pm, include reasonable exceptions, medical emergency... PROBLEM SOLVED.
On the concession stand issue, again not brain surgery. Each organization, baseball, football...should have access to the stand on the days that they are assigned to use the field. If that is the rule by the administration then stick with it. Do any of the other sports organizations have access to concessions stands, locker rooms...on days when they are not suppose to be on the field?

Equipment Storage: Why is the City storing equipment for a private league? Councilman Burney, in a reply to someone on his website implied that the City was not allowing equipment to be stored on City owned property. Which is truth? How many other organizations are being granted the privilege? Why are our tax dollars being used to tote equipment for a private organization. Dan, can you find out the truth?
Dan, also in one of your articles you indicated that the Mayor gave the organizations bases. Why are they storing them in the bathroom? Solution: Bring the gift(Bases) that were given to you when come to play at the field and take them when you leave.
From what I read every week at the council meeting it is a new issue. When is council going to put their foot down and say give us ALL your concerns and we will address them, stop allowing this to be addressed piece-meal. One must ask, does the organization really want a solution or do they want to keep coming before the council? In the months between October and December they came to council meeting to try to stop the council from allowing the City league to continue. Translation: Forget about the children that signed up for that city league. Between January and present they have come to the council meeting with a different issue each time.
This baseball issue is becoming a real bad Laurel and Hardy movie. What is also very disheartening is that parents are allowing their children to be used, by regularly being paraded before the council. Parents did you sign up your children to play or be used as a pawn at a council meeting? It is understandable once or twice in an attempt to make a point made, but let us not put the children to work on an issue that should be resolved by adults.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 7:25am.
Obviously you don't have a child playing baseball. But I do.
A schedule could have been worked out, but someone didn't want that. That someone is Dave Wynn. This "baseball thing" keeps coming before the City Council because there is always SOMETHING. QCBL does not have the power over city fields so they basically have to negotiate over time usage. How the heck can you lock up the bases, and conveniently forget that YOU changed the lock and NO ONE had a key but you? How pathetic is that!

I'm stuck as to why two football organizations can co-exist with using Seidler field, but why can't two baseball teams co-exist with FAIR field utilization. Ooops, the answer to that is Dave Wynn. There is no such thing as being able to co-exist if Dave is involved and can't be in charge.

Anonymous said...

You want this "baseball thing" to go away.....get rid of Dave Wynn. He's an embarassment to the Plainfield Department of Recreation. He has no vested interest in the youth of Plainfield, how old are his kids again?

I am perplexed as to why the Mayor hasn't stepped in to address something that can be considered minor (compared to everything else going on in Plainfield). What could Dave Wynn have over the mayor where she would refuse to diffuse this situation?

P.s. Jerry Green is well aware also. Where is he.....