Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Burney's un-truthiness disappoints

In Plainfield's Democratic primary race, one has to wonder whether Councilor Burney is taking a page from the playbook of the late Bob Ferraro.

In two recent blog posts he has bent facts beyond recognition in his efforts to portray his council service positively and to cast one of his opponents (Rebecca Williams) in a negative light (interestingly, he has never mentioned his second opponent, Don Davis, at all).


Never one to be deterred by facts, Bob Ferraro often inflated the so-called salaries of those in his political crosshairs, as Burney has done in his attack on Williams (see his post here, and Rebecca's spirited retort here).

So, Burney starts by alleging Williams was paid $50,000 for a part-time job. Simply not true, as Rebecca rebuts (see here).

Next, Burney boils the whole complicated business of getting Plainfield's public access channel up and running (assessing equipment needs, buying equipment, developing policies and procedures, reaching out to the community for programming, setting up a community calendar and broadcast schedule) into a SINGLE issue, that of broadcasting Council meetings.

Never mind that there were significant technical issues with such broadcasts (including where a station would be physically located) and that the Council itself was not of one mind about the speed with which live broadcasts should be gotten up and running.

In spite of crowing that HE got broadcasts done (seemingly alone), Burney admits it took a further two years, and though the quality of the broadcasts ranges from execrable to mediocre, we still do not have LIVE broadcasts.

Unmentioned is any reference to scandals that have plagued the station under Burney's term in office: no mention of the tens of thousands of dollars in equipment that went missing after Williams was replaced by the Robinson-Briggs administration (what the station had when she left was carefully documented and receipted), and the failure of the Council under Burney's leadership to fund the station's operations with the franchise fees that Comcast pays the city, instead dumping them into the general fund.


Burney says that he discovered the Dudley House rehab center was costing the city almost $100,000 a year, and that 80% of the clients (shocking!) were not from Plainfield (see his blog post here).

Completely missing from his discussion is that the program has always been grant-driven and there have been reimbursements for provision of client services by the 'sending' county -- including Union County for Plainfield clients.

Burney also avoids any discussion of the embarrassment that the program lost its certification under his watch, that the Robinson-Briggs administration improperly transferred its workers to the Division of Public Works for over a year (about which Burney did not complain), and that when he had a clear opportunity to say that Plainfield should simply get out of the social services business altogether, Burney took the politically less challenging route of looking for a third party operator.

Why wouldn't he rather see Plainfield done with the whole business altogether, including owning the building?

I, for one, am disappointed that Burney has sunk so low in his efforts at getting re-elected.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Rob said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU........... All I want as a voter in Plainfield is an explanation from him about why he won't call out that hot mess of a Mayor and her Puppet Master Jerry Green. I believe politics is sometimes about compromise, and to me...Councilman Burney has certainly compromised any sense of true business acumen with his saddling up into Jerry's good wishes and his silence on the mess that is Robinson-Briggs administration. He must have drank Jerry and Sharon's Kool-Aid....
I am sure he is going to deliver a deft explanation back at you with his commentless BLOG which of course speaks volumes once again "open ".

Rashid Burney said...

Dan, the issue of governmental tranparency is vital to the welfare of this community. When govenment is open and tranparent, residents can see what we are doing. That begins to build the much needed trust. Yes, there are a million excuses for not getting this done for 20 months. Bottom line is that I pushed and got this done.

I am equally proud of my effort to eliminate waste and increase efficiency. Taxes are hurting residents. The Dudley House was a burden on taxpayers and we were paying for the drug rehab needs non-Plainfield. Why it was allowed to go on and on - I just do not know. Again, I pushed, and we got it outsourced and off the backs of Plainfield taxpayers.

Surely you are not upset at my results on this matter?

This is not about politics. This is about Plainfield and getting things done.

Bottom line is that I get results and THAT is what Plainfield needs.

Not excuses.

Anonymous said...

Rebecca's blog says she "was NOT hired for $50,000 per year—Rashid just made it up ... ask Karen Dabney, the Personnel Director for the city—feel free to do so.
I asked: file a Freedom of Information Act request. There is a seven business day wait, i.e. we can't find out until after the election. Why doesn't Rebecca just answer the question instead of calling Rashid a liar?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what your problem with Mr. Burney has to do with this council primary. It is clear that Jerry Green will dump Sharon after her current term and Burney will be the next mayor.