The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mayor Mean strikes again?

'Off with their heads', the Red Queen shouted.
(Illustration by John Tenniel, from
Alice in Wonderland
Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs' presence hovers over City Council meetings even though she rarely attends any more. Last Monday was a perfect example.

Frustrated over key administrative vacancies -- the Director of Administration and Finance, and the Chief Financial Officer's position (which also plays a role in school district finances) -- the Council has been trying to get clarity about why the positions are taking so long to fill (the CFO slot has been officially vacant since December 2007), what efforts Mayor Robinson-Briggs is making, and is itself gathering momentum to ask for state intervention to appoint a CFO.

Besides the sparks generated by the fencing between several Council members and City Administrator Bibi Taylor and Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson about whether the Administration was out of compliance with both the city charter and its code over the extended vacancies, there were other, quiet surprises such as the revelation that no records could be found that the Director's position opening had ever been advertised.

Another revelation, highly embarrassing to Her Honor, is that administrative support in Bibi Taylor's multiple roles has been stripped away, leaving one administrative assistant whose time is split.

This is stunning considering that besides her official duties as City Administrator, Taylor is still acting as Director of Finance and Administration as well as fulfilling -- since she has the certification -- the duties of the CFO.

Taylor appeared discomforted by the close questioning pursued by Councilors McWilliams and Mapp, often looking down at the table as she formulated carefully phrased answers, and offered no explanation for the transfer of one of the administrative assistants from her yoked offices to the Clerk's office.

There is only one person other than the City Administrator whose writ runs to shifting personnel, and that is the Mayor.

I think it signifcant that in discussing the personnel moves, Taylor introduced the term 'involuntary transfer' -- signifying that the moves were made without the consent and perhaps over the objections of those who were moved.

That could signal that affected parties may turn to their unions for redress of any grievances.

And that, of course, leaves the door open to the possiblity of eventual resort to litigation, with the attendant danger that the Mayor's insistence on interfering in personnel matters may expose the taxpayers to financial liability.

Whether being simply willful or deliberately mean-spirited, the net effect of Mayor Robinson-Briggs' capriciousness is the same.

And we all pay for it, employees and taxpayers alike.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Rob said...

- Not that I believe she is above it, but......
"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."
Napoleon Bonaparte

Anonymous said...

I can’t believe the level of the Mayors incompetence. Does she not know that she is costing the city and ultimately those with property taxes more and more money? Can citizens reach out to the state to request intervention? If so, what is that department or office? Can the Mayor be sued for incompetence? I realize that we can’t get rid of her until the next election, but there ha to be something that can be done now. Will JG run her again for Mayor or does he have someone else in mind?

Bob said...

I could not have stated the willful, irresponsible behavior of this mayor. How we keep her in office is beyond me. I can't believe she isn't impeached by this and other shady dealings.

Robinson-Briggs is hiding something and I think it has more to do with misappropriating City monies and less with her incompetance. I hope this comes to light and the City Council is responsive to the needs of the City and it's residents. God knows that the mayor is not responsive to our needs or cares about our money.

Dan said...

To the commenter who wants to send/fax me info.

I have no fax access. Attachments can be emailed to me at --

dandamon at comcast dot net.

Anonymous said...

Dan this sort of movement of personnel has always gone on in city hall, as you are well aware.It is only because of blogs such as yours that the public is now being made aware of them They usually occur because an employee is perceived as disloyal to the administration.

Dan said...

@ 8:32 AM: Since the City Administrator is the one negatively impacted by the personnel moves, are you suggesting the mayor sees her as disloyal?

I can scarcely believe it since Ms. Taylor has been the very model of carrying out her boss' instructions, no matter what her personal opinions may be.

You're not suggesting the mayor is paramoid, are you?

Maria Pellum, Plainfield Resident said...


Did you mean "paranoic" instead of "paramoid"? I goggled the word but can't find it! Come on Dan! You know you also have readers with language challenges! So what is it? Paramoid or paranoic? Please help!

Dan said...

Maria -- just hit the wrong key (m), but maybe we just have a new Plainfield-only word.

Anonymous said...

Thank God for Bibi Taylor! If she leaves, maybe Dave Wynn will take over and then we can have Dictator Briggs and her cronies.

Maria Pellum, Plainfield Resident said...

Thanks Dan! I feel better now, and I like the idea of us, Plainfield, having our own "special" words, gee! it almost sounds as if we could all become a "Family" with its special codes and all that jazz! Like it, like it! Thanks again.

Yep I Said It! said...

. . . oh and by the way Dan . . . your illustration gives Sharon RobinsonBriggs -aka the "Mayor"- much too much credit -She is NO QUEEN! And definitely NO QUEEN OF PLAINFIELD!!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe that admin got moved due to budget cuts in other departments resulting in shuffling of staff. Haven't you and all the.other harpies been going on an on about fiscal responsibility? Could you ever ever concede that maybe something is just not that big a deal? It must be exhausting to be you.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe this--Bibi Taylor is expected to do three full-time jobs with 1/2 of an assistant? Who made that decision and who can unmake it? Better do it soon before Plainfield loses her too!