Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, September 13, 2010

Will Council override Mayor's vetoes tonight?

Everyone concerned about the apparent abuse and lack of transparency in Plainfield's fiscal affairs should attend tonight's City Council meeting, where two resolutions to overturn Mayor Robinson-Briggs' veto of two ordinances asserting the Council's role in fiscal oversight are on the agenda.

Council President Annie McWilliams wrote a detailed explanation and rebuttal of the Mayor's objections on her blog yesterday (see here).

The ordinances to which Mayor Robinson-Briggs objects are --
  • MC 2010-22: Requiring the Administration to present all bills to the Council for review BEFORE PAYMENT; and

  • MC 2010-23: LOWERING THE THRESHOLD FOR PUBLIC BIDDING, thus encouraging wider participation in the awarding of public contracts.
The vetoes would be overturned by the passage of resolutions 334-10 and 335-10 on tonight's agenda by a TWO THIRDS MAJORITY OF THE FULL GOVERNING BODY.

A copy of the full agenda for tonight's Council meeting is online here (PDF).

If you think this is a tempest in a teapot, consider that the very first financial report given to the Council uncovered questionable spending (checks to WBLS for $20,000 and $2,500) which has led to a proposed Council hearing into the matter, which is also on tonight's agenda (item 336-10).

Other expenditures that have raised red flags include --
  • $287,000 on 'fitting out' the Senior Center (which was supposed to cost the City only $1);

  • $460,000 Federal grant spent on finishing the Tepper's basement, which Council has been so far prevented from inspecting;

  • $153,000 billed in the mayor's first term by Quad-Tech for information technology services (of which $36,650 was paid BEFORE THE CONTRACT WAS BROUGHT TO THE COUNCIL); and

  • $4,000,000 in bonds originally approved for the McWilliams' administration's Senior Center proposal which was never built; there are questions now whether that money has been inappropriately -- and perhaps illegally -- expended.
And that's just for openers.

Council members deserve to see that residents and taxpayers are in favor of more, not less, transparency in Plainfield's fiscal affairs and to be supported in their determination to withstand Mayor Robinson-Briggs' ill-considered attempt to keep the public's business out of the public's view.

All hands on deck!

Business Meeting

Tonight, October 13
8 PM

City Council Chambers/Municipal Court
4th Street and Watchung Avenue

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Rob said...

Storch, McWilliams & Mapp- vote in favor of the public
Burney - again, still who knows..
Reid, Rivers and Carter: STONEWALL or blatant pathetic excuse why they didn't make it..showing they care about the Mayor and the shred of a decent reputation she has left with the uninformed or unintelligent ... NOT THE PUBLIC they were elected to represent.
Love to see them prove me wrong...

Bob said...

If anyone on the City Council does not over ride the mayor's veto, then they need to be replaced. The citizens of Plainfield are tired of the mayor's excuses for not hiring a CFO and we believe she is doing unethical things with our money. Plainfield's treasury is not her or Jerry's personal piggy bank.

I encourage the City Council to have the courage and ethical standards to over ride the mayor's veto.

Anonymous said...

I love the apologists for the mayor who want us to give her a break based on the supposed positive things she's doing for the town even if her methods are not to the council's liking. There's nothing positive about always being in the newspapers because of questionable financial dealings. Even if (a very big if) the expenditures named in this post turn out to be defensible, why can't the mayor simply come clean about them. Disclose everything and be done with it instead of stonewalling month after month.

A commentator on McWilliam's blog suggested that a vote for override was equivalent to supporting Bush and the non-existent WMDs. Huh? How about we say instead that her stonewalling is positively Nixonian, and we all know how that turned out.

Alan Goldstein said...

You're talking about the Plainfield City Council? The same Council that's in bed with the Administration on the illegal contracting for job-training with The Incubator? The same Council that avoids dues diligence and accepts a sham bidding process, with an RFQ guaranteed to deter any legitimate training provider from applying? That City Council? The same one that would rather not use CSBG funds as intended to alleviate the conditions of poverty, instead turning them into a windfall profit for a former City Councilman and his family? That same City Council which sits on its hands and utters not a peep despite clear legal statutes that make the contract a violation of Federal and State law?

Transparency and fiscal oversight; I have to laugh. Oh, I'm sorry, they didn't sit on their hands. They raised them high and voted 7-0to engage in this fraud against Plainfield's neediest and all U.S. taxpayers. Could this be the same City Council?

And Dan Damon, you've been aware of this for some time. Like the City Council, you've gotten the links to the laws, but mum's been the word. With your partisanship, if you can't make political hay it just ain't important. Our city government is a festering sore of political maneuvering, city residents be damned.